Remaining a Christian in Hollywood has been something of a challenge in faith for an actor known best for playing highly compelling villains, Neil McDonough, not least because he stands by his faith and refuses to participate in sex scenes, something he says got him blacklisted by Hollywood. But he faced a new set of challenges in a recent movie, “The Shift,” playing Lucifer in a roll that he says changed his life forever.
“The Shift” is a dystopian, sci-fi film in which McDononough plays Lucifer, known in the film as “The Benefactor,” tempting and challenging the main character as that protagonist attempts to reunite with his true love by making it past the challenges The Benefactor throws in his way.
Angel Studios, which released “Sound of Freedom” over the summer and is behind “The Shift,” described the film by saying, “THE SHIFT is an indie sci-fi romance inspired by the book of Job. The film shares the story of Kevin, whose confrontation with a mysterious adversary threatens his survival and sends him to a dystopian reality. As Kevin travels across worlds to reunite with Molly, the love of his life, a glimmer of hope emerges through a necklace representing the empty tomb.”
McDonough then spoke to the Christian Post about what the movie taught him, saying that we all have to make it through life’s challenges, even if those challenges aren’t as horrible as those faced by Job, and keep the faith while doing so.
Making that point, he said, “We all have to go through our darkness. We all get beaten up in life. We’re also all sinners in life. We have our flaws, we fall down, we trip all over ourselves, but it’s how we get up that dictates what kind of men and women we are for Him, not for us, but for Him.”
Continuing, McDonough said that living in a certain common sense way would make the world a far better place, saying, “God first, me second, family first, me second, those are the tenets that we live by in our house. If more people live by that, wouldn’t the world be just a much sweeter place to live in?”
He then related that back to the movie and explained how his role relates to living life, saying, “It’s films like ‘The Shift’ that make us realize that we shouldn’t take any of it for granted. It’s so fleeting. We’re here for such a short amount of time. Make your life remarkable. Be the greatest version of you possible.” He continued, “In this film, I get to play the character that tries to pull you away from that. So the importance of playing that character as truthfully as possible was one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever had as an actor.”
McDonough added what he was thinking of when he played the Lucifer character, saying, “I wanted to play him as he’s your next-door neighbor. He seems like a really nice guy. That’s a guy I’d like to hang out with. And then, all of a sudden, everything just kind of gets too dark, and he loses his faith.”
And that was what he got a big life lesson from, the lesson about saying “no” when the temptation grows great. He said, “Lucifer lost his faith in God a long time ago. And I played this character that all I want is that faith back.”
He added, “That last scene that I have with Kevin is one of the most painful scenes I’ve had as an actor because I have to dredge up all these thoughts that get me to why don’t I have that in my life? Why can’t I be more like Kevin? For us as the viewers, Why can’t we all be more like that and have the conviction and the strength to stand up to all the evil temptations in life and just say no?” According to McDononough, that roll and question have “changed” his “life forever.”
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