The Irish actress Roma Downey, who played the tender-hearted angel Monica in the hit TV series Touched By An Angel, can now be seen playing Mary the mother of Jesus in the new film Son of God. But her favorite role is being the movie’s producer, along with her husband Mark Burnett, and bringing the story of Jesus Christ to the big screen.
“It is very special for us to share God’s love with everyone through this powerful and inspiring movie for families and communities. We are deeply honored to breathe new visual life into this profound story,” says Roma. Son of God is the retelling of the story of Jesus using the Gospels for the narrative. The Twentieth Century Fox release has been warmly received drawing a miraculous $26 million at the box office on Oscar weekend, and remaining in the top five for its second weekend.
The idea for the film came when Downey and Burnett were in production on The Bible, the landmark miniseries for the History Channel that aired with spectacular ratings last year. Roma says, “We knew we had something very special with the Jesus narrative in the miniseries. And we responded to an overwhelming demand for the greatest story ever told to be seen as a shared experience on the big screen. The result is a beautiful stand-alone movie. It’s the story of Jesus for a whole new generation.”
An international cast is featured with the musical score by great composer Hans Zimmer. A Portuguese actor who played Jesus in The Bible miniseries stars in Son of God, Diogo Morgado. His appeal as a very “hot” looking Jesus is said to be fueling interest with younger audiences. But it has been faith-based organizations that bought out entire screenings in theaters for their members that seems to be the real power behind the movie’s success.
It’s great to see such genuine dedication to their faith in finding a big audience for their quality movie. But Roma and Mark are no strangers to success. Burnett is the producer of Survivor, The Voice, Celebrity Apprentice, and Shark Tank, among other hit TV shows. “We have many series currently on the air, but this is our most important production,” says Burnett, a man who was named one of Time magazine’s “World’s Most Influential People,” and TV Guide’s “Most Valuable Player.” His series have been nominated for 67 Emmys, and he has personally won four, along with four People’s Choice Awards.
Downey says, “Our prayer has always been that the dramatization of the Bible stories will drive viewers to go to the Bible itself and drink in the actual text, because it is a book that changes lives.” Roma is the co-executive producer of Son of God with Burnett, and says working together as a couple was a great joy.
Burnett and Downey will be working together again producing the series A.D., a sequel to The Bible series for NBC. And they acquired Alice Hoffman’s award winning novel “The Dovekeepers” to produce a historical miniseries for CBS.
Burnett says, “I strive to make every project I do special.” And Son of God has proven to be extra special.