'Satan' invites Obama for couscous in Morocco
The Moroccan actor who played Satan in 'The Bible' miniseries says the controversy has helped his career.
Mehdi Ouazzani, a veteran Moroccan actor who appeared History Channel's The Bible miniseries, says his portrayal of Satan — and the controversy that erupted over it —was a good thing.
"One morning somebody called me and said 'you have to look at your email' and I was so surprised," Ouazzani told the Associated Press' Paul Schemm in Casablanca earlier this month. "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," he said with a chuckle.
Ouazzani tells AP that it took 90 minutes of makeup and a heavy hooded robe to play the role that Glenn Beck tweeted at the time looked "EXACTLY like" President Obama.
After the episode aired in mid-March, the chatter prompted the History Channel to announce it had "the highest respect" for Obama, and "it's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection."
Conservative television personalities Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity were still talking about it weeks later on their shows, with Hannity telling The Bible executive producer Roma Downey that he, too, thought the program's Satan resembled Obama.
In a statement, Downey and her hubby/producer Mark Burnett dismissed it as "a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of the Bible."
It's not Ouazzani's first tour through the pages of Christianity's holy book. He appeared in the 2006 mini-series Ten Commandments" and the 2000 production In the Beginning, notes AP. "I've seen several different Jesuses and Judases and I've played Satanic characters before, I played Judas."
He started acting in his 20s and has appeared on the Spanish stage, played a police inspector in French movies, and will play a terrorist leader in an upcoming Spanish film about the 2011 bombing of a tourist cafe in Marrakech.
And he says, happily, "Some good has come out of this: 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."