The story of the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ has been dubbed “the greatest story ever told.” Granted, those of the Christian faith are inclined to agree, because Jesus is the foundation for their religion. Then, there are those who don’t believe Jesus is the Son of God. And, there are still those who say that Jesus was just a man, who survived oral history as more of a legend than the actual Son of God.
In the four and a half years leading up to the series’ on-air time, Burnett consulted with 40 church leaders, theologians and scholars to not only help him and the screenwriters (which include Richard Bedser, Christopher Spencer, Colin Swash and Nic Young) develop the script, but also to try to make it as accurate as possible.
Granted, Burnett and his writers took some creative license when it came to the adaptation of the stories. However, the gist is the same, as well as the inspiration of the film.
Speaking of inspiration, it was while the cast and crew of The Bible were watching some dailies toward the end of their production that Downey and Burnett decided to film a few extra scenes and use what they have to make a film specifically about the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (played by Diogo Morgado).
Son of God, directed by Christopher Spencer, will open in more than 3,000 theaters across the U.S. in Spanish and English on Feb. 28.
“Passion of the Christ dealt with the last three human days of (Jesus’) life. And, by the time He was resurrected, you didn’t really know Him,” Burnett said, during an interview in Miami. “We tried to and I think we succeeded in giving you about an hour of getting to know Jesus and by the time He’s arrested, you feel really bad.”
Bad, indeed. According to Burnett and Downey, who hosted more than 30 viewings including one for 20th Century Fox, there were those in the audience who wished that history had changed and Jesus was not tortured, then made to die a slow death. However, they were quick to point out that His death and resurrection were a part of God’s plan to save His people.
“I’ve loved Jesus my whole life. But, I had never really fully considered what it must have been like to be His mom until I stepped into the role of playing Mary,” said Downey, whose production company with her husband, Light Workers Media, is in preparations to film the theatrical version of the best-selling novel The Dovekeepers. “She was the mother of the Son of God, but she was also the mother of a son and really the best I could do was bring a mother’s heart to the role.”
It just so happens, the hardest scene to film was the crucifixion of Christ, because of the extreme weather conditions and amounts of snakes in that region. Downey and Burnett had hired a man to clear away the scorpions and snakes from which he would remove about one snake per day.
They also had their cast and crew praying for safe filming. The day of filming the crucifixion, the snake wrangler retrieved some 40 snakes from the base of the cross, which had been mounted into the ground for safety.
It would seem that there was no reason to give the last portion of The Bible a theatrical release, as it is the same story that you saw last year.
However, the purpose of re-releasing the film is to bring the story of Jesus Christ to more people, so that they can be curious enough to research Jesus for themselves. Meanwhile, there are those who don’t really believe in Jesus or believe that he was the son of God, who have watched Son of God and decided to get to know Jesus for themselves.
Burnett put it best when he said: “We had a journalist from an eastern religion in Asia, and she said to us, ‘I always thought this was a Western myth. But this movie made me really want to learn more about Jesus.’ That was the very intention from the beginning: to make people want to learn more.”