Bible producers avoid preaching
PRODUCER Mark Burnett stayed clear of casting well known faces for the The Bible because he did not want to distract from re-telling the greatest story ever told.
That’s not to say that some of the actors in the epic miniseries will not be recognisable to Australian viewers.
Nonso Anozie, who plays Xaro Xhoan Daxos in Game of Thrones, played Samson in Tuesday night’s episode and Fintan McKewen, who played Amory Lurch in Game of Thrones, played Ekosh.
Burnett’s actress wife and co-producer Roma Downey plays Mary in four episodes but may be better known for her role as the angel Monica in the long running series Touched by an Angel.
But in the main, Burnett wanted viewers to absorb the characters in The Bible and not just see a famous actor playing a biblical figure.
‘‘We thought it would distract . . . these are the most famous stories in the world and we wanted people to be able to experience them fresh,’’ says Burnett.
‘‘The only actor, certainly in America, that is really well known is my wife who plays Mary . . . but in every other case it’s all fresh.’’
Burnett and Downey took four years to bring the 10-part series to the screen.
Along the way they undertook an extensive consultation process and canvassed the thoughts of a number of leading Christian groups before the 40 writers started on the script.
Among those the pair consulted were Catholic cardinals, evangelical church leaders, Presbyterians, Protestants and the Anti-Defamation League.
‘‘In the end we had to carve a path that we felt was most connective because it’s got to be a good television show that appeals to everybody,’’ says Burnett.
He tried to re-tell the story as accurately as it is written, especially in the Old Testament, to make sure the series had credibility.
‘‘Even as believers we tried to be as objective as possible,’’ Burnett says.
‘‘The Old Testament is full of darkness, mistakes and wars and it needed to be that way to make the arrival of Jesus bring that light.
‘‘We have not tried to tell anyone how to feel . . . there is no talking head telling you should think this or that.’’
‘‘We just wanted to tell the story.’’
The Bible: Tuesdays, 9pm, Nine, NBN.
Roma Downey as Mary, mother of God