Scottish actor Ewan McGregor is set to play both Jesus Christ and the devil in the upcoming 2015 indie movie "Last Days in the Desert," described as "an imagined chapter from [Jesus'] 40 days of fasting and praying in the desert." McGregor argued that there is nothing in the film that people can find offensive.
Entertainment Weekly released on Tuesday the first photo of McGregor from the film, which is set to premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival.
McGregor said that he is "not worried" about the movie creating controversy, and said that "there's nothing possibly that could upset people [in the film], other than the very nature of imagining a story with Jesus that doesn't exist in the Scripture," he says. "There's nothing offensive. I'm not worried about it, because I believe very much in the heart of the film we made."
The plotline for the film also includes an extra-biblical account where Yeshua meets a family in the desert that is experiencing father/son difficulties.
The actor said that "You can see the demon as the Devil," or "you can see him as another side of Yeshua perhaps, an embodiment of his doubt. He's there testing him into trying to suggest that his father doesn't love him, that his father's not interested in his struggle."
The movie is being directed by Rodrigo Garcia, known for TV shows such as "Blue" and "In Treatment."
McGregor is most famous for portraying the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi in the "Star Wars" prequel trilogy. The actor is also famous for "Moulin Rouge!" and "Trainspotting."
McGregor admitted that at first, he was intimidated by the prospect of playing both Jesus and the devil. He says that he focused on the human aspects of Christ to help him prepare for the role.
"I thought, Okay, he's a man who's struggling to communicate with his dad," the Scottish actor said. "I felt actually the pressure come off myself. I'm not playing Jesus; I'm playing a man whose dad is God and he's trying to speak to his dad. It's really a film about the relationship between fathers and their sons. In every scene of the film, that's at the heart of it."
About playing dual roles in the movie, he explained: "I played Yeshua with total conviction that he was the son of God and that his father had asked him to go on this path, which would lead him to death—to die for people's sins—and I tried to imagine what that might be like for a man."
McGregor continued: "And then when I played the demon, I was trying to chip away at that conviction. The demon's trying to drag him away from that."
The last actor to portray Jesus on the big screen was Diogo Morgado in the 2014 release "Son of God," an adaptation of the 2013 miniseries "the Bible," which was produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.