Actor Neal McDonough says playing Lucifer in ‘The Shift’ changed his life forever

The Shift movie poster, 2023
The Shift movie poster, 2023 | Angel Studios

Actor Neal McDonough, who's known for playing a villain in many of his Hollywood projects, said his latest role as Lucifer for the faith-inspired film “The Shift” changed his life. 

McDonough stars in the new Angel Studios sci-fi/action film "The Shift," which 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," the film’s synopsis reads. 

"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."

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McDonough says having to go through darkness is where everyone, regardless of background, finds true light. 

"We all have to go through our darkness. We all get beaten up in life. We're also all sinners in life. We have our flaws, we fall down, we trip all over ourselves, but it's how we get up that dictates what kind of men and women we are for Him, not for us, but for Him,” the actor said in an interview with The Christian Post.

"God first, me second, family first, me second, those are the tenets that we live by in our house,” McDonough continued. “If more people live by that, wouldn't the world be just a much sweeter place to live in?”

McDonough also advised people not to take their blessings for granted.

"It's films like 'The Shift' that make us realize that we shouldn't take any of it for granted. It's so fleeting. We're here for such a short amount of time. Make your life remarkable. Be the greatest version of you possible,” he said. 

"In this film, I get to play the character that tries to pull you away from that. So the importance of playing that character as truthfully as possible was one of the greatest challenges I've ever had as an actor,” McDonough added.

McDonough said he didn't want to play the devil as this “sick, twisted, dark being."

"I wanted to play him as he's your next-door neighbor. He seems like a really nice guy. That's a guy I'd like to hang out with. And then, all of a sudden, everything just kind of gets too dark, and he loses his faith.”

"Lucifer lost his faith in God a long time ago. And I played this character that all I want is that faith back,” the Boston native told CP. “That last scene that I have with Kevin is one of the most painful scenes I've had as an actor because I have to dredge up all these thoughts that get me to why don't I have that in my life? Why can't I be more like Kevin? 

"For us as the viewers, Why can't we all be more like that and have the conviction and the strength to stand up to all the evil temptations in life and just say no?”

McDonough said the role "changed” his “life forever."

"I gave up drinking eight years ago, and that was hard. But to be sober now for eight years of my life have been the greatest eight years of my life,” the professing Christian added. 

"In that eight years I've lost friends, I've lost family, I've lost all kinds of things. But ... you get through it a whole lot easier when you have faith in Him, knowing that He has your back and your journey in this world is this long, and if you do it right, you'll celebrate it with Him for eternity,” the father of five concluded. 

“The Shift”  is Angel Studios' newest release. The film is in theaters now.

Jeannie Ortega Law is a reporter for The Christian Post. Reach her at: 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

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