The Bible: Why I’ll Be Watching the Burnett/Downey Miniseries

The Bible Miniseries

I’m not usually a huge television watcher, but there is one show that’s a “don’t miss” for me: Survivor. I’ve daydreamed about getting voted off the island for years and even have my strategy all worked out for floating under the radar to ensure myself a jury position. When Jeff Probst comes calling, I’m ready to drop everything, grab my old-lady bathing suit, and go. As best I can remember, I’ve never seen a contestant whose bio read “Catholic Mom”.

So why is my DVR all set to watch the new miniseries The Bible when it debuts on The History Channel on March 3rd? Along with my obvious love of the subject matter, I’ll say two words: Mark Burnett. Mark is the creator and producer of Survivor (along with his many other television credits). The Bible is a joint production effort between Burnett and his wife Roma Downey (of Touched by an Angel fame), who plays Mary in the miniseries.

I’m intrigued by this extended video trailer, which looks to capture some of the scope, drama and grandeur of the Bible. I’m frankly also curious how Downey will play Mary — her version could be troublesome for Catholics, but her work has shown a consistently spiritual bent and many press accounts have listed Roma as a devout Catholic. One hint at that: in the production notes (below), we see Downey cast as “Mother Mary”, instead of “Blessed Virgin Mary”. The production notes do list the Angel Gabriel’s visit to virgin Mary as one of the scenes in the series. In addition, Diogo Morgado as Jesus looks pretty awesome in the trailers. I personally have great hopes for Roma Downey’s sensitive, strong and faithful portrayal of the Blessed Mother, but since I haven’t seen the series yet, I’m just speculating. It would be terrific to have an entertaining, thoughtful and relatively accurate biblical depiction to share with our children — so many of us (of a certain age) recall being toted off on Catholic school field trips to see The Ten Commandments once a year each Lenten season.

So I’ll be watching. And hey Jeff and Mark, just in case you’re reading this, have your people call my people as soon as you’re ready for me on the Island.

Video Link

Production Notes

The Bible is a ten hour mini series spanning Genesis to Revelation. Covering the following stories:

Adam and Eve Cain and Able Noah and the Ark Abraham
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah The sacrifice of Isaac
Moses and the burning bush
The parting of the Red Sea
The 10 commandments
Joshua and the walls of Jericho
Samson and Delilah
Samuel anointing Samuel as King of Israel
David defeating Goliath
David as King of Israel
The prophet Jeremiah
Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians conquering Jerusalem Daniel in the Lion’s Den
King Cyrus freeing the Israelites
The Angel Gabriel visits the virgin Mary
The Nativity
John the Baptist
Jesus tempted in the desert by Satan
Jesus meets Peter
The miracles and mission of Jesus
The feeding of the 5,000
Jesus confronts the money lenders
The last supper
Judas’ Betrayal of Jesus The Crucifixion
The Resurrection Pentecost
The blinding of Paul

LightWorkers Media and Hearst Productions in association with History Channel present the epic miniseries The Bible. A ten hour mini series premiering March 3, 2013. Executive Produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey along with Richard Bedser. Starring Roma Downey as Mother Mary, Diogo Morgado as Jesus, David Rintoul as Noah, William Houston as Moses, Amber Rose Revah as Mary Magdelene, and Greg Hicks as Pontius Pilate. Directed by Crispin Reece, Tony Mitchell and Christopher Spencer. Written by Nic Young. Co- Producer Annie Macnee. Associated Produced by Alex Marengo and Michael Waterhouse. Directors of Photographer are Chris Titus King and Rob Goldie. Music by Hans Zimmer and Lorne Balfe.

The Executive Producers

Mark Burnett:

Mark Burnett is a four time Emmy Award winner who has produced over 1,200 hours of television programming which regularly airs in over 70 countries worldwide. His current network series include “Survivor” (CBS), “The Voice” (NBC), “The Celebrity Apprentice” (NBC), “Shark Tank” (ABC), and the upcoming “The Job” (CBS). In last 12 months Burnett series have won their time slots on 5 nights of television in the same week.

Burnett is one of very few producers to have had a renewed series on each of the four major networks. He also has a strong presence in award show franchises, having produced the “MTV Movie Awards” from 2007 to 2011, the annual “People’s Choice Awards” since 2010, the “Video Game Awards” (Spike) and the 2011″Primetime Emmy Awards.”

Mr. Burnett has been named one of the world’s most influential people by TIME Magazine and also listed as TV Guide’s most valuable player. He has won BRANDWEEK’S Marketer of the Year Award, The Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, the PGA Norman Lear Award and the prestigious ROSE D’OR FRAPA Format Award. Burnett was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame and was honored in 2010 with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

He served two elected terms on the Board of Directors for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Los Angeles.

Roma Downey:

A celebrated, Emmy-nominated actress Roma Downey is best known for her nine seasons as the tender-hearted angel on the hit CBS show Touched by an Angel.

Roma starred in over 200 episodes and her work as the compassionate angel inspired millions of people around the world and earned Roma multiple best actress nominations for Emmy’s and Golden Globe awards.

Born in Ireland and classically trained in London Ms Downey has performed on stage with the famed Abbey Theatre Company and has appeared both on and off Broadway. She played the leading role of Jackie Kennedy Onassis in the Emmy award winning six hour mini series for NBC called “A Woman Named Jackie.”

Ms Downey not only starred in, but executive produced seven television movies for The CBS network, among them “Borrowed Hearts” with Eric Mc Cormack and “Second Honeymoon” with Tim Matheson.

