Ewan McGregor’s indie movie role as dual demon and deliverer

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Ewan McGregor is to play both Jesus and the Devil in an indy movie due out next year.

Yesterday it was announced the Scottish actor has taken on one of the most ambitious roles of his career for the Rodrigo García film.

McGregor, who was shot to fame as a heroin addict in the 1996 film Trainspotting, plays the dual role in the film ‘Last Days in the Desert’.

He has insisted there is “nothing offensive” about the movie and he is “not worried” about it”.

The first image of 43-year-old as Jesus has been released and shows him with long hair and ragged clothes in the desert.

His longtime stunt double Nash Edgerton had to stand in for the scenes between Jesus and the devil helping McGregor with the unusual dual role.

McGregor, who grew up in Crieff, Perthshire, previously said he is not religious but does attend church to listen to the music.

Premieres for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival revealed details of his new film for the first time, explaining: “Ewan McGregor is Jesus — and the Devil — in an imagined chapter from his 40 days of fasting and praying in the desert.

 

Ewan McGregor is playing the Devil and Jesus in an upcoming movie production
Ewan McGregor is playing the Devil and Jesus in an upcoming Rodrigo Garcia movie

 

“On his way out of the wilderness, Jesus struggles with the Devil over the fate of a family in crisis, setting himself up for a dramatic test.”

Speaking to an entertainment magazine, McGregor said: “There’s nothing possibly that could upset people [in the film], other than the very nature of imagining a story with Jesus that doesn’t exist in the Scripture.”

“There’s nothing offensive. I’m not worried about it, because I believe very much in the heart of the film we made.”

He said: “It’s not a Biblical story. It’s a story that Rodrigo García invented.

“You could watch the film and not think that it’s Jesus. He could just be another holy guy, a rabbi, walking in the desert, looking for answers.”

He continued: “You can see the demon as the Devil. Or you can see him as another side of Yeshua [Hebrew for Jesus] perhaps an embodiment of his doubt.

 

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Ewan McGregor’s tweet about dual-role indie movie

“He’s there testing him into trying to suggest that his father doesn’t love him, that his father’s not interested in his struggle.”

The Scottish actor added: “I played Yeshua with total conviction that he was the son of God and that his father had asked him to go on this path, which would lead him to death—to die for people’s sins—and I tried to imagine what that might be like for a man.

“And then when I played the demon, I was trying to chip away at that conviction. The demon’s trying to drag him away from that.”

Speaking about taking on the role McGregor said: “I thought, Okay, he’s a man who’s struggling to communicate with his dad.

“I felt actually the pressure come off myself. I’m not playing Jesus; I’m playing a man whose dad is God and he’s trying to speak to his dad. It’s really a film about the relationship between fathers and their sons. In every scene of the film, that’s at the heart of it.”

He continued: “It’s not a Biblical story. It’s a story that Rodrigo García invented.

“You could watch the film and not think that it’s Jesus. He could just be another holy guy, a rabbi, walking in the desert, looking for answers.”

The cast also includes Irish actor Ciarán Hinds from Road to Perdition and The Phantom of the Opera, Israeli actress Ayelet Zurer and American actor Tye Sheridan.

Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki has also worked on the film.

Speaking to reporters in 2009, McGregor, who played a Catholic priest in Hollywood blockbuster Angels & Demons, revealed: “I’m not often in church because I’m not a religious person but I like the ceremony of it.

“I find it quite relaxing music. But I’ve never hooked into a religion.

“I wasn’t brought up with one, so it’s not something I followed.”

Films portraying the life of Jesus Christ have proved controversial in the past.

The 1988 Martin Scorsese film, The Last Temptation of Christ, cause controversy at the time with Christian fundamentalist groups organising protests and boycotts.

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