(Photo: Joe Alblas)
Veteran Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazzani, who played the role of Satan on The History Channel's popular "The Bible" series, has expressed his amusement to the comparisons between himself and President Barack Obama, calling it a "positive thing."
"For someone like me, a simple unknown actor, to find himself in a controversy like this – even though it's nonsense – it makes me known around the world, so it's something positive," Ouazzani, who has acted in a number of Bible-era productions, told The Associated Press in Casablanca.
Both the media and the public made the comparison when the devil character appeared in an episode of "The Bible." Some claimed the devil character was intentionally made to look like President Obama. Roma Downey, co-creator of "The Bible" miniseries, which reached record audiences during its five-week run in March and was shot in Morocco, dismissed the comparison between Ouazzani and Obama. Downey insisted that during pre-screenings no one mentioned even once the resemblance.
The co-producer, who also played the older version of the Virgin Mary in the series, added that her "heart sank" when she heard people were talking more about Satan than Jesus following the episode where Christ makes his first appearance on screen. Downey and her husband, co-producer Mark Burnett, have insisted that they love the president, a fellow Christian, and have nothing but respect for him.
"False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of the Bible," the producers added about the comparisons.
Ouazzani, who depicts Satan with heavy make-up and a black hooded robe in the miniseries, told AP that playing such a character is a challenge and requires a lot of intensity.
"I have a very expressive face, when African or Moroccan people talk, we talk with our faces," the actor remarked. "Satan taught me how to manage my close-ups, because Satan didn't feel anything, didn't suffer anything."
In the interview, Ouazzani talks about his career and the many small roles he has played, but said that "The Bible" series definitely has opened up new opportunities for him.
"Some good has come out of this," he said. "Before, I knew who Obama was, and now he knows me, and if he has time I'd like to invite him and his family for couscous in Morocco."