Sunday, May 08, 2016

The Temptation of McJesus

Ewan McGregor in a scene from "Last Days in the Desert." Photo courtesy of Sundance Institute

I like Ewan McGregor as an actor. He has an excellent dramatic range and he does well in comedic roles. But who does he think he is, God? I'm not referring to his Jedi role.  McGregor is Jesus, on film at least, and he doesn't look all that sure of himself in the photo above.

The film is Last Days in the Desert and Ewan admits that he was "freaked out" by the role, even thought the emphasis is on the humanness of Jesus rather than divinity.  The imaginative story picks up on the conclusion of Jesus' forty days in the wilderness before he begins his ministry, the gospel story which begins the season of Lent.  It’s writer-director Rodrigo Garcia’s imagining of Jesus meeting a teenage boy and his father who are struggling to reconcile their plans for the boy’s life. The boy wants to go to Jerusalem. His father wants him to stay in the desert.

The other freaky aspect to McGregor's involvement is that he also plays Lucifer, The Tempter, yup, Satan. This isn't exactly original. Anne Rice used the same concept in one of her novels about Jesus, with the devil as a cleaned-up mirror image of Jesus. Why not? Most of us don't give much thought to the Prince of Darkness these days, but we do wonder about our darker side, and why it can be affect us so profoundly.

I'll be waiting for the reviews of Last Days. I enjoy imaginative interpretations of biblical stories, if they're well done. Does the casting of McGregor and/or the storyline intrigue you? Will his Lucifer look like Donald Trump?

What about the gospel telling of the temptation of Jesus?

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