The filmmakers behind the new biblical television series The Chosen have said they hope it helps strengthen the faith of viewers.
It’s already done that with one of the lead actors.
Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in all eight episodes, told Christian Headlines his faith has grown since he started working on the project. “It’s deepened my faith very intensely,” Roumie said. “And I think part of that is because I’ve been spending so much time with the character in prayer and with Christ. It’s something that has greatly impacted it in a very positive way.”
The series, which can be viewed on The Chosen app, launched in 2019 following the largest crowdfunding media campaign in history, with more than $10 million raised for 16,000-plus individuals.
Director and writer Dallas Jenkins picked Roumie for the role because the two had worked well together on a 2014 project, The Two Thieves. Roumie also played Jesus in that short film.
“The way [Jenkins] writes the scripts and approaches the [biblical] character in a fresh way kind of gives the rest of us a little more license to bring our own humanity to it in a way that hasn’t been seen before,” Roumie said.
Roumie acknowledged the difference in playing a standard character and playing someone who is the “Son of God and also human.” He prepared for his role in The Chosen, he said, with “a lot of research” that included reading the gospels and other historical accounts.
“Mostly though, [I] relied on prayer and trust and faith in God – to use this role as a vehicle to bring the Spirit to people,” Roumie said. “I just try to get out of the way.”
Roumie said he’s able to watch The Chosen without critiquing his work.
“There are times of course, I think in every actor’s career where they felt, ‘I wish they used a different take.’ But with The Chosen, I’m able to watch the show and enjoy it rather objectively, because it doesn’t seem like it’s me [on the screen]. I can watch it and be impacted emotionally by certain scenes,” he said.
“It’s as if I’m not watching myself – which is really nice. That usually doesn’t happen. All I can do is credit the Holy Spirit with moving through this project in a way to touch people on a deeply spiritual level, and to really ignite their own faith and curiosity.”
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, TheChristian Post, TheLeaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.