Cee Lo Green’s version of Mary, did you know? played during the credits of the “Son of God,” a film detailing the life of Jesus Christ. During the prescreening events in 20 cities, many in the audience wept, according to the creators. Not just from the lyrics, but by observing the Savior’s life unfold so dramatically across the screen.
“People are just sitting back stunned,” said TV producer Mark Burnett, who believes that Biblical-based films can reach all denominations. “After they gathered their thoughts, there’s a huge standing ovation. We know the movie will stand the test of time. It’s beautiful, and a great tool for churches to encourage people to get to know Jesus.”
Burnett rejoins actress and wife Roma Downey on the heels of the “The Bible,” a 10-part miniseries that aired on The History Channel last spring where over 12 million people tuned into the premiere. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado will reprise his role as Jesus in “Son of God.”
After the scenes were constructed for “The Bible,” the duo realized they also had a feature film with additional unseen footage.
“We said we wished it could be a film because it was so beautiful and we planned to do some version of this for the big screen. We put it together as a two hour stand alone experience, we had no idea whether we would get distribution for it or not.”
Twentieth Century Fox agreed to distribute the picture and it will be the first motion picture about the life of Jesus since “Passion of the Christ,” 10 years ago.
“And we just know that’s a God thing,” said Downey who plays Jesus’ mother Mary. “It couldn’t have started its life and become this big beautiful feature film if it didn’t have God all over it.”
It’s becoming clear that God is moving in Hollywood and on people’s hearts Downey said, “The Bible” sparked conversations around water cooler and kitchen tables. People were talking about God, Jesus and about faith.
Are these two power hitters for Christ trailblazers? Not so fast, said Burnett. To be a trailblazer you have to have the intention. Creating the last two biblically inspired films was a calling.
“We felt so strongly in our souls to make the Bible series,” he said. “If other people will then follow and we’ve open some doors. A better way of putting it would be that maybe we’re door openers.”
Hollywood is taking notice of the market for Biblically-inspired entertainment.
If there are going to books, movies or plays based on the Bible, “they better be accurate and they better be very good,” Burnett explained. Scholars and experts like Joel Osteen were brought in to assure for historical accuracy.
“It’s not just some story,” he affirmed. “It’s a sacred text and we’ve honored it.”