' Cinema Romantico: 5 Actors To Play The Devil

Thursday, February 07, 2013

5 Actors To Play The Devil

One of the more memorable Super Bowl commercials this past Super Bowl Sunday (did you know Sunday was the Super Bowl?) involved Willem Dafoe playing the Devil in an advertisement for……a car, I think? Potato chips? Deodorant? Waterproof Deck Sealer? Hell if I remember, did you hear what I said? Willem Dafoe was playing the Devil! Satan! Lucifer!

It was, in a sense, perfect casting. That off-kilter face, that spaced-out voice, and yet……I could not also help but feel this was typecasting. This is how we tend to think of our celluloid devils – stylishly eccentric (or Al Pacino screaming at the top of his lungs). And this, as it must, got me to thinking - who ELSE could play the Prince of Darkness? What actor/actress could break the stereotype of this supremely stereotypical role?

5 Actors To Play The Devil


Michael Shannon. Let’s be clear, I don’t want the menacing Michael Shannon or even the Marx-ish Michael Shannon of “Premium Rush.” I want the annoyed Michael Shannon, the Michael Shannon who looks and sounds like he just woke up after a night of drinking by himself in his crummy shag-carpeted apartment, so dissatisfied with his place in life that he can barely look his new recruit – let’s say, Danny McBride – in the eye.

Shannon: “Look. You’re in hell. What can I say? Ya made choices, pal. Live with ‘em.” 
McBride: “Man, it sure is-“ 
Shannon: “Don’t say it. Don’t say ‘hot’. I know it’s hot. We all know it’s hot. But you don’t say……’hot’. That word sorta rubs people the wrong way down here, see.” (Presses intercom button on desk phone.) "Cheri? Could you bring me a glass of seltzer and two Advil?"


Scoot McNairy. I'd like to think McNairy would run hell in the same manner as a harried night shift manager at Kinko’s.


Alison Brie. Her Beelzebub would be buxom, no doubt, but she would also be extremely uptight and frantically insecure, desperate to get the underworld running as smoothly and efficiently as God’s totally overrated eternal paradise. "Half these people spent their whole lives complaining that it was 'too cold.' Now they're down here and it's 'too hot.' Stop whining already! You have no idea how good you have it! It's a lot better than LIFE!”


Eddie Kaye Thomas. This version of hell would be akin to the long-running family business – you know, the real Lucifer retired a long time ago and Thomas is Lucifer’s descendant and he’s been made to run hell like his father before him and he’s none too pleased. “I was a good guy up there. I was a social worker. I donated to charity. I had the points to get into heaven, I did, but imagine living your whole life knowing that once it ended you’d have to run hell for a good chunk of eternity.”


Lou Diamond Phillips. He’s the Devil’s proxy on account of mistakenly selling his soul to star in “Wolf Lake.”

6 comments:

flixchatter.net said...

Michael Shannon is already playing the devil incarnate in The Iceman I think. I'm sure a chilling performance is in order. Vincent Cassell also fits the bill.

I think a guy with a soft, kind face can also play a menacing devil as you don't expect them. I dunno, someone like James McAvoy maybe?

– ruth

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Rachel Weisz, in a man's suit and a cigar.

Or Elaine Stritch.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

(I'd endorse Scoot in anything right now, though.)

Nick Prigge said...

Ruth: If I was really tasked to cast the devil I would strongly consider Mr. Cassel's better half - Monica Bellucci. She would sizzle as the devil.

Andrew: "Rachel Weisz, in a man's suit and a cigar." Yup. That's the winner.

Alex Withrow said...

Alison Brie... Nick, you're a goddamn genius. Pitch that to a studio and you'll get a nice pitching fee.

Nick Prigge said...

You know, there was something Alison Brie said last during "Community" - can't remember now what it was - that made me think, "Oh yeah. Devil."