11 May 2016
Catholic News Service
'Last Days' director imagined a devil looking a lot like Jesus
The film, which portrays Jesus' temptation in the desert, stars Ewan McGregor
The idea of having Jesus tempted in the desert by someone looking a lot like himself was in the mind of Rodrigo Garcia, the writer-director of the new movie about Jesus' life: Last Days in the Desert.
"The moment I thought of the demon, I thought, 'How on earth am I going to present him?' He's here on earth to destabilise, to make doubt, to make him insecure. I thought it would be, from a narrative point of view, interesting to have someone in your image tell you that you aren't ready, that you are not good enough. I thought it would be visually interesting. Right away it was a good idea," Garcia said, in a telephone interview with Catholic News Service (CNS).
Ewan McGregor, perhaps most famous for his portrayal of young Obi-Wan Kenobi in the second trilogy of the Star Wars series, plays both Jesus and the devil in 'Last Days'.
The temptations are not those found in the New Testament accounts: "I had this idea that Jesus might be coming out of his 40 days of prayer and fasting and temptation in the desert, and in the last three days runs in to a father and son in the desert having a conflict, and Jesus might be trying to intervene, to have him, perhaps, getting subconsciously into a father-son situation" akin to one Jesus could face with his heavenly father, Garcia said, adding, "I don't know when and how it came to me".
Garcia, of Colombian heritage, grew up in Mexico and Spain, and considered neither himself nor his parents religious, but "my mother went to Catholic schools and my father was always a big reader of the Bible, the Gospel. So we're not religious, but we did love the Holy Book. And we did read it, and as child I read many versions of the story of Jesus and I was very much intrigued and fascinated by it.
"Even if you're not a religious person, you can't help but be awed by the mystery. The life of Jesus is certainly a very good entry into the mystery," he continued. "Even not being particularly religious, I thought this was a story that interested me in its capacity as arguably the most famous son in the world, dual nature, both divine and human, a huge mission to undertake and potentially a huge sacrifice ahead of him."
One element of the promotional aspect of "Last Days" Garcia took a shine to is, "unlike with other movies, it's people talking about the movie themes. Not the star, not the anecdotes. For some reason this picture demanded that its themes be talked about. So that has made the press process much more enjoyable."
Last Days in the Desert is released in UK cinemas on 13 June.
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