She is the executive producer of the children’s DVD and book series “Little Angels” and its companion “Little Angels Storybook Bible.”

Ms Downey and Mr Burnett have co-authored a companion book to The Bible series ‘A Story of God and all of Us.’ The book is to be published Spring 2013 by Faith Words.

For many years Ms Downey has been a spokesperson for “Operation Smile” a volunteer organization that brings free surgeries to children around the globe with facial deformities. She has travelled to third world and developing countries making fund raising films on their behalf.

Statement from Executive Producers:

In the spring of 2011 we began work on this ten-hour television mini- series: The Bible. It would begin with the Book of Genesis and end with the Book of revelation. As you can imagine, we were immediately faced with a massive creative challenge: how do we tell this story? More specifically: how do we transform a sacred narrative that spans thousands of years and features hundreds of individual stories into just ten hours of television?

We had one of two choices: either select dozens of short summaries and tell many brief stories; or, choose fewer characters and stories but make a much deeper emotional connection.

We went with the second choice.

So we began the TV scripts, written by a team of writers under the guidance of many theologians, advisors, and biblical experts. Their combined expertise brought forth vivid spiritual and historical images.

About the Production

The Bible was shot on location in Ouarzazate, Morocco from February to July of 2012. Containing over 400 people, the crew was international from the UK, South Africa, the US and local Morocco. Casting was conducted out of London and Morocco. Post-production was completed at Molinaire in London.

About the Cast

Roma Downey – Mother Mary
Irish born, Downey made her Broadway debut opposite Rex Harrison, has performed with the New York Shakespeare Company and The Irish Abbey Theatre. She starred as Jackie Onassis in the award winning mini series, ‘A Woman named Jackie.’ Starring for ten years in her role as ‘Monica’ on the hit TV series, ‘Touched By An Angel’ she received TV Guides’ ‘Most Favorite Actress of Television’ award and multiple nominations for Emmys and Golden Globes

Diogo Morgado – Jesus
Born in Portugal, Morgado is a huge star in Portugal, Spain and Brazil. Starring in many successful TV series in all three countries. He portrayed Oliverio Salazar in the Portuguese TV Series, A Vida Privida de Salazar

Sean Teale – Young Ramses
Teale starred in the popular long running British TV series, Skins.

David Rintoul – Noah
Our Noah has starred in such films as The Iron Lady, My Week with Marilyn and the long running TV series, Doctor Finlay

Amber Rose Revah – Mary Magdalene
Revah has starred in the TV series, Borgias. Has starred in such films as The Devil’s Double and From Paris with Love

Simon Kunz – Nicodemus
Kunz made his film debut in Four Weddings and a Funeral and has not stopped since. Starring as the lovable ‘Martin the butler’ in The Parent Trap and in Woody Allen’s Match Point.

Paul Marc Davis – Simon the Pharisee
Davis appeared in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Andrew Brooke – Antonius
Brooke has starred in long running UK hit TV show, Phoneshop and has appeared in such films as Sherlock Holmes, Children of Men, and The Bank Job

Raad Rawi – Jeremiah
Rawi has starred in such film as Conan the Barbarian, The Devil’s Double, Green Zone and the Television series, The Tudors

Peter Guinness – Nebuchadnezzar
Peter Guinness is not only an accomplished British theatre actor but has starred in such films as Sleepy Hollow, Centurion and has starred in Dr. Who

Gerald Kyd – Cyrus
An accomplished British stage actor, starred as Trigoirn in The Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Seagull. Kyd has also starred in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life and The Defender

Jake Canuso – Daniel
Jake has starred in such films as Driver and Nine

Daniel Percival – John the Baptist
A graduate from Royal Academy Dramatic of Arts, Percival has played Moses in the film Exodus and has starred in such TV shows as Vital Signs and The Golden Hour

Sam Douglas – Herod
An American actor who has been in such films as The Fifth Element, Eyes Wide Shut, Perfume and Colombiana

Greg Hicks – Pontious Pilate
One of the UK’s best known Shakespearean actors, Hicks has been a member of The Royal Shakespeare Company since 1976. Nominated for the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in the category ‘Best Actor of 2003’ for his performance in Coriolanus at the Old Vic and was awarded the 2003 Critic’s Circle Theatre Award for Best Shakespearian Performance in the same role

Francis Magee – Saul
An Irish actor who has starred in Game of Thrones, Layer Cake, Sahara and popular UK kid’s series “ The House of Anubis”

Nonso Anozie – Samson
Anozie has starred in such films as The Grey, Conan the Barbarian, Atonement and is in the current season of Game of Thrones

Paul Freeman – Samuel
George Lucas chose Freeman to star as René Belloq in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Freeman has starred in many shows at the National Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK

Dhaffer L’ Abidine – Uriah
Born in Tunisia, L’Abidine credits include: Sex and the City 2 and Children of Men

Langley Kirkwood – David
Kirkwood was born in South Africa. He is an Iron Man and has been in such films as: Invictus and Endgame

Melia Kreiling – Bathsheba
Kreiling was born in Switzerland, raised in Greece and now a working actress in London. She played Bianca on The Borgias

Adrian Schiller – Caiphas
Schiller is an accomplished British theatre actor, performing Julius Ceaser, As You like it, Romeo and Juliet, Measure for Measure and many more with The Royal Shakespeare Company and The Veil, The Hour We Knew nothing of Each Other at The National. He has also starred in Dr. Who

Kierston Wareing – Delilah
Wareing is a UK based actress with such film credits as, Fish Tank and The Holding. Her TV credits include, The Shadow Line, Luther and Inside Men

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