Sorry Glenn Beck: there’s no connection between The Bible’s Satan and President Obama.
At least that’s according to makeup artist Christa Schoeman, who did the makeup for Satan actor Mehdi Ouzaani and other actors in the film.
“There was not an inch of thought about President Obama in my head at any time,” said Schoeman, who laughed at the very suggestion that Satan resembles the U.S. president. “I can guarantee that President Obama had nothing to do with it in any shape or form.”
The Bible began airing in the U.S. on the History Channel two weeks ago, and Satan made his first appearance on Sunday night. The Twitterverse was immediately drawn to the character’s resemblance to a certain commander in chief.
The buzz about Obama soon grew so loud that on Monday morning, the History Channel and the film’s executive producers each released a statement debunking any link as “utter nonsense.”
“The actor who played Satan, Mehdi Ouzaani, is a highly acclaimed Moroccan actor. He has previously played parts in several Biblical epics—including satanic characters long before Barack Obama was ever elected our president,” said executive producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey in a statement. (He’s famous for producing Survivor; she starred in Touched by an Angel.)
Downey added that they have “nothing but respect and love for our president, who is a fellow Christian. False statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the Bible.”
Schoeman, who is credited as a makeup designer on the miniseries, says she hasn’t yet seen the finished version. (She's one of the few: it has struck a chord, even beating an airing of American Idol on Fox.) She has previously worked on previous historical films such as the 2011 BBC film The History of the World, 2010 History Channel film Gettysburg, and 2011’s The Dinosaur Project. Schoeman called The Bible experience “one of the most amazing experiences of my life.” Burnett and Downey, she said, were “two of the most wonderful people” she had ever worked with.
As for the actual look created of Satan? Schoeman said all the looks of all the characters fit together like pieces of a puzzle, and no one look is isolated when doing makeup. “It really was magical and a lot of incredible things happened while we were shooting and in people’s personal lives and because we are the makeup department and are so intimately involved with the real close-up—the Bible and the disciples and Jesus and the people we spent so much time with, it was an amazing journey to take together,” she said.