On August 11, 2021, the actor and Catholic: Jonathan Roumie, who plays Jesus in the TV – Internet series and global phenomenon “The Chosen” met Pope Francis at his weekly Wednesday audience at the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall. Roumie said that it was a lifelong dream of his to meet the Pope. The actor spoke in Spanish and asked Francis to pray for him as he continues to portray Jesus, and he said Francis’ eyes “kind of lit up when I said that”. Dallas Jenkins the creator, director and co-writer of the series was also there and he told Francis “I’m a Protestant, but I’m making a show about Jesus that people of all faiths appreciate.” Pope Francis responded by pointing to Roumie and said: “Is he Jesus? Jenkins said “yes” and Francis
asked “Are you Judas?’ Jenkins said “no, no, no,” and they laughed. Jenkins has said that “Apparently ‘The Chosen” has become popular in the Catholic Church and at the Vatican.” The crew of “The Chosen” while visiting Rome were able to visit historic churches containing relics of the apostles as well as St. Mary Magdalene’s foot, St. John the Baptist’s head, and the tombs of the apostles St. James the Lesser and St. Philip. Actor Roumie was able to climb on his knees the Holy Stairs that had been brought to Rome in the fourth century and which are believed to be the stairs used by Christ on the day of his trial and death. The actor said the experiences were “just overwhelming.” “The Chosen” is the first multi-season TV series about the life of Jesus Christ and the No. 1 crowd-funded media project in history, with 19,000 people investing a total of $11 million to make the first season, and the second season was fully funded with over $12 million raised from 125,000 people. There are people all over the world that have watched the show and felt so moved by it that they are paying it forward so that other people are able to watch. As of June, 2021 the viewer count was 194 million people. It is an episode-based story and each episode brings to life the times and places where Jesus lived, walked and worked through the eyes of those who met him. It also shows Jesus in a more personal, intimate and immediate way. It stays faithful to the Bible but also creates some backstories around the Bible. As Jenkins put it, “they are trying to build a show around the Bible and tell stories that we
think are compelling.” The first season introduces Jesus and the calling of his initial disciples. The second season focuses on the beginning of his public ministry and what happens as word begins to spread. The production team is currently preparing for a third season of filming and they are hoping for a total of seven seasons. There is a biblical advisory council made up of representative of various faiths that help guide some of the wording used in the series in order to avoid offending religious sensitivities, but it is Jenkins’ creative vison which is making the series a success. Viewers have commented that the production is amazing, the quality of the scripts, the acting and the sets are as good as from Hollywood. People have expressed their gratitude from every corner of the world because they somehow came across this show. The first season of the series is available worldwide via The Chosen app, BYUtv, Pureflix, Peacock, iTunes, Amazon , Google Play, and Vid Angel with DVDs/Blue-rays in Walmart stores nationally, and soon internationally. Season 2 is available exclusively on The Chosen app. The show is translated into 50 languages, and it is great!