When actress Roma Downey (of Touched by an Angel fame) first suggested to her husband, producer Mark Burnett (Survivor,The Voice, and Shark Tank), that they do a series on the Bible, he responded: “The whole Bible?” He thought it was a tall order, but Downey convinced him. When it came to selling the film to Hollywood, many were skeptical. Eventually, the History channel came through, and the five-part series aired last spring.
The results were astounding: it was one of the highest rated shows in the history of television, watched by more than 100 million people.
Emboldened by their success, Downey and Burnett have adapted The Bible miniseries into a feature film, Son of God, to be released in theatres Feb. 28. The duo enlisted the help of pastor friends to launch a campaign to fill cinemas around the country, with prominent megachurch pastors Joel Osteen and Rick Warren buying thousands of tickets and renting out theatres for their congregations.
In an interview with Downey and Burnett, I discussed the film and their faith. If their first success with The Bible miniseries is any indication, this film promises to be a blockbuster. But more importantly, it will be an indication of the power that religion plays in people’s lives, not only in America, but around the world.