Jesus is Portuguese…in History Channel’s Bible mini-series
It turns out Jesus is Portuguese, after all.
Thanks to his divine role in the epic 10-hour “The Bible” TV series on the History Channel, Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado could be about to make it big in America.
Diogo plays Jesus in the five-part miniseries capturing record-breaking ratings. The 33-year-old actor known in this region for his starring roles on the soap operas “Vingança” and “Laços de Sangue” broadcast on Portuguese channels offered by local cable companies, is expected to join the cast this Sunday as The Bible gets into the New Testament.
Earlier this month, Diogo appeared before thousands at the National Religious Broadcaster Convention saying he was not only challenged by the role, but was humbled for being selected for the part.
“How can you play the Son of God? You can’t,” he told the crowd, according to the Christian Post. “What I had the privilege of playing was simply the words of Christ and taking the journey of the scriptures.”
Diogo also admitted that at first he was “scared” and “went to the place where everything [Biblical] supposedly happened and got involved with this energy.”
“The opportunity to participate in this project made me go back to my spirituality and communion with God,” he told the Christian Post.
The miniseries retells stories from the Scriptures, from Genesis through Revelation. It is the brainchild of British-born producer Mark Burnett, known for his work on Survivor and Celebrity Apprentice, and his wife, actress Roma Downey, who portrays and older Mary, mother of Jesus, in the series.
In a recent interview Downey gave to TV Guide, she said a lot of prayers went into finding Morgado.
“We needed both a lion and a lamb, an actor who was charismatic and physically strong yet humble and gentle,” she said. “When we saw him walking up the pathway to our house, we knew we’d found our Jesus. Most young actors today have a swagger. Diogo has a wonderful humility, a stillness. He is the heartbeat of our piece.”
The Bible was filmed in Morocco last year. Taping began during the cold month of February and ended in scorching July.
“We wanted it to be gritty and authentic,” Downey told the Associated Press. “We didn’t want it to look like somebody had just stepped out of the dry cleaners.”
It appears the couple actually did not have to worry too much to keep certain things authentic, as God also played an important role, according to Burnett.
The producer told England’s The Mail that “The hand of God was on this,” since the filming was marked by mysterious omens, including a sudden swarm of snakes around the base of the cross Jesus was to be crucified, and a boy emerging from the desert with part of Christ’s costume, which has been lost for days.
According to the Associated Press, the airing of The Bible on the History Channel is just the beginning for this project. After being broadcast on History, the episodes are repeated on the Lifetime Channele each week. The miniseries is also expected to be released internationally, with Portugal’s newspaper Publico reporting it will debut on March 28 on the SIC channel.
The series’ scripts have been compiled into a book, and plans are also in the works to adapt The Bible into a feature movie.
The series airs on History at 8 p.m. Previous episodes are available On Demand. The finale airs on Easter Sunday.
As for Morgado, you can expect to see him play Joseph on the big screen next year, co-staring with Al Pacino in the motion picture “Mary, Mother of Christ”… if not sooner, if his career gets a big boost in America thanks to The Bible.