"The devil is on the cutting-room floor," Son of God producer Roma Downey has announced. A little explanation, perhaps...
The Bible – last year's hugely successful ten-hour US mini-series – is being edited into a two-hour movie to be called Son of God, focusing on the life of Jesus in the New Testament. But perhaps The Bible's biggest talking point was its portrayal of Satan played by veteran Moroccan actor Mohamen Mehdi Ouazanni who, according to some viewers, bears a resemblance to US President Barack Obama (see above).
When The Bible debuted in America last March, a Twitter storm ensued. As Downey recalls, "Someone made a comment that the actor who played the Devil vaguely resembled our president, and suddenly the media went nuts. The next day, when I was sure everyone would only be talking about Jesus, they were talking about Satan instead."
A year on and producers have had enough, taking the decision to cut Satan from the edited version altogether. "For our movie, Son of God, I wanted all of the focus to be on Jesus," Downey revealed in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. "I want his name to be on the lips of everyone who sees this movie, so we cast Satan out."
The Bible was first screened on the History Channel in the US and Channel 5 in the UK and has since been viewed more than 100 million times. Producers are now aiming for a second hit from the two-hour reworking, set to debut in America next weekend and over here on 5 March.