The Satan shown in “The Young Messiah” isn’t your typical Prince of Darkness.
No horns, tail or scales can be seen on actor Rory Keenan, who plays Satan in the new film. In fact, after watching Keenan’s performance you could be forgiven for finding the character a thoroughly modern metrosexual.
Look at his carefully coiffed hair, that goatee with blond highlights.
The actor doesn’t necessarily deflect the tag even if it wasn’t his intention.
“I can see how this Satan could be perceived as someone who takes care of his appearance,” Keenan says. “I imagine there is a vanity to him. Part of his vanity is in the fact that he believes he can out-smart God, and this perhaps manifests itself in his appearance.”
That presentation clashes with how other men appear in the film. Hard work and sacrifice don’t allow for much primping.
“Traditionally men of that era would not have taken so much care of their appearance. But this Satan knows he needs to seduce,” the actor notes. “He needs to have a little something extra. He needs to be curious-looking enough to pique Jesus’s interest.”
Keenan’s Satan appears throughout “The Young Messiah” in small but potent doses. It’s a fictional account of Jesus Christ as a boy coming to grips with his true identity. Satan follows him throughout that process, often bending the minds of those who could do Jesus harm.
The very nature of Satan defies a strict visual embodiment, Keenan says.
“Part of his power lies in his multiplicity. He can never be just one thing,” he says. “If people argue about how he should appear, that can only be a good thing. It means he’s pressing the right buttons.
“Satan is probably very different for different people. I think he would enjoy having so many names. He’s a master of disguise, after all.”
One factor not up for debate? Satan’s intentions.
“He wants to create havoc and rule by his law alone. He is a megalomaniac, and the best megalomaniacs have a charisma to them which some find irresistible,” he says. “I was interested in the idea of the Demon achieving this through quiet seduction. He’s a watcher and he uses rumor brilliantly. We all know how that can turn out!”
“The Young Messiah” director Cyrus Nowrasteh describes Satan as “the most attractive and favored angel, the angel of light.”
“So it makes sense that he’d be beautiful and groomed,” the director says.
The term metrosexual doesn’t come with the best reputation. Some see it as an subversive attack on manhood.
For Nowrasteh, the connection has been nothing but positive for “The Young Messiah.”
“People dig it. Especially the non-Christian crowd who seem to embrace Satan in all his manifestations,” he says.
“The Young Messiah” is in theaters now.