I was supposed to talk to the producers, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, but got sidelined by the flu. Still, this interview was made available to me and has some interesting tidbits:
ROMA: Our faith is very important to us, and we both love the Bible. We love its stories of love and redemption and God’s heart and hope for his people. So Mark and I started talking over breakfast one morning about how someone really needed to bring this love story to the screen, to tell the overarching story of the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation. We were excited to be able to bring our combined talents and strengths, creativity and experience to the series, and we were both involved in all areas of making it. This was our first professional collaboration as husband and wife. We worked closely on this for three years, and we’re still speaking to each other!
Q: What’s unique about this adaptation of the The Bible?
MARK: There’s a tremendous legacy of depictions of the Bible, both on the big and small screen, from King of Kings and The Ten Commandments all the way through The Passion of The Christ. Our desire was to tell these unforgettable stories through the use of live action combined with state-of-the-art CGI techniques.
ROMA: We filmed in Morocco because we wanted the feel of the real locations in the Bible, and the landscape there provided it. We augmented that with CGI work in order to render as faithfully as humans can the miraculous power of God. Those who’ve seen parts of the series have been very gracious and complimentary about how the two approaches have meshed together.
How did you determine who to consult with on this, and will you talk a little about the writing process?
MARK: There is no shortage of people who know the Bible – chapter and verse – better than we do. That’s why we worked from the beginning with scholars, theologians and pastors of varying denominational stripes. With their help and guidance and the expertise of our team of writers, we pray we have captured the heart of the biblical stories that move and inspire so many.
ROMA: We don’t claim to be Bible teachers; that’s a role reserved for churches and pastors. We simply hope to be Bible illuminators, capturing the essence and inspiration of the Scriptures we love.
What new insights into your faith did you gain from this experience?
MARK: That the Bible is a love story. The story of God’s love for his people. We’re called to be instruments of that love on earth in the short time we’re here.
ROMA: We wrote some books as companions to the series – including a devotional that captures our thoughts and reflections about how making this series gave us a deeper appreciation for the Bible and for each other as husband and wife.
Was there an instance where you initially envisioned a certain angle to a segment, but when it was under way, you felt led to take a different approach?
ROMA: Whenever we faced a challenge of any kind on set, or any bit of uncertainty on how to proceed, we stopped to pray. We asked friends to pray. God answered those prayers.
MARK: This project started with prayer and was sustained by prayer.
What will your next project be?
MARK: What she said!