Moroccan Actor Enjoys Fame From His Obama “Look-a-Like” Performance in ‘The Bible’

actor-bible-obamaAlong with its high ratings, the History Channel’s mini-series The Bible was in the news because the actor playing Satan kind of… sort of… well, maybe looked like Barack Obama, the President of the United States. I suppose he does if you squint your eyes and are really trying to look for a resemblance, but you know how the talking heads on the news love to make mountains out of molehills.  Some in the media saw this as a shot at the president on behalf of conservative Christians, though producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett called the controversy “utter nonsense.”

Indeed, one of the people most surprised by the controversy was Mehdi Ouazzani, the Moroccan actor who portrayed Satan in the mini-series.  However, he is obviously grateful for the attention.  In an interview with The Associated Press, he says, “One morning somebody called me and said ‘you have to look at your email’ and I was so surprised. 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.”

In fact, Ouazzani has spent most of his career in Biblical roles, appearing in the 2006 mini-series Ten Commandments and the 2000 film In the Beginning.  He points out, ” I’ve seen several different Jesuses and Judases and I’ve played Satanic characters before, I played Judas.”

He credits his face with why he is cast in so many Biblical roles — but while playing Satan he was careful not to show much emotion.  He explains, “I have a very expressive face, when African or Moroccan people talk, we talk with our faces.  Satan taught me how to manage my close-ups, because Satan didn’t feel anything, didn’t suffer anything.”  Ouazzani also praises the way actors are treated in American productions, adding, “Hollywood is the only cinema where I really feel like an actor, the rest feels do-it-yourself.”

As for President Obama?  Ouazzani is pleased that he is now on the radar of America’s Commander in Chief.  He says, “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.”

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