When I first learned that a film featuring the life of Jesus was about to debut on the big screen, my team at 4word and I wondered about the quality and how Jesus would be portrayed. It is with great relief that not only does Son of God include great biblical accuracy, but the role of Jesus was cast with much prayer, thought, and planning. It is a film that we have been highly recommending to everyone we encounter! Today, we're thrilled to share with Today's Christian Woman readers this interview from producer of Son of God, Roma Downey.
Why did you and Mark choose to create this film?
We wanted people to fall in love with Jesus. To experience his kindness, compassion, sacrifice and love in a fresh and tangible way. I fell in love with Jesus when I was a little girl—just 10 years old. My mom had died suddenly and it destroyed my world. But it was in that loneliness and emptiness that I found Jesus—or, more accurately, that he found me.
My life has not been the same since—trials still come, but he never leaves my side and helps me through them. He loves me deeply and unconditionally and forever. And working on this movie constantly rekindled my love for him. In the midst of the challenges, stress, and busyness, Jesus' warmth and peace and joy were, as it says in the Bible, "an ever-present comfort" to me. I pray everyone who sees the film has the same experience.
What challenges were presented during filming?
The biggest challenge was finding the right cast, especially the role of Jesus. The actor for Jesus had to look strong like a carpenter because even though he is described as "meek," the word "meek" does not mean weak. He needed to be shown with the human strength of a manual worker but with the compassion and love of the Son of God. He needed to be able to portray "the Lion and the Lamb," as Scripture says. And, after much prayer, we found Diogo Morgado, whose portrayal is absolutely stunning.
You also play Mary in the film. How has playing her role impacted you spiritually?
It was such a privilege to step into that role. I can't begin to imagine what Mary must have been feeling on that Jerusalem road when she witnessed Jesus falling carrying the Cross, and then standing at the foot of the Cross. I know that, while she was the mother of the Son of God, she was also the mother of a son. So I tried to bring a mother's heart to the role.
How did you manage to juggle producing and acting in Son of God, along with your family life and faith?
It helped, of course, that Mark and I did this film together. There weren't long periods of time that passed when we weren't together. It was a little tougher with our children because we did have to be away weeks at a time on occasion. But we were able to get through it because faith is an important part of our family life, and working on a project like Son of God, rooted so deeply in the Bible, kept us all focused on the higher purpose we felt called to in making the movie. When you feel as though you are walking out God's will for your life—that you are doing his work in making the movie—it brings a tremendous sense of peace.
What is the takeaway message that you want the audience to hear from Son of God?
Jesus loves you. He wants a personal relationship with you. Will you follow Him?
This interview first appeared on 4wordwomen.org and is used by permission of 4word and Roma Downey.