Moroccan actor Mehdi Ouazzani, who played Satan in the History Channel's popular miniseries "The Bible,"
appeared delighted with the similarities many noticed between his character’s physical appearance and President Barack Obama’s.
“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 told the Associated Press.
Without the makeup, which took an hour and a half to apply, the veteran actor looks nothing like America's 44th president, who wears his gray hair pulled back in a ponytail and has a slim Errol Flynn-style pencil mustache.
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The actor believes it was his face that landed him the role as Satan.
"I have a very expressive face, when African or Moroccan people talk, we talk with our faces," he said. "Satan taught me how to manage my close-ups, because Satan didn't feel anything, didn't suffer anything."
With five decades of film experience, Ouazzani has been casted in several biblical roles in other motion pictures.
In 2006, Ouazzani appeared in the mini-series "Ten Commandments" and in 2000 the production of "In the Beginning," in addition to other biblical productions in the 1990s.
“I've seen several different Jesuses and Judases and I've played Satanic characters before, I played Judas,” Ouazzani said.
The actor is enjoying his time in the spotlight now.
“Some good has come out of this,” Ouazzani quipped. “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.”
On March 17, conservative commentator Glenn Beck pointed out the similarities on his Twitter page, posting a side-by-side shot of Obama and the character Satan in the series.
“Anyone else think the Devil in #TheBible Sunday on History Channel looks exactly like That Guy?” he wrote.
A massive social media response soon followed, prompting the History Channel to immediately issue a statement claiming to have the “highest respect for President Obama,” adding “it's unfortunate that anyone made this false connection.”
The miniseries’ executive producers, the husband and wife team of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, also released a statement calling the comparison “utter nonsense.”
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“The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor,” the statement read. “He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics– including Satanic characters long before Barack Obama was elected as our President.”
The 10-hour, five-part miniseries of “The Bible,” which concluded on March 31, premiered with 13.1 million viewers, the largest cable television audience of 2013 to date.
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