Roma Downey and Mark Burnett Bring the Bible to the Screen

January 15, 2013 — 4 Comments
Roma Downey and Mark Burnett on Morocco location for the shooting on The Bible in 2012

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett on Morocco location for the shooting on The Bible in 2012

 

The Bible is an upcoming television series, created by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, which is based on the Bible. It will air on the History Channel beginning March 3,2013, just in time for the Easter Season.  Burnett, producer of the Voice, Apprentice, and Survivor,  considers the scripted 10-hour series to be the “most important” project he has undertaken, according to The Wall Street Journal. The project was conceived by Burnett and Downey, who are married and Christians.

“This will go out into corners of the world that we have never heard of,” Downey said. “It’s been just a very humbling, exciting and enormous privilege for us.” You will remember Downey  as “Monica” the kind-hearted angel on the successful American TV series Touched by an Angel.

It is also a project close to Mr. Burnett’s heart. In the past couple of years the 52-year-old  ex-paratrooper says he has become deeply religious, a transition he credits to Roma Downey, his wife since 2007. “It wasn’t until I met Roma that I truly understood my faith and it’s been a dynamic shift for me,” Mr. Burnett said. He credits his wife with conceiving the idea for the series. “My wife had this feeling that there’s a lot out there that seems to be maligning the Bible,” he said. “Roma said we should do the true story.”

The $20 million project, funded by the History Channel and Hearst Corp. which owns 50% of the channel, comes as the reality genre is showing signs of peaking.

Hearst is hoping “The Bible” will find broad appeal. Burnett noted to the Wall Street Journal  that 70 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christians but the production also should appeal to Jews, Muslims and anyone who wants to learn about the Bible.

Downey said the casting of Jesus was most important. “We had some actors lined up, but we felt we hadn’t found the perfect actor,” she said. “We put it out in prayer circles to all of our friends and community.” Shortly thereafter, they met a Portuguese actor — Diogo Morgado— and immediately realized he was perfect casting when they saw him walking toward their house.

The series covers the Bible “from Genesis to Revelation” within five two-hour parts,each containing two or three biblical stories. Burnett has mentioned that iconic  stories include Noah’s Ark, Exodus, and the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The series is based on the New International Version and the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Burnett said the project has  made the couple’s  faith stronger. “We’ve worked three years on this,” Burnett said. “We love it. We believe in it. There’s a responsibility to the world to bring fresh visual life into this.”

Composer Hans Zimmer ( The Dark Knight Rises) is finishing up the score for a March 3, 2013 air date. Here is a peak from the “official trailer”. I am impressed with the overall quality of the piece.

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4 responses to Roma Downey and Mark Burnett Bring the Bible to the Screen

  1. Darn! One of the few times I wish I had cable. 🙂

    This sounds nice, but these kinds of things always have a downside. First, most “Christian” productions tend to be of uneven quality at best. (I’m trying to be kind.) Second, even when a movie is as well made as “The Passion of the Christ” (a level to which this production would be hard pressed to reach) there will be detractors simply because of the religious nature of the subject matter. To use the current vernacular, the haters will always hate.

    All that said, I’m still curious. Guess I’ll have to wait until it appears on video.

    • It looks good, dramatic, powerful….also, getting Hans Zimmer to score after the production wrapped is an indication that it is well done. In my view, any way to honor the great commission has value. The world doesn’t need anyone miniseries, but the world does need the gospel! The mockers are always going to be there — they vilified Franco Zefirelli and now Jesus of Nazareth is seen as a classic….so I am hopeful…These projects (in this landscape) are tough to get made so my hat is off to both Downy and Burnett for using their klout for the greater good!

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