'The Bible' Crucifixion Scenes Brought 48 Snakes and a Life-Changing Experience for Diogo Morgado
Yahoo TV! - The star who plays Jesus on the History's miniseries says, "I just saw my whole life in a flashback in front of my eyes" while filming.
Burnett and Morgado also talked to Yahoo! TV about what else viewers will see in the Sunday finale of the miniseries, why they think millions of viewers continue to tune in to "The Bible," and what projects they're tackling next.
Diogo, how did you approach the crucifixion scenes? Did you watch how the crucifixion was portrayed in other movies and TV shows before you started filming?
Morgado: No, I didn't watch anything else before we starting filming. Our goal was always to try to go into the emotional perspective more than the visual and graphical perspective. So in that scene specifically we tried to bring something different in terms of emotions … we try to establish the relationship between Mother Mary and Jesus Christ in that scene. Obviously it's painful, a really painful thing to watch, and hopefully it will touch people's hearts.
Burnett: Very few films or television series ever deal with what happens after the crucifixion. They just sort of nod to it. We have an entire hour on the resurrection, and I think nobody's ever seen someone do Pentecost the way we've done it, after Jesus ascends, and he tells the Apostles that the Holy Spirit will come to them. And they're waiting. And on the Feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit comes in to the disciples in the upper room and starts to speak in all different languages.
The series has been a huge hit, obviously -- tens of millions of people have already watched the episodes going into the final two hours. What do you think is the main reason why people have been drawn to "The Bible"?
Burnett: Clearly there are a lot of people in the country in need of hope. No question about that, right? And I think ["The Bible"] has given people permission to openly talk about God and the Bible. Even if they're disagreeing, they're talking about it. I have three teenagers. One's in college, and some of his friends, who are really, really highly educated, one of them was saying, 'Who are Samson and Delilah?' And I thought he was kidding. I made sort of a joke. I said, 'Now, do you know the name of the child that Mary…' Everybody started laughing, because everyone knows that's Jesus. But I realized a lot of young, very educated people just don't know the stories. There are plenty of examples where people just don't know Samson and Delilah, David and Goliath … but you only would know it if you had been exposed to it. And that was one of the main reasons we released the series on iTunes. We hesitated about it at first, but a lot of people don't have access to cable, and they wanted to see the series.
Burnett: Our kids are teenagers, 15, 16, 19. They're used to all of the big movies like 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit,' and when we left for the production in Morocco, they said, 'Whatever you do, don't let the special effects be lame.' We laughed, and they said, 'No, we're serious.' We really focused on that, and it was gratifying when those same kids, the 15-year-old and the 16-year-old, took parts of the series into their high school and screened it for the entire high school.
The DVD and Blu-ray of "The Bible" will be released on April 2; do you have any other plans for the series? A "sequel" to tell some of the stories you had to leave out of this series, maybe?
Burnett: One thing we're talking to History about right now is, there's such a demand for this series, we're looking at going right back in, opening the entire series up and having experts like Bishop [T.D.] Jakes, [Rev.] Sam Rodriguez, and Rick Warren comment on the stories. Like, unlocking it, because it would expand it, and explain what's missing and what else there is. The History Channel is very used to that on their series; they normally would have people talking. We made this as a drama, but we were talking today about this. I think that will happen.
Morgado: Mark is like, he's a raging spirit. Just like … he's always, he's like a volcano. He's always thinking and projecting. So I know that he has a couple of things up his sleeve, and he mentioned something about me, but nothing is definitive yet.
You have a couple of movies -- "Red Butterfly" and "Born to Race: Fast Track" -- coming up, but where do you go after playing Jesus and earning such positive feedback for your performance? That's a tough role to top.
Morgado: I don't make plans in my life about what I'm going to do next. I just live day by day, grateful to be alive and doing what I love to do. I'm just enjoying the moment. And I mean, whatever comes, it will come. Probably in the next month I'm going to be learning Chinese for a Chinese production. But I've never … when I started acting when I was 15, I took six years to decide that acting was what I wanted to do with my life. So this can tell you what a nonplanning man I am (laughing).
Are you interested in doing more TV work? You've been in Los Angeles for pilot season. Do you hope to do a series?