The fuss surrounding Morrocan actor Mehdi Ouazzani's resemblance to U.S. President Barack Obama has given The Bible star a big career boost.
Ouazzani played the devil in Mark Burnett's ratings-busting U.S. mini-series, which ran over four Sundays leading up to Easter (31Mar13), and prompted many viewers to believe studio bosses were trying to make a political point.
The drama rumbled for weeks after the actor made his debut as a silent Lucifer, but Ouazzani insists the two hours he spent in the make-up trailer preparing for the role was what made him resemble the U.S. leader.
Shocked by the controversy, he tells the Associated Press, "One morning somebody called me and said, 'You have to look at your email,' and I was so surprised. For someone like me, a simple unknown actor, to find himself in a controversy like this - even though it's nonsense - it makes me known around the world, so it's something positive."
Producer Burnett and his wife Roma Downey released a statement insisting any similarities between Obama and Ouazzani's character were unintentional, saying they "have nothing but respect and love (for) our president, who is a fellow Christian," and that "false statements such as these are just designed as a foolish distraction to try and discredit the beauty of the story of the Bible."
And Ouazzani just hopes the politician has no hard feelings: "Before, I knew who Obama was, and now he knows me, and if he has time I'd like to invite him and his family for couscous in Morocco."