Q What inspired you to create the TV series, “The Bible”?
A The idea came as a “whisper” in our hearts that turned into prayer as we considered how to get Hollywood to devote prime time to tell the story of the Bible. “Experts” warned us that nobody would watch a Bible series on primetime TV, but 100 million Americans tuned in. The “experts” were wrong. After thousands of years, the Bible remains the most talked about book in the world.
Q How do you see these works contributing to the efforts of local churches?
A Our vision was that our efforts would be a gift to churches helping them tell their message in a new way to a new generation. Many churches now use “The Bible” footage as a teaching tool, and entire denominations have produced small group and preaching materials based on the series.
Q Is there a scene in the series or film that is most meaningful to you?
A There are so many scenes we love. The sacrifice of Isaac — as told through the eyes of Sarah — was particularly meaningful because we had never known the story to be told this way, and we just loved its allusion to Jesus. Isaac is seen carrying his pile of wood on his shoulders up the mountain, alluding to Jesus who would later carry wood (a cross) up a mountain. To connect these stories, we placed a white lamb in both scenes, and cut to the Isaac scene just before the lamb was to be slaughtered for Passover in the Jesus scene. This subtlety is throughout the entire series, and was one of the ways we told the story of Christ throughout.
Q What scene did you struggle the most to capture?
A The crucifixion was difficult to shoot due to the deep emotion attached to it, and all the logistical challenges surrounding it. The scene with Nebuchadnezzar was extremely dangerous as we were shooting real chariots moving at an incredibly fast pace. It was also challenging to shoot Jesus walking on water. We were out all night on the lake so that the water was frozen, and the actors were in sandals and robes freezing to death.
Q Are there more biblically-based projects to come?
A We are about to shoot “A.D.” for NBC, which is a follow-up series to “The Bible” and begins at the crucifixion of Jesus. It tells the story of the next 20 years of the early Church from four different points of view: the Apostles; Pilate and the Romans; Caiaphas and the temple authorities; and Antipas and Herod’s family. It’s set to run Sunday nights on NBC beginning on Easter Sunday.
This article originally appeared in the NAE Insight.