Playing God: 7 actors who've taken a turn being The Big Guy
- The rapper, singer and The Voice judge can also add ‘being God' to his CV after appearing in American drama Joan of Arcadia. The show opens with God popping up to remind Joan that she promised to do anything he told her to if he let her brother survive an otherwise fatal car crash. Throughout the series, God takes the form of different people - young kids, teenage boys, old ladies, gambling guys (enter Will.i.am) - asking Joan to do things. This version of God is pretty demanding, but he's also painted as the ultimate good guy, as the things he gets Joan to do are always about helping others (like when he tells her to ask the school bully to a dance and later reveals that if she hadn't done that the bully would have gotten drunk and shot 12 students.)
- Whoopi Goldberg
- When you don't have long to left to live and you want some comfort from God, who better than the epic Whoopi Goldberg to remind you to treasure what you have? In rom-com, A Little Bit of Heaven, fast-living heroine Marley finds out she has terminal cancer, but to soften the blow God (unusually in the form of a woman, Goldberg) appears to her and - in full genie fashion - offers her three wishes. God might be a woman here, but the focus is really on the fact that she grants the wishes in unexpected ways, proving her heavenly wisdom as she gives Marley the opportunity to appreciate the positive things in her life and to prepare for saying goodbye.
- Morgan Freeman
- "If you think it's so easy, do it yourself!" is pretty much the theme of the film Bruce Almighty, where acting legend Morgan Freeman takes on the role of God. Local news reporter Bruce just can't seem to catch a break at work, getting stuck with the worst jobs whilst his nemesis steals a promotion from right under Bruce's nose. He doesn't take it well, gets himself fired and blames who? God. But God seizes the chance to have a little fun whilst teaching Bruce a lesson - he hands over all his powers, letting Bruce be in charge for a while, but also leaves him with all his heavenly responsibilities. Disaster inevitably ensues as Bruce learns that it's not just down to God to answer our prayers, it's up to us to pray for the right things.
- Jim Parsons
- Although we usually see Jim worshipping science rather than God (as Sheldon Cooper in the Big Bang Theory) he's played the big guy on stage in An Act of God. The play is basically a conversation between God and some of his angels where God reveals the mysteries of the Bible and answers some of humanity's hardest questions about life, the universe and everything. And, just as you'd expect from Jim Parsons, he plays a pretty up-to-date deity - a sarcastic, tweet-sending, selfie-taking God who just wants to set the record straight about a few things, hoping to get humanity on a better path.
- Alanis Morissette
- No-one likes to be fired, and angels are no exception - especially when they find themselves shoved out of heaven. The film Dogma follows the plots and schemes of two fallen angels (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck) as they mess with the lives of people on earth in an attempt to get back to paradise. But God's not happy and shows up (in the form of singer Alanis Morissette) to try and thwart their plans. And she gets to put her vocal chords to work when she uses her voice to blow up the head of one of the fallen angels. Grim. This God is definitely a being who's keen to keep her power, although she also wants to make sure humans aren't hurt and spends a lot of the film sorting out the earthly messes made by her errant angels.
- Hugh Bonneville
- This God isn't just all-powerful, he's all-singing and all-dancing in the stage show Spamalot. It's a musical re-telling of the classic Monty Python film The Holy Grail, which takes a hilarious but slightly surreal look at the legendary British leader, King Arthur and his quest for the cup of eternal life. God is played by Hugh Bonneville and is a rather tetchy figure - he's certainly got no time for the typically British urge to say sorry for absolutely everything! He's still rooting for humanity though and wants Arthur and his Knights to find the Holy Grail to set a good example to his subjects and grow in their faith and knowledge of God.
- Val Kilmer
- Prince of Egypt is a traditional animation (it uses hand-drawn frames rather than computer-generated ones) so you don't get to see Val Kilmer stepping into the role of God - but you do get to hear his deep, awe-inspiring tones. The film is an adaptation of the Book of Exodus, the second book in the Bible, and follows the life of Moses from being a prince of Egypt to his ultimate destiny to lead the Israelite people out of slavery in Egypt and into a land of their own. It's an epic biblical tale of perseverance, adventure and miracles where God is shown to be powerful but also hugely protective and merciful towards Moses and the Israelites.
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