Los Angeles, Calif., Feb 15, 2014 / 16:06 pm
A new movie about Jesus Christ – to be released by the makers of the popular History Channel television miniseries "The Bible" – has drawn praise from several Catholic bishops and leaders.
"It is the biggest, greatest story ever told," said Roma Downey, a co-producer of "Son of God" who stars as Mary.
"The Story of the Son of God is one of the most-known stories in the history of the world," added her husband and co-producer Mark Burnett. "And yet it never gets old. And the way we have told it is very connective, very young, very gritty and real. You really feel connected and can see yourself as these characters."
The movie is based on the Bible and covers the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ. A 20-minute preview of the video is already being distributed by 20th Century Fox.
The full movie will be released Feb. 28 in English, Spanish and Korean. Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado will play the role of Jesus. Morgado said the role is "overwhelming."
Burnett said that teenagers and young people who see the movie are "absolutely connecting with the disciples" and realizing "they were just ordinary people."
"They did not know they were in the Bible, they were just leading ordinary lives," he said.
The movie was made in consultation with academics and faith leaders.
It has drawn praise from several Catholic leaders.
"It is a joy to watch this film bring alive the pages of the Gospel and help us see what those who lived at the time of Jesus experienced," said Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, D.C.
He said the movie helps individuals and families "be inspired all over again with the story of God's love for us."
Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles said the movie "gives us an opportunity to realize God's presence in our own lives."
"Each one of us is a son or daughter of God. It is a wonderful, awesome reality."
Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said the movie "will speak to your heart and nourish your soul."
"This is a film that does not simply tell you about Christ, but puts you in the midst of his life, allowing you to see firsthand his public ministry, his love for humanity, and the death he suffered that we might have life eternal."
Cardinal Wuerl has commissioned movie discussion guides and videos for Catholic churches and schools in his diocese. Both Archbishop Gomez and Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami are organizing showings of the movie.
In addition, some community leaders are organizing "Theater Take-overs" to show the movie on every screen in a multiplex. These private screenings will begin Feb. 27.
The movie's producers hope it will draw upon the success of "The Bible" miniseries, which drew around 11.7 million viewers for its finale at Easter 2013.
"When we were filming the Jesus narrative, we knew that we had something extraordinary," Downey said. "We over-shot everything in the hopes that we could put together a film, and that's what we've done."
Downey and Burnett said Feb. 13 they hope that the movie means "the story and message of Jesus Christ will reach tens of millions of people nationwide."
The movie's website is www.SonofGodMovie.com.