Actress and filmmaker Roma Downey recently made it clear that scenes in "Son of God" that included an actor who played the devil, but who some say looks a lot like President Barack Obama, have been edited out of the movie releasing next week.
"It gives me great pleasure to tell you that the devil is on the cutting-room floor. This is now a movie about Jesus, the son of God, and the devil gets no more screen time," Downey, who produced the movie with her husband, Mark Burnett, told The Hollywood Reporter.
"Son of God," which opens on Feb. 28, is a theatrical version of the "The Bible" TV miniseries, a highly successful show on the History Channel that featured actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni as Satan.
Downey says the production crew went out of their way to leave the controversial Satan out of the film, according to THR. Last year's controversy during "The Bible" series is not one Downey wants to revisit.
"Someone made a comment that the actor who played the devil vaguely resembled our president, and suddenly the media went nuts," Downey said Monday. "The next day, when I was sure everyone would only be talking about Jesus, they were talking about Satan instead."
She added: "For our movie, Son of God, I wanted all of the focus to be on Jesus. I want His name to be on the lips of everyone who sees this movie, so we cast Satan out. It gives me great pleasure to tell you that the devil is on the cutting-room floor."
Last year, television show commentator Glenn Beck highlighted the similarity between Ouazani, who portrayed Satan in the third installment of "The Bible" series, and Obama on Twitter. Beck tweeted at the time: "Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy (referring to Obama)?"
Many immediately jumped on social media sites to comment, with many strongly agreeing or disagreeing with Beck's suggestion. The debate went viral last year, with most mainstream media picking up the story, and some suggesting that President Obama has reason to feel aggrieved at the casting on the show. The History Channel dismissed the debate, saying that there was no intention whatsoever in creating any such resemblance with Obama.