Interview with the producers of The Bible mini-series
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are executive producers of the “The Bible” miniseries, which will premiered last night on HISTORY Channel. The episodes will bring to life the stories of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. The series begins March 3 and will run each Sunday for two hours before it concludes on March 31, Easter.
Daly served as one of the show’s script consultants. He said the series may “serve as a spark to rekindle or kindle” the faith of viewers who may have strayed from Scripture. “(That) should be a great source of excitement for all of us.”
“It will encourage audiences around the world to open or reopen their Bibles to understand and enjoy these stories,” the couple wrote in an article, “Why Public Schools Should Teach the Bible,” published Friday in The Wall Street Journal.”
The couple recently spoke with CitizenLink about the project and what they hope comes from it.
CitizenLink: Why did you make this series?
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!
Mark: The Bible is the most-read book of all time. It has touched the lives of billions of people across the planet and has significantly shaped history, culture, literature, art, politics and human behavior — and it continues to shape the world we live in today. You don’t have to believe the Bible to be affected by it.
Roma: What we have tried to do is tell the grand narrative of the Bible — in a way people haven’t seen before on television. It is a powerful, inspirational, moving book that deserves to be presented in a fresh way through powerful, inspirational and moving filmmaking.
CL: What makes this project unique?
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 (computer-generated imagery) 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.
CL: 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.
CL: How daunting a task was it to take on some of the Bible’s best-known stories from Genesis to Revelation?
Roma: This is a book thousands of pages long, written across centuries. And the more you study the stories, the more you realize the awe-inspiring, complex genius that went into weaving them all together. Remember, this is the book that inspired the greatest writers and artists across all history — Rembrandt, Michelangelo, Raphael, Caravaggio, Shakespeare — the list is endless. And now, technology has made it possible for us to visually bring that intricate and extraordinary genius to the screen. It was a giant undertaking, but one we were both excited by and humbled by.
Mark: Obviously we had a great team working with us across the series. Many talented writers, directors, designers and a terrific cast, all of whom contributed so much. To that I’d only add that we simply couldn’t have done this without the thousands of people who have prayed for “The Bible” and for us personally. Some of them we have been privileged to meet along the way; others have just felt led to ask God to bless this project. We are so grateful for all these prayers.
CL: What are your hopes for the series?
Roma: This will be a success for us if what comes through onscreen is what comes through on page after page of the Bible itself: God’s sacrificial love for the world.
Mark: We’ve been fortunate to be involved in some pretty successful TV shows: “Touched by an Angel,” “Survivor,” “The Voice,” “The Apprentice,” “Shark Tank.” But we know this Bible series will be seen by more people, all over the world and for years to come, than all the shows we’ve ever been involved with combined.
Roma: Our prayer is that the dramatization of these stories will drive viewers to go to the Bible itself and drink in the actual text, because it is a book that changes lives.