Downey Says, 'We Cast Satan Out' of 'Son of God'

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 18 (UPI) --
U.S. film and TV producer Roma Downey says she and her husband Mark Burnett have literally exorcised Satan from their upcoming movie "Son of God."



The soon-to-be-released, 2-hour film is an abridged version of the 10-hour History Channel miniseries "The Bible."



The small-screen program scored massive ratings when it aired last year, but it earned some criticism for its casting of Mohamen Mehdi Ouzanni -- an actor who detractors said looks like U.S. President Barack Obama -- in the role of Satan.



Ouazanni had previously appeared in the religious-themed programs "David," "Jeremiah," "In the Beginning" and "The Ten Commandments."



Downey and Burnett said at the time of the initial controversy regarding Ouazanni's casting as Satan that no connection to Obama was intended.



"Someone made a comment that the actor who played the devil vaguely resembled our president, and suddenly the media went nuts," Downey said in a statement to TheWrap Monday about the character's exclusion from "The Son of God." "The next day, when I was sure everyone would only be talking about Jesus, they were talking about Satan instead. For our movie 'Son of God,' I wanted all of the focus to be on Jesus ... so we cast Satan out. It gives me great pleasure to tell you that the devil is on the cutting room floor."



The movie opens nationwide Feb. 28.



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