Neal McDonough Says THE SHIFT Role ‘Changed [His] Life Forever’

Photo courtesy of Neal McDonough via Instagram

Neal McDonough Says THE SHIFT Role ‘Changed [His] Life Forever’

By Movieguide® Contributor

Actor Neal McDonough calls his role in THE SHIFT “one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever had.”

McDonough plays “The Benefactor,” a character meant to represent the Devil. The Movieguide® review reads:

THE SHIFT is a science fiction movie with a fantasy twist. Kevin Garner loses his job on Wall Street during the 2008 financial crisis. That day, he meets his future wife, Molly. They know every marriage has problems, but they marry anyway. They grow apart when their young son wanders off one day and disappears. Kevin urges Molly to have faith. Then, the Devil offers to make Kevin rich and powerful, if he works for him. Kevin just starts praying, and the Devil flees. However, Kevin is now stuck on a totalitarian world in another universe. He searches for a way to escape and return to Molly.

THE SHIFT is one of the most moving, inventive, compelling, and powerful faith-based movies ever made. The writing, acting and directing are superb. THE SHIFT has a strong Christian, moral worldview. It contains strong allegorical, overt and beautiful references to God, Scripture, the Resurrection, and the Empty Tomb. The hero prays and rebuffs the Devil. However, THE SHIFT has some action violence where people are shot and alcohol use. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for pre-teenage children.

“The importance of playing that character as truthfully as possible was one of the greatest challenges I’ve ever had as an actor,” he explained, adding that he “wanted to play [the character] as he’s your next-door neighbor.”

McDonough said, “He seems like a really nice guy. That’s a guy I’d like to hang out with. And then, all of a sudden, everything just kind of gets too dark, and he loses his faith. Lucifer lost his faith in God a long time ago. And I played this character that all I want is that faith back,” 

“That last scene that I have with Kevin [played by Kristoffer Polaha] is one of the most painful scenes I’ve had as an actor because I have to dredge up all these thoughts that get me to why don’t I have that in my life? Why can’t I be more like Kevin?” the actor said. “For us as the viewers, Why can’t we all be more like that and have the conviction and the strength to stand up to all the evil temptations in life and just say no?”

He added that his role in THE SHIFT “changed [his] life forever.”

McDonough spoke about the part further in an interview with Christian Headlines, admitting he initially didn’t want to play the Devil. 

However, he is now grateful he joined the cast of THE SHIFT, a movie he says focuses on “hope in the face of despair” and “light in the landscape of darkness that Hollywood keeps churning out.”

The Hollywood Reporter praised McDonough’s performance, calling him “so perfect for the role that you wonder why it took him so long to play it.”

Movieguide® previously reported on THE SHIFT:

Angel Studios’ THE SHIFT is already set to make millions from both box office profits and merch sales. 

“Our strategy has been to release the film slowly, building an audience throughout the holiday season and into early 2024,” Brandon Purdie, the Head of Theatrical at Angel Studios, explained in a press release. “But with the remarkable response in box office pre-sales and general merchandise sales, including over $2,000,000 in empty tomb necklaces alone, we are committed to increase our P&A theatrical marketing spend well into the Christmas season.”

THE SHIFT is a dystopian retelling of the Book of Job, starring Kristoffer Polaha, Neal McDonough, Sean Astin, Liz Tabish, Rose Reid and John Billingsley.

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