Will Smith’s Lucifer is the Suave Type: A 2014 Guide to Movie Satans

Will Smith’s uncredited  appearance in Winter Tale as a t-shirt wearing, basement-dwelling Prince of Darkness has caused a lot of buzz.  Not only is the former Fresh Prince a charmer, but, except for the fact his job entails passing judgement on the forces of evil, he could easily blend into the hipster crowd at the local coffee shop (although being pure evil, I am sure he would not bring a reusable cup).

According to Vulture, this suave, sexy Satan that could easily blend into New York City and corporate life is a common Satan archetype in movies.  Anna Silman describes as the suave type as follows:

Long before the Devil Wears Prada, the metaphor of devil-as-corporate-boss was given the most literal possible treatment in The Devil’s Advocate. In the 1997 film, Al Pacino plays a smooth-talking, charming lawyer who just happens to be prince of the underworld (although his menace here pales in comparison to his later turn as real-life evil lawyer Roy Cohn, in Angels in America). The Suave Devil, which gains its newest member with Will Smith’s performance in Winter’s Tale, exemplifies greed, charm, power, and good tailoring, and has become a popular way to portray Satan while simultaneously assailing the character of bankers and lawyers. Other Suave Devils you know: Gabriel Byrne as the devil inhabiting a Wall Street banker in End of Days; Robert De Niro as a dapper devil with a cane in Angel Heart; Peter Stormare in Constantine (which Goldsman also produced) as a devil whose snazzy all-white ensemble stays dry-cleaner spiffy even while plunging his hands into Keanu Reeves’s chest cavity.

Silman’s taxonomy of devils also breaks down other common devil types, including little devil, benign devils and classic flame dwellers.

Read more about Silman’s movie devil taxonomy here.

Or watch what may be the best movie portrayal of a Devil ever (which Silman dubs the mischievous type) when Jack Nicholson asks the good, church-going people of Eastwick, “Do you think God knew what he was doing when he created women?”

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