Weird Things on the Set of ‘the Bible’

(picture courtesy Lightworkers Media)

The producers of the History Channel special ‘the Bible” (filmed in the Sahara), a show which got cable’s highest-rated audience of the year last Sunday (13.1 million viewers), reports the following oddities….

“There’s a scene with Jesus and Nicodemus, when Nicodemus comes to Jesus in the night. It’s a very still night, not a breath of wind, and we’re on the edge of the Sahara desert in a palm grove in an oasis… Jesus says, ‘The Holy Spirit is like the wind.’ At that moment, a wind, like as if a 747 was taking off, blew his hair, almost blew the set over and sustained for 20 seconds across the desert, and the actors didn’t break — they kept going. And everything stopped. Everyone just looked at everyone like, ‘What just happened?’”

The missing frock
“We had hundreds of craftsmen working [on making costumes], and the most important costume was Jesus’ costume. Every time, at the end of the day, the costume’s got to be taken away to be maintained. So when we were doing the baptism scenes, it’s completely immersed in water. During it, a portion of the costume came away. We shot this in a giant reservoir on the edge of the Sahara desert, so we’re never going to find this again. It’s really bad. Every time you lose something, you’ve got five months ahead, and you can’t replicate these costumes. Four days later, a kid showed up from many, many, many miles away, who had been seeking us through the desert to return this to us. He didn’t know what it was why he should seek us, but he felt he had to return it.”

Cobras at the cross
“We had a snake wrangler every day on the set. I mean, we’ve got a couple hundred people shooting, and we can’t afford to have people getting bitten by snakes. Every day, this guy would find a snake or maybe two snakes, and remove them. On the day of the crucifixion, a lot of people prayed. The cross was a huge thing. They prayed [for safety], ‘Imagine if this cross fell. The actor playing Jesus could be killed or badly injured.’ The snake man came to work that day — he’d gotten there early on the mountain playing Golgotha, and the bag of snakes [he was carrying] was the biggest bag I’d ever seen. He came to my wife and said, ‘Miss Roma, there were 48 snakes.’ He found 48 cobras and vipers hidden within the rocks around the cross.”

My own evaluation thus far is: 1) the beginning with Noah and the ark and the flash back to creation was pretty weak, and involved too much obvious CG; 2) Abraham as a character and the lengthy sequence with his stories was better; and 3) the Moses sequence was about as good. We were left with the song ‘Joshua fit the battle of Jericho….’ in our heads as we await the next episode. And finally… the music could have been much much better (see for example the music for the Gospel of John, or even the Nativity).

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  • Patrick

    All things considered, it was a good start for me. One thing that caught my eye was how the producers used a “Divine Man” to communicate with Abraham as opposed to an invisible God’s voice.

    I was surprised at that and pleased. It fits the text, IMO.

  • theologyarchaeology

    Why was Noah speaking with a Scottish accent? Why was the ark leaking? The two episodes were so far off biblically that they served no real purpose and were w waste of money and time making them but that is what yo get when you have non-believers working on a project about the Bible.

    The angels at Sodom did NOT say ‘help us’, they were not attacked nor bleeding, they did not partake in sword play and the ‘drama’ did not take place. the whole show was just garbage. I cannot see how anyone could like those episodes when they were so wrong.

  • Mary Liz

    All said and done by you experts, I feel this offering is an opportunity to reach others for Christ. We can see that the happenings in the desert deserve to be heard….thank you for that Dr. Witherington. Hollywood will always be Hollywood and writers for movies will always Midrash….as did some Rabbis so I understand from Dr. J. Ellsworth Kalas.

    I will share this with my constituents.

  • Tina

    I really thought the first Episode was great my finacee is a believer but has no bible knowledge because he was not raised going to church so this is a visual learning experience for him about the bible and he asked me questions about it,When this series comes out on DVD we are gonna by it we DVR it until we can watch it together so i haven’t seen the second episode yet so yes i think this does help reach people who have no or little bible knowledge i have some bec i was raised going to church as a child i know some of the stories and i have never had the patience or can retain information such as memorizing the bible so its great for me too,all and all it does reach people so i think its been put together well so Kudos to the actors and the prouducers and history channel also the occurances on set are certainly not by chance God works in mysterious ways and maybe it even taught the actors that may not have had bible knowledge and believed u never know.So keep up the good work:)