So, that said, the technicalities of getting to try to recreate walking on water, which is like being a kid again, you’re like, “Wow.” It's kind of mind-blowing. There was this conversation after Episode 8 that I have with Dallas [Jenkins, creator and director], and I think they show the before and after with the effects specifically of the walking on water and it’s extraordinary the amount of work that goes into making this look real and feel real. Hopefully when you’re watching the show you’re not thinking about any of that — you’re just caught up in this story of, in this case, Peter’s deep hurt over what he’s seen over the course of the last few episodes and his relationship with Christ and how does that get played out? How does Christ meet him? Where does he meet him? Why does he meet him where he meets him? What happens at this moment where he’s reaching out to him in the water? And so we kind of give it this other context that I think has such an emotional impact, and I think it gives people an opportunity to understand more deeply that these people were humans. They were as human as you or I. Jesus was as human as any of us, minus the sin, of course, but he experienced our humanity and what we’re trying to offer up is a framework for what that humanity on a day-to-day might have looked like amidst these giant miracles. Looking at 5,000 people in front of you while these disciples are carrying baskets of food, you get overwhelmed. You’re like, “This is what it would have looked like.” It’s overwhelming. It’s emotionally overwhelming and beautiful.
How is your own faith impacted when portraying these incredible moments from the Bible?
It just connects me to the moments more. It connects me more to Scripture more deeply. It connects me to Christ. It makes me want to know him more deeply and try to be a better steward of his grace and to try to discern his will from me on a day-to-day basis with the level of clarity that even a couple of years ago I couldn’t have had. So, it’s been an honor.
Well, you do a great job. I saw your speech at the March for Life. Can you tell me more about that and, in a sense, publicly coming out as being pro-life because I know you said in your speech it was a hard decision for you.
Career killer. No, I am 100% joking. It doesn’t have any effect on my career because that’s what God asked me to do. I didn’t want to do it. I said that briefly in the rally speech and then I talked about it at length at the Rose dinner. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to dip my toe into that pool. I thought “What’s going to happen?” And it was like worst-case scenarios in my mind and that was the fear talking and that was the enemy trying to get in my head. And even the people that I had asked counsel to about this, and rightly so, were like, “Well, maybe it’s not the best thing to do professionally,” which they wouldn’t be wrong, but personally I had to put that aside and I had to deal with, personally and spiritually, what was the best thing to do. And when I got the call from upstairs to do it and to talk about the thing that I was trying to talk around, it was a surrender moment for me and the thing just started to write itself and I just couldn’t help myself. And with some insights as to who the audience was going to be, I was able to make some tweaks, literally like hours before, and it seemed to reach a lot of people. So I think it was the right thing for me to do. It was an uncomfortable thing for me to do. But, as usual, God’s got my back and he’s walking me through every moment that I do something that feels a little unusual for me. And it ends up being much better than I ever could have imagined — a much better decision than I ever could have predicted.
It was beautiful and thank you for doing it. My last question is about the Lent Pray40, which is your latest prayer challenge with Hallow. Can you tell us more about that?
Oh man, it’s going to be awesome. Jim Caviezel and myself are going to be taking turns reading “The Imitation of Christ” over the 40 days. It’s the most widely read book after the Bible itself. There’ll be other guests as well that are going to be doing these different facets of the challenge. Mark Wahlberg’s going to be doing, every Friday, a fasting challenge. There’s a couple of other special guests that are coming out to participate as well in ways that I think are going to be so fulfilling and healing for people. I can’t wait for people to get into it. It’s been one of the most powerful meditations that I’ve ever been able to participate in narrating, and I was affected as I was reading it. I had to stop a couple of times and just collect myself. So I think it’s going to be a super powerful way for people to connect to Christ this Lent. I can’t encourage people enough to join it fast enough. It has the potential to change your life.
Francesca is the Social Media Manager for Catholic News Agency. She received her degree in Communications with an emphasis in Digital Media from the University of Colorado - Denver.