Roma Downey's life has been more than touched by an angel
“If I were to look back at my career," says the producer, author and actor, "I think my greatest achievement is very simple. I’ve been able to make choices where I could glorify God.”
BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
there’s much more behind the role than an acting career or a trademark voice, says Downey.
“All these projects have been ways of combining my faith with the things that I’ve learned in life. In the books, I’m trying to find ways to look back and reach the wee ones. It’s been a very fun and loving and engaging project.”
She was raised in a single-parent family after her mother died when Roma was 10. Her father filled the gap as best he could. “My dad used to sit me on his knee and read from the Bible to us. We were a praying family. Ours was a family of love and a family of
“Some of my fondest memories are of kneeling next to him and slipping my little hand into his. He was such a great guide and mentor to me. His love and his teaching me about my heavenly Father’s love allowed me to get through tough times — to be comforted and to feel the unconditional love that the Lord has for us.
“Those childhood experiences have taken me forward every day since he passed away. There is not a day in my life goes by that I don’t feel his love. That’s one reason I’ve made a choice in the career that I have — to honor my parents and to honor God.”
And that’s one reason she’s so excited about “The Bible,” the 10-hour mini-series, co-produced with her husband. “It’s the best work of our careers,” she says. “I mean we are just on fire with this. An early version of the script referred to ‘Young Mary’ and ‘Old Mary,’ We have a young actress playing Mary during the nativity and the early years of Jesus’ life. Then 30 years go by and I am on camera as Mary. But when I stepped into the role, I said, ‘You know, could we have ‘Young Mary’ and ‘Mother Mary’?’ Oh, vanity! Being ‘Old Mary’ was more than I could deal with.”
“We’ve been involved in the project for three years. We developed it and hired the crew. Then we flew to Morocco where we spent most of the first part of this year on site. All 10 hours are just beautiful. It’s from Genesis through Revelation. It’s very ambitious. We tackled the whole Bible. I wish we’d had 10,000 hours. This project has the potential to touch millions of people’s lives. It will go to places where they’ve never even seen a Bible.”
Shooting it hasn’t been easy.
“It’s taken three years of all our days and nights to bring it together and to make it the best it can be — so we’re very, very excited,” she says. ”It’s been very, very difficult and sometimes challenging, but I think that it’s going to breathe fresh, visual life into stories that we all know but haven’t quite seen like this before.”
She’s also aware she’s stepped off onto into potential controversy, “but you have to step out there,” she says. ” We’ve hired amazing actors to make emotional connections that will open your heart. We’ve made it exciting and compelling. For visual effects, we hired an Oscar Award-winning team that has brought to life on the screen miracles like you’ve never seen them — Moses’ burning bush, the fourth man in the Fiery Furnace, Jesus walking on the water. To see computer-generated imagery applied to the miracles of the Bible is just thrilling. You will see things you never been seen before.
“We’re hoping that we will pull teenagers and reach a new generation not only in this in this country, but globally — so it’s very, very exciting.”
“I know it’s epic, and I think it will be the must-watch event of the spring. It is being made with full hearts. We’ve had help. Mark and I are not pretending to be biblical experts. We brought in scholars and theologians once the scripts were created to take a look to make sure