Published on 3 Apr 2014
Mark Burnett and Roma Downey are the producers of the new movie ‘Son of God’, a film they hope will reach millions with the story of Christ. In 2013, they released the mini-series ‘The Bible’, which aired on the History Channel, and became the number one new series on cable television. Mark and Roma are both well known in the entertainment industry. Mark has produced several hit television shows, including ‘Survivor’, ‘The Voice’ and ‘Shark Tank’. Roma is best known for her role in the television program ‘Touched by An Angel’. Mark and Roma have now created ‘Son of God Tour’’and it will be available for streaming on June 3, 2014. Go to http://www.sonofgodtour.com for more information.
Bobby Schuller (BS) interviews Mark and Roma on the Hour of Power.
Mark Burnett & Roma Downey
Written By Bobby Schuller
Mark Burnett (MB) and Roma Downey (RD) are the producers of the new movie “Son of God,” a film they hope will reach millions with the story of Christ. In 2013, they released the miniseries “The Bible” which aired on the History Channel, and became the number one new series on cable television. Mark and Roma are both well known in the entertainment industry. Mark has produced several hit television shows, including “Survivor, “The Voice” and “Shark Tank.” Roma is best known for her role in the television program “Touched by An Angel.” Mark and Roma have now created “Son of God Tour” and it will be available for streaming on June 3, 2014. Buy
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Mark Burnett (MB) and Roma Downey (RD) are the producers of the new movie “Son of God,” a film they hope will reach millions with the story of Christ. In 2013, they released the miniseries “The Bible” which aired on the History Channel, and became the number one new series on cable television. Mark and Roma are both well known in the entertainment industry. Mark has produced several hit television shows, including “Survivor, “The Voice” and “Shark Tank.” Roma is best known for her role in the television program “Touched by An Angel.” Mark and Roma have now created “Son of God Tour” and it will be available for streaming on June 3, 2014. Bobby Schuller (BS) interviews Mark and Roma.
BS: If you’ve ever seen “The Voice,” “Shark Tank,” or “Touched by an Angel,” you are in luck today because we have the real privilege of interviewing Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, who of course have been involved with both of these programs, and are now at the precipice of launching a new tour with their latest movie, “Son of God.”
Thank you for meeting with me today here at Saddleback Church. Mark and Roma, you both have had these incredible careers. How did you go from doing all of these television programs to doing the film “Son of God?” How did that happen?
MB: It all began with The Bible TV series, which aired in 2013. Of course many, many people in Hollywood told us we we’re completely crazy and that no one was going to watch The Bible on prime time television. Clearly, whoever said that was wrong. A hundred million Americans showed up for The Bible series, and in Canada, The Bible series beat hockey! So there you go.
BS: That’s amazing.
MB: That says everything, you need to know.
RD: It’s a miracle!
BS: Yes, that’s a true miracle.
RD: It was so amazing. You know “Son of God” began as a whisper in our hearts that became a prayer. We worked on this project together and it’s been such an epic journey; almost five years in the making.
While we were in Morocco making The Bible series and were watching the footage, and as the Jesus narrative began to unfold on the screen, I said to Mark, ‘I wish we had been making a movie. This is so beautiful.’
So we were able to cut together, adding additional footage that hadn’t appeared on the screen, and we created this beautiful stand-alone feature film which opened at the end of February and has touched millions of people’s lives. We’ve been so encouraged by the feedback of the number of people who have either fallen in love with Jesus all over again or have had an opportunity to discover him for the first time.
MB: There have been many, many stories we have heard, but a certain one comes to mind. It was maybe six weeks ago at a pre-screening of the movie we met a woman from Asia from eastern religion who watched “Son of God.” And she came to us afterwards and said, ‘you know Mark and Roma, I always thought Jesus was a western myth but having seen “Son of God,” I want to find out more about this Jesus.’ And we looked at each other and thought this is exactly why we made this movie.
MB: And there are thousands of other testimonials.
RD: It has been amazing. We had one mother who reached out to us and said that she couldn’t get her 17-year-old son to go to church. She said the past few months always turned into a big fight every Sunday morning.
So she said to him, ‘well maybe you’d come to the movies with me?’ He went to the movies with her on a Saturday evening, and she said somewhere around the middle of the movie he just started to cry, like his heart just blasted open and grace moved in. She said he cried the whole way through the end of the movie, he cried the whole way home, and the next morning, Sunday morning, he was waiting for her in the car.
BS: Wow, what a wonderful story. And of course there are so many people who want to communicate Jesus in a fresh way and this movie is a way to do that.
But what about non religious people? Are you hearing from people that say ‘I didn’t really grow up in church; I don’t really have the best thoughts about Jesus.’ Are you hearing from these types of people who saw “Son of God” and how are they responding?
