PROVO, Utah — Hollywood actor Neal McDonough, known for playing a villain in most of the projects he takes on, said his latest role as the devil truly showed him how blessed he is by God.
McDonough is starring in the upcoming Angel Studios sci-fi and action film "The Shift." Although he has often played a villain and the bad guy, it's the first time he plays the devil.
"The Shift" follows a man named Kevin, played by Kristoffer Polaha, "who finds himself in a dystopian world confronted by a mysterious stranger known as 'The Benefactor' (McDonough) who presents him with challenges as he fights to shift realities and return to the woman he loves," a synopsis of the film compiled by Just Jared reads.
"Our Job — Kevin — will face off with the devil in a way that exposes his tricks and his lies by shining a light that cuts through all that darkness," an overview of the film posted to the film's funding page reads. "Kevin will be presented with concrete temptations most of us can relate to, and we'll see how his choices alter the world around him."
In a video interview with The Christian Post, McDonough said "The Shift" is "the first time I've actually played the devil." While he initially decided that he couldn't play the devil, his wife, South African model Ruve McDonough, convinced him to change his mind.
"She's like: 'You look perplexed; what's wrong?'" he recalled. The two discussed and prayed over the offered role, with McDonough's wife asking him, "Who's a better villain in this town than you?"
McDonough's wife also asked him, "What guy, like you, who's a villain, also has an amazing relationship with God?,' to which he responded, "I don't know, probably not many."
After giving it some thought, McDonough accepted the role and is grateful that he did.
"I'm so grateful that she convinced me to do it because when you play characters like this, you learn so much about yourself and how blessed I am to have His (God's) backing in everything that I do, to have all the gifts that God's given me in my life. My amazing wife, five kids, the movies and TV shows, everything!"
"We all at times have a very mean person in us, all of us; we're all human," McDonough explained. "There was only one person who was perfect, and everyone else has been trying. And the harder you try, the more the devil will tempt you with stuff."
Playing the devil put the father of five's life into perspective.
"When I get to play a character like this, that's the devil, I got to learn so much about myself, about how blessed I really am in my life," he said.
"It's hard to explain what goes through your mind as a method actor when you play the devil. So I tried to make him as human as possible," he added. McDonough took direction from the creators of "The Shift" to mold his character.
"We made him this 8-year-old spoiled little kid who didn't get that candy bar, and then by doing so, there's a moment at the end of the film where you see how crushed the devil is that he can't understand the love that Kris has for God," the actor revealed. "You see, 'aw, that poor dude, he's all messed up.' We all have that every day. We all have that 'poor guy, that guy's messed up.' But it's how you come back from it. It's how you dust yourself off after you do something that isn't really a great thing."
"When I get to play characters like this, it just makes me just delve into how horrible life can be at times, but how amazing life can be when you have a company like Angel Studios or if you have entertainment out there that actually has a place where you can talk about things and talk through these things and what you should do for kids or what you shouldn't do and where goodness can lead you," he celebrated.
McDonough said looking back to where he came from and where he is now makes him extremely grateful.
"I don't look at my other movies or TV shows because I think it would it would start to freak me out a little bit, realizing how truly blessed I am," he testified. "Now to be here with Angel Studios, who think the same way as Ruve and I do when it comes to entertainment and to make shows the way that they make them, that the people get to vote on and then put money into back it."
"What Angel does no one else is doing. And thank the Lord that they're doing it because it gives us all as viewers a place to go see content that we feel comfortable watching," McDonough concluded.
Viewers can see "The Shift" in theaters in January 2024.
Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: firstname.lastname@example.org She's also the author of the book, What Is Happening to Me? How to Defeat Your Unseen Enemy Follow her on Twitter: @jlawcp Facebook: JeannieOMusic