Roundtable Interview with Mark Burnett,
Roma Downey, actress, of “Son of
, February 18, 2014
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Presbyterian
(Mark and Roma come in together, and sit
down beside each other)
Mark: Guess which one is the angel?
(everyone laughs; Roma
played the angel is “Touched By An Angel”)
How did this idea come about to film “Son of God”?
It was one of the camera crew, while we were shooting scenes from (the
television miniseries) “The Bible,” and he said “This is epic.
This should be on a big movie screen.
" We talked about it and we said “You know, we’re going to be
) for six months, we’re going to shoot way more (film) than we need, this
really is good. And this would play so
much better on the big screen, one narrative with no commercial breaks."
So we just started. You have to
know that we had no clue if it would get to movie theaters.
It’s expensive, you know: 5.1
Surround-sound, complete re-edit, special effects---but we thought,
“What’s the worst that could happen?” We’d
end up paying for it, we’d show it in a couple of theaters and a couple of
group events. But after we sent it
around, it was so well-received that 20th-Century
Fox wanted to put it in wide release. So
we’re thrilled, of course.
It’s been so exciting. We
didn’t even know if we could dare to dream that this would be happening on
such a large scale. 3,000 theaters, a
Spanish version…..it’s unusual to start on the small screen and move to
wide distribution like this.
Jesus hasn’t been on the big screen
for 10 years, and we feel there’s a whole new generation ready to see the
story come to life in this way. I
myself am a visual learner: if I see
it, it emotionally connects with me, it stays with me.
I find that after I worked on the film, I go back to the scripture with
a new aliveness. I think of the film as
illustrating the Gospels. We wanted to
show the story as a thriller, to show the political and historical context of
the day, and on the other hand, the most beautiful love story, because it
shows God’s incredible love, that He sent Jesus for us.
And ultimately, Jesus to bring us home.
already reached so many: 100 million people in
watched “The Bible” miniseries. And
we beat hockey! You know, we worked
with church leaders even while we were making it, trying to make sure we had
it right. Rick Warren said it well last
week: “These guys have spent millions
of dollars to make this. We, the
church, get to use it.” It’s been
the same with Joel Osteen, and Bishop Jakes, and the (Roman Catholic) cardinal
, and many others—churches of all denominations so enthusiastic about its
know, sometimes churches get known as people who speak out against things.
There’s something wonderful about being the people who speak out FOR
something. And what we’re for, in
spite of the variety of denominations, is Jesus.
We share a common love of Jesus. And
our movie tells the story of His life in a way that if you don’t know Him,
would allow you to fall in love with Him, as you discover Him, and if you do
know Him, it gives you an opportunity to fall in love with Him all over again.
one thing unifying all Christians everywhere is who Jesus is.
He’s the Son of God. God died
on that cross for all of us. It’s
like an ant trying to understand the Internet, a human trying to understand
what God is. It’s that powerful.
And yet He chose to come in human form, as a baby, and trust Himself to
humans to bring Him up in a poor family, in the most tumultuous of times.
The times predicted by Daniel. It’s
amazing---it’s the one thing that unites us all:
who Jesus is. And in this movie
we’re very clear about that.
Mark & RD: Thank you.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister,
Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving, Texas