What could make The Bi­ble bet­ter? Set it to mu­sic!

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Chris Tal­bott

NASHVILLE — Mark Bur­nett and Roma Downey’s The Bi­ble fran­chise con­tin­ues to grow in un­ex­pected ways. Up next? A 16-city mu­sic tour fea­tur­ing some of to­day’s most pop­u­lar Chris­tian acts. The tour be­gins next March, fol­low­ing the na­tion­wide the­atri­cal re­lease of The Bi­ble com­pan­ion film Son of God, and will fea­ture mu­sic in­spired by and vis­ual com­po­nents from the movie and minis­eries. “I think that mu­sic just has such a won­der­ful abil­ity to con­nect and open your heart, and the im­ages from our film cer­tainly are go­ing to touch your heart,” Downey said. “So I think it’s just go­ing to be a re­ally beau­ti­ful, heart­felt ex­pe­ri­ence all around for peo­ple to at­tend.” At­tend they will, if pre­vi­ous re­ac­tion to The Bi­ble con­tin­ues to hold true. The five-part His­tory minis­eries was one of the sur­prise hits of 2013, av­er­ag­ing 11 mil­lion view­ers for each episode last spring in the U.S. Bur­nett and Downey have been rolling it out over­seas as well — it’s play­ing in Hong Kong now and the United King­dom is up next. “It has con­tin­ued to rip­ple — splash, re­ally — around the world,” Downey said as the cou­ple spoke pub­licly about the mu­sic tour for the first time Thurs­day by con­fer­ence call. Bur­nett, pro­ducer of The Voice, Sur­vivor and other re­al­ity shows, was in Cleve­land, Ohio, and ac­tress Downey was in Bos­ton. Both were screen­ing Son of God for lo­cal re­li­gious and busi­ness lead­ers, look­ing to get sup­port for the film be­fore it opens Feb. 28. They plan to hit sev­eral more cities, and trail­ers for the movie will be­gin run­ning in the­atres next week. The film com­prises pre­vi­ously aired ma­te­rial from The Bi­ble in­ter­cut with new scenes shot con­cur­rently with the minis­eries in Morocco in 2012. The cou­ple said they heard a call­ing from God to make the minis­eries, and the fran­chise con­tin­ues to take more and more of their lives. That’s some­thing their friend, Pas­tor Rick War­ren, warned them about. “Rick War­ren said to me and Roma, ‘You know one of the most dan­ger­ous prayers that you can pray is, ‘Use me,’ be­cause He will,”’ Bur­nett said. “And we can see how that played out in our lives,” Downey said. “We’ve been work­ing for God ever since.” The mu­sic tour will open March 20 at War­ren’s Sad­dle­back Church in Lake For­est, Calif., and will con­clude April 13 in Bal­ti­more. Francesca Bat­tis­telli, Side­walk Prophets, Natalie Grant, Chris Au­gust, Mered­ith An­drews and Ja­son Gray will per­form. Most of the con­certs will be held at su­per churches and will in­clude scenes from The Bi­ble and Son of God min­gled with pho­tos of re­li­gious art and ar­ti­facts along with the mu­sic. “This has been a labour of love for us,” Downey said. “We didn’t need a job when we took this on. ... It’s a com­bi­na­tion of ev­ery­thing we love, ev­ery­thing we be­lieve — and we get to do it to­gether.”

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