Off Topic: The time David Bowie played Pontius Pilate

Everyone is posting various tributes to the late, great David Bowie today. Most will likely relate to Major Tom, Ziggy Stardust or Under Pressure.

For my part, I'm posting something a little different. Instead of anything from his music career, here's the clip of Bowie's brief but oddly appropriately-cast role as Pontius Pilate opposite Willem DaFoe in Martin Scorcese's "The Last Temptation of Christ".

If you haven't seen the film, it's a curious mix. The casting is completely surreal: DaFoe as Jesus, Barbara Hershey as Mary Magdalene, Harry Dean Stanton as Paul of Tarsus and Harvey Keitel, of all people, as Judas. "Last Temptation" was the subject of tremendous controversy before it even came out, as a leaked copy of the script got out revealing a scene in which Jesus and Mary Magdalene have sex. The reality is that the scene (which is completely implied, not shown) is part of a long dream/vision sequence in which Jesus imagines what his life would be like if he wasn't who he was--if he was a normal, mortal man. He envisions himself marrying Mary Magdalene, having children, raising them as a family man, growing old and dying. This normal, mortal life is depicted as the last temptation offered to him by the Devil before he realizes what it is he has to do.

As an agnostic Jew myself, I found the movie, as strangely cast and paced as it was, to be extremely powerful; it presents a side of Jesus I hadn't really thought about before, and while I'd never convert to Christianity, if I was ever open to doing so, "Last Temptation" would be a strong influence towards that move.

Anyway, Bowie's Pilate is only on screen for a few minutes, but I always found his quiet, understated performance riveting.

Added: Here's more on Bowie's portrayal of Pilate.