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Neal McDonough talks about starring in the sci-fi thriller ‘The Shift’

Actor Neal McDonough chatted about starring in “The Shift” sci-fi thriller.

Neal McDonough
Neal McDonough in 'The Shift.' Photo Courtesy of Angel Studios
Neal McDonough in 'The Shift.' Photo Courtesy of Angel Studios

Actor Neal McDonough (“Band of Brothers”) chatted about starring in sci-fi thriller “The Shift.”

“The Shift” was just released on Friday, December 1, 2023 via Angel Studios.

The film was written and directed by Brock Heasley. Kristoffer Polaha stars as Kevin Garner, a man who embarks on a journey across worlds and dimensions to reunite with his true love Molly, who is played by Elizabeth Tabish.

The narrative unfolds as a dystopian drama and sci-fi thriller, where a mysterious adversary, The Benefactor (Neal McDonough), disrupts Kevin’s reality.

Experience doing ‘The Shift’

On his experience in “The Shift,” McDonough said, “It was one of the greatest experiences that I’ve ever had in my life. It all starts with a script. Brock [Heasley] built this amazing world in his brain, and he put it all pen to paper.”

“We were fortunate enough to be a part of that journey that he has been on for eight years. Now, to see it come to fruition, and to make it to the screen is just so exciting and it is hard to put into words,” he said.

“This is going to be something that we are going to be very proud of and we are going to be talking about it for a very long time,” McDonough added.

McDonough on playing ‘The Benefactor’

On portraying “The Benefactor,” McDonough explained, “It was certainly a challenge to play the devil. I didn’t want to make him this over the top or eyebrow tilting type of villain. I wanted to make him the guy next door that you would like to have a cup of coffee in, and then, he just starts to reel you him and before you know it, it’s too late, and he pulls you in to his darker ways.”

“My wife, Ruvé, convinced me to do this part when I really didn’t want to do it because she told me there must be a higher calling for me to play it, and it was all about infusing humanity in playing the devil… and I think we did it,” he added.

“Brock built this amazing script that made it easy for me to do it on one level, but it also made it very difficult for me on another level as a method actor to get to the point to be able to play a character like that yet still infuse compassion for my fellow man at the same time. This was one of those journeys that I will always be grateful for,” he explained.

Lesson learned from this screenplay

On the lesson that he learned from this screenplay, McDonough said, “By playing someone as dark as the devil, it made me think how really fortunate and blessed I am to have all the gifts that God has bestowed upon me. By watching this film, you see what Kevin goes through, played incredibly by Kristoffer Polaha who came and just crushed it.”

“I hope and I beg people to go and see this movie in the cinema because the scope of it is quite incredible. You will learn from this movie, and it will inspire you to be better in everything that you do,” he added.

Career-defining moments

McDonough acknowledged that starring in the HBO series “Band of Brothers” defined his career on so many levels. “Being the guy that I am and all the emotions that I have inside of me, and being able to let them out on canvas is awesome and freeing at the same time,” he said. “That was my first real true emotional journey as an actor on screen.”

“As the years progressed, I got to play some ‘delicious’ villains over the years, and all of those were training wheels for the darkest character that I’ve ever played and that was ‘The Benefactor’ in ‘The Shift,’ who was also one of the lightest characters that I’ve ever played at the same time,” he added.

“To have an emotional journey with ‘The Benefactor’ is something that I will never forget. I thank my wife for convincing me to do this and I thank Brock for the words that he gave me, and I thank Kristoffer Polaha for bringing his A game all day every day, and making an environment that was safe, free, and awesome to be a part of,” he said.

Stage of his life

On the title of the current chapter of his life, McDonough said, “How Blessed I Am.”

Superpower of choice: Gratitude

If he were to have any superpower, McDonough responded, “It would be to be as thankful as possible for all the gifts that have been given to me, and the patience to understand it all.”

“I want to be thankful for the gifts that God has given me and the journey that I am on,” he expressed.

“I am so thankful for my wife, Ruvé, and our kids,” he admitted. “I am just enjoying the life that I have, pimples and all, as my mother-in-law puts it. I am a very fortunate man because of it.”


McDonough defined the word success simply as making “God happy today.”

Closing thoughts on ‘The Shift’

For viewers and fans, he remarked about the movie, “Do the right thing. Have the strength to stick to your guns and do the right things. Make sure you have the ability to make the world a better place with your choices.

“In this movie, Kevin stood up to all the choices he could have had and he chose the right choice every single time, and that’s a superhero power that isn’t in the comic book movies. It’s only in ‘The Shift’ and it’s only in real life, and that’s why I love this film so much,” he concluded.

Read More: Review of “The Shift

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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