“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
we were accurate and true to the Bible, but obviously we’re making a movie, and so we breathed creativity into it.”
On “The Bible” set, Roma and Mark
“Mark,” is Roma’s husband – Mark Burnett, the producer of one of TV’s most-popular shows ever, “Survivor.” He is also the creator of TV”s “The Apprentice,” “The Voice,” “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? “ “Shark Tank,” “Oprah”s All-Stars,” “Martha Stewart, “ “Sarah Palin”s Alaska” and scores of other shows. Recently, he made TV history by having a renewed series on each of the four major broadcast networks.
He and Downey share great expectations about “The Bible” mini-series. “It offers God’s Word to people who may never have an opportunity to step inside a church,” Downey says, “but they may get a chance to turn a TV set on. As someone who has loved Jesus my whole life, it was wonderful to get to step into the role of His blessed mother. It was a great privilege. It was just extraordinary.”
But Roma will always be known as “Monica,” the angel. What are the chances of a “Touched by an Angel” reunion movie? Nothing’s planned, she says. The show concluded its nine-year run on CBS in 2003. Even so, Downey continues her close friendship with fellow “angel” and co-star Della Reese – who is an ordained Christian pastor and performed Roma and Mark’s wedding.
The show is enjoying new life in re-runs – a few weeks ago, cable’s GMC network scored its best-ever weekend ratings with a “Touched by an Angel” marathon. The network is now airing episodes weeknights at 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.
“It’s fantastic that it’s on GMC,” says Downey. “It’s reaching a whole new generation of people with its beautiful message of faith. I loved being on that show. I loved it. I loved playing Monica. I loved being the messenger, the believer. I loved being part of a message that went out weekly reminding people there is a God and this is God’s purpose for you and God will be part of your life and most importantly that God loves you.
“I got to deliver that message every week for almost 10 years to millions of people a week.”
“Still to this day, wherever I am in airports or shopping malls people tell me, ‘Oh, that show has changed my life.’ or ‘That show helped my family heal’ or ‘You’ll never know what that show did for us’ and so I’m thrilled that it’s back at a regular spot in the television and has a chance to heal and touch people’s lives all over again.
“I’ve been there, too, needing an angel — I can tell you. Over the years I’ve found myself wishing sometimes my angel would show up. I could use a little uplift, a little reminder.
“And then you know, and it’s available to everybody at all times.
You’ve just got to turn your attention into your own loving heart where God exists inside of all of us.”