Last year, the mini series The Bible, produced record breaking results. Now, husband and wife producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey aim to set records again with their feature film, Son of God. Set to open on Friday, this is the first time a film about the life of Jesus will be in theaters since the Passion of the Christ ten years ago. We were able to speak with Roma about the film and the passion that led her and Mark to undertake the endeavor.
4word: Why did you and Mark choose to create this film?
Roma: The simplest way I can put it is 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 little girl – just 10 years old. My mom died suddenly and it just 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.
Working on this movie constantly rekindles my love for Him. In the midst of the challenges, the stresses and the busyness, His warmth, peace and joy are, as it says in the Bible, “an ever-present comfort” to me. I pray everyone who sees the film has the same experience.
4word: What challenges were presented during filming?
Roma: The biggest challenge was finding the right cast, especially the role of Jesus. He had to look strong like a carpenter, because even though he is described as “meek,” “meek” is not “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 needs 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.
4word: You also play Mary in the film. How has playing her role impacted you spiritually?
Roma: 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 with 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 as an actor to bring a mother’s heart to the role.
4word: How did you manage to juggle producing and acting in Son of God, along with your family life and faith?
Roma: 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 we were doing His work in making the movie – it brings a tremendous sense of peace.
4word: What is the takeaway message that you want the audience to hear from Son of God?
Roma: Jesus loves you. He wants a personal relationship with you. Will you follow Him?
Have you made plans to see Son of God yet? Click here for more information about the film, along with showtimes and ticket information. Join 4word women across the country as show our support for the film this opening weekend! Be a part of the movement with us and invite your friends!