Actor Neal McDonough has starred in no shortage of Hollywood films and TV shows, but his latest project, “Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist,” is truly unique.
The film, which tells the story of what life might look like after the biblical rapture, is directed by Kevin Sorbo — who also stars in the movie — and will hit theaters Jan. 26.
McDonough told “The Edifi Podcast” it was a “blessing” to be part of the cast and shared some insight on his character, Jonathan Stonagal, a wealthy and influential man central to the “Left Behind” storyline.
“It’s nice to tap into people who are the big decision makers on this planet, and how these people get to power, and how they, at times, use their power for good,” he said. “And, at times, some of them use their power for obviously malicious intent and … their own betterment.”
Listen to McDonough discuss his faith, avoiding sex scenes, and why he wanted to star in “Left Behind”:
McDonough said putting these sorts of characters in the spotlight can show people how to be “wary” of those who claim to want to lead but are actually “just for themselves.”
“I think these kinds of tales are so well received by so many people, because it talks about real life,” he said. “You know, there’s the obvious massive scale that this film touches upon but, for me, it’s always the minutiae of the characters. And the characters in this piece are really well-crafted.”
The actor openly discussed his Catholic faith and spoke about how God has blessed his life in incredible ways, including with a loving wife, wonderful kids, and a multifaceted career.
McDonough said he’s incredibly “humbled” when he considers all he’s been able to accomplish.
“God has given me so much and has blessed me with so much that it’s nice to play characters like this that take me out of me for a moment and [I] realize, ‘Holy cow. I’m so fortunate to be the person that I am,'” McDonough said. “And surrounded by the people that God has surrounded me with.”
The actor said being in front of the camera is his “second happiest place on the planet,” next to being with his wife, Ruve McDonough. McDonough has long made headlines for his refusal to do sex scenes; he was allegedly fired in 2010 from the show, “Scoundrels,” over his personal policies.
He also doesn’t kiss others on-screen and has reportedly long been open about that fact as well. When asked about his filming guidelines, he was candid.
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“I have to play a lot of villains, because I won’t do certain scenes, and that’s fine,” he said. “I’ve loved my career getting to play Damien Darhk for all these years, getting to play all these other villainist characters ‘cuz it … makes me realize even more how much God has given me.”
In addition to his committed marriage, McDonough also spoke about his love for parenthood and the values he pours into his children. He said he and his wife encourage their kids to work hard, showing them the ins and outs of movie set life.
“Don’t just sit around and think that you’re gonna get things easy in this house,” he said of his message to his children. “You gotta work it. If you work hard in life and you’re a good person, good things will happen to you.”
As for the lesson he’s hoping “Left Behind: Rise of the Antichrist” teaches, he said it’s all about building faith in God and oneself.
“Believe in yourself, believe in yourself wholeheartedly and know that God has your back,” he said. “Those are the tenets that we kinda live by in our house.”
He continued, “People are gonna say horrible things about you. People are gonna tempt you with horrible things. People are gonna throw everything off.”
But rather than falling prey, McDonough encouraged people to turn to the Lord. Find out more about “Left Behind” and get tickets here.
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