Jesus and the Devil: Ewan McGregor on his Double Role in "Last Days in the Desert."

“How do you not trust the words that seem to be coming out of your own mouth?” -Ewan McGregor
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Ewan McGregor talks about his upcoming film Last Days in the Desert and how he prepared for his role of the Devil and Jesus.

A number of prominent Hollywood actors over the years have portrayed Jesus Christ on the big screen. Actors like Jim Caviezel, H.B. Warner, Willem Dafoe, Max von Sydow, and so on. The latest to join them is Ewan McGregor. What sets him apart from the other actors is that besides portraying Jesus Christ in the movie Last Days in the Desert, he has also played the role of Devil in the same movie.

The movie is about the Temptation of Christ as detailed in the Gospels of Luke, Mark, and Matthew, but with an “imagined” chapter added by director/writer Rodrigo Garcia. Garcia has introduced an ordinary family in the story. Besides the original three temptations hurled at Jesus by Satan, the movie also follows Jesus' struggle with the Devil over the fate of this crisis-ridden family. Last Days in the Desert premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, last year. It is set to be released May 13.

Ewan McGregor is best known for his roles in Trainspotting (as heroin addict Mark Renton), Star Wars prequel trilogy (as the young Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi), and Moulin Rouge! (as the poet Christian). In an interview given to The New York Daily News, McGregor said he felt overwhelmed portraying Jesus. In the movie, he has portrayed the human side of Jesus. While preparing for his role, he did a lot of research on Jesus Christ. However, it was only when he stopped researching about Christ that he was able to understand the character fully. He just started thinking about a son frustrated over the lack of response from his father.

According to McGregor, the director could have cast someone else to play the role of the Devil to avoid any controversy, because casting the same actor to play both Jesus and the Devil actually could be interpreted as suggesting Jesus and Devil as the mirror images of each other. However, to McGregor, it makes sense, because the whole plot of the movie is about Jesus succumbing to the Devil's temptations, and what better way than to trick someone by making them believe that the words are actually coming out of their own mouth. “How do you not trust the words that seem to be coming out of your own mouth?” asks McGregor.

McGregor is keen about a reboot of his iconic Obi-Wan Kenobi character from the Star Wars movie. He says there is scope for a spin-off movie and the story for the movie lies somewhere between the 3rd and 4th installments of the Star Wars movie. He is hoping for a Star Wars fan to come up with a story or an idea.


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