Home » Hollywood Actor Neal McDonough on the Surprising Lessons Portraying Satan Taught Him About God, Faith, and Gratitude: ‘I Got to Learn So Much’

Hollywood Actor Neal McDonough on the Surprising Lessons Portraying Satan Taught Him About God, Faith, and Gratitude: ‘I Got to Learn So Much’

Actor Neal McDonough initially wanted to reject a role portraying the devil, but ended up accepting the opportunity and, as a result, learned lessons about himself and his faith.

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McDonough, who is Catholic, told The Christian Post his experience in the upcoming feature film “The Shift” was the first time he played Satan. While he was initially not so certain about the opportunity, he said his wife, Ruve McDonough, made him think twice about his concerns.

The “Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist” star said the two prayed over the matter and he changed his mind, opting to star opposite actor Kristoffer Polaha in “The Shift.”

“I’m so grateful that she convinced me to do it because when you play characters like this, you learn so much about yourself and how blessed I am to have [God’s] backing in everything that I do, to have all the gifts that God’s given me in my life,” McDonough said. “My amazing wife, five kids, the movies and TV shows, everything!”

The actor said playing the devil pointed him back to gratitude and taught him lessons about himself.

“When I get to play a character like this, that’s the devil, I got to learn so much about myself, about how blessed I really am in my life,” McDonough told The Christian Post. “It’s hard to explain what goes through your mind as a method actor when you play the devil.”

In crafting his character for the film, McDonough said he focused on trying to make the devil as “human as possible,” showcasing Satan’s “messed up” nature.

“The Shift” is described by Angel Studios as the first feature film supported by the company, with the studio noting, “It’s an uplifting story set in a sci-fi world, showing the struggle to maintain faith in God in the midst of great trial.”

McDonough expressed gratitude to Angel for standing behind the project and said it’s important to have such entertainment options available to people.

“When I get to play characters like this, it just makes me just delve into how horrible life can be at times, but how amazing life can be when you have a company like Angel Studios or if you have entertainment out there that actually has a place where you can talk about things and talk through these things and what you should do for kids or what you shouldn’t do and where goodness can lead you,” he told the Post.

As CBN’s Faithwire previously reported, this isn’t the first time McDonough has focused on faith and gratitude.

McDonough told “The Edifi Podcast” earlier this year it was a “blessing” to be part of the cast of “Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist,” which was released earlier this year. He shared some insight on his character, Jonathan Stonagal, a wealthy and influential man central to the “Left Behind” storyline.

“It’s nice to tap into people who are the big decision makers on this planet, and how these people get to power, and how they, at times, use their power for good,” he said at the time. “And, at times, some of them use their power for obviously malicious intent and … their own betterment.”

McDonough said he’s incredibly “humbled” when he considers all he’s been able to accomplish.

“God has given me so much and has blessed me with so much that it’s nice to play characters like this that take me out of me for a moment and [I] realize, ‘Holy cow. I’m so fortunate to be the person that I am,’” McDonough said. “And surrounded by the people that God has surrounded me with.”

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