MB: Well I think after being in Hollywood for so many years with, as you listed, a lot of hit shows; we’ve made thousands of hours of family prime time TV, and our shows are currently airing in 70 countries, so we understand audiences. And we knew that as Christians, making a sermon as a movie would not work; secular audiences will reject it. And clearly our main goal was to reach people who didn’t know Jesus. Therefore, we had to make a dramatic film and we made a political thriller with the gospel wrapped in it. If you never heard of Jesus or the bible, you’d go and see this movie, and you’d enjoy the movie, but ideally you’d want to find out more.
BS: So what’s it like being Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, and working together as a married couple in Hollywood?
MB: They call me Mr. Downey!
BS: And of course you are on tour now. You’re going from church to church, showcasing not just the movie, but you’ve incorporated a musical element to all of this.
MB: Yes, we have a great tour with Sidewalk Prophets, Chris August, Francesca Battistelli, Meredith Andrews, Natalie Grant and Jason Gray.
RD: It launches tonight. I mean here we are at Saddleback, which is like home from home for us. We love it here. We love Pastor Rick and Kay. They’re our dearest, dearest friends. And you know the idea for this tour really was nurtured here, so I think it’s very fitting that it would be at Saddleback that we would experience the world premier of this tour.
This tour brings together visual elements from The Bible series and from the “Son of God” movie, with live performances by these terrific actors to create this really immersive experience, a really emotional experience as you follow the life of Christ through music and live performance. It’s sold out across the country but for anybody that missed it, there’s a fantastic opportunity to stream it on June 3rd. You can go to sonofgodtour.com and get all the information of how to download that.
BS: So you’re asking churches, communities and small groups to get together and be a part of this simulcast. What’s going to happen on June 3rd? What are they going to see?
MB: On June 3rd they’re going to see an epic music and visual experience. You know, obviously we loved making The Bible series. I mean globally people are watching The Bible. It even went number one in Hong Kong. Then we made “Son of God” the movie which also went global. But we also wanted something that was an actual tangible experience for Christians. To take this multi-million dollar footage from the film and the series, and add it to incredible Christian music and make an experience for people to actually be there in community and enjoy it.
You know earlier you asked me off set, yes, we are the noisiest Christians in Hollywood. We know that. And I’m sure people are saying to me oh now he’s growing a beard, he’s in this whole disciple phase. But listen, we are proud to be Christians. We are very grateful for our faith. We are very happy to be noisy about it. And, we’re glad that we’ve made a show, a movie and a tour that are touching people nationwide. What we really hope is that what we are doing is encouraging a whole new generation of TV producers, film makers, tour producers and musicians to go out there and enrich people.
RD: This concert was inspired by an album, which was inspired by the movie, which was inspired by the series, which was inspired by the Holy Spirit. So you know we’re all connected and music is just such a great way to experience spirit. We all love worship. This is some of the coolest, greatest Christian music, and to see it in harmony with this footage, to be able to experience it in community, to be able to sing along and stand up and cheer, that’s something really special.
BS: That is special. As I listen to you, I am thinking “Son of God” is really a movement, isn’t it. I mean as I’m hearing you talk about this tour and the music and all of these things you are doing, I’m thinking how can I get behind this and help it, and I imagine that many of our viewers are thinking the same thing. If they want to support, like get behind what you’re doing, how can they follow you and tell their friends about you?
MB: We’re grateful for you to say that and where you said “Son of God” is a movement, I was thinking, yes, its 2000 years old!
BS: Yes! That’s right!
MB: It’s kind of working.
BS: Yes, it’s been working!
MB: As this spreads, our faith spreads more so through Asia, and across the Middle East and back to Jerusalem.
RD: I think that there’s such a potential for the visual arts to touch people in a way; it brings aliveness to the stories of our bible and it can bring a visual aliveness to our faith. And then countries maybe where they haven’t had an opportunity to go to church, or they haven’t had an opportunity to read a bible but somewhere, someone will be able to download a movie, or this concert, or the series, and it will awaken something in them. It will bring them to the Lord, and that’s really something that we are so encouraged by.
When we were out doing press for “Son of God” the movie, we had one interviewer ask us if we had a hidden agenda to evangelize. And I said to him, “No, it’s not hidden at all.”
BS: That’s great! Roma Downey, Mark Burnett, thank you so much for your time today. Wishing you the best of luck and many blessings as you begin this awesome tour with great music. We appreciate you both as a brother and sister of Christ, making a big difference for the world with positive Christianity. That’s a great thing and we love it. Thank you so much.
RD: Thank you.
BS: For more information on the streaming of “Son of God Tour,” go to http://www.sonofgodtour.com. I also encourage you to go see “Son of God” the movie. Take your family, take your friends. If you have someone that says ‘this Jesus thing is just not for me,’ take him out to dinner and go see “Son of God.” It’ll be a great thing.
“The Bible isn’t just about stories from history… it’s a guide to our future(s).”
Also see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ode1-sX9bWY
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