On the one hand Roma Downey and Mark Burnett of the History Channel airing “The Bible” series should be applauded for their presentation of several Old and New Testament narratives…BUT…it’s quite obvious they chose political correctness and succumbed to commercial interests in their choice of actors to play some of the most pivotal persons in the Jewish and Christian faiths.
Enter: Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado aka “white” Jesus.
Is smearing actors’ faces with “dirt” enough to be historically and anthropologically faithful?
Closer to reality: A forensic reconstruction of an average first century Galilean Semite
From People magazine:
“We actually were only six weeks away from beginning principal photography and we still had not cast the role of Jesus,” Downey tells PEOPLE of producing the hit History channel miniseries. “To say that we were anxious is an understatement.”
In desperation, Downey sent out an email to friends with the subject line “Looking for Jesus.”
“The prayer circle went out and the prayer was answered,” the former Touched by an Angel star says of a friend suggesting Diogo Morgado for the role.
After watching Morgado’s taped audition, Downey was eager to schedule a meeting but was worried meeting in person would prove difficult for the Portugal-based actor.
“I was a little disheartened and didn’t know logistically how I was going to make that work,” says Downey, who also plays Mother Mary in the series. “I spoke to his agent and he said, ‘Actually, he’s traveling and in Los Angeles.’ I said, ‘Hallelujah.’ ”
In less than 24 hours Morgado, 33, was walking down the garden path of Downey’s home to meet with her and her husband, producer Mark Burnett.
“I grabbed Mark and we peeked out the window to see him approach,” Downey says. “I turned to my husband and said, ‘There he is. That’s our Jesus.’ “
It is presumed commercial interests compelled Downey and Burnett, evangelical Christians, to ignore reality and cast a European to portray a first century Galilean Jewish man…and that the real reason wasn’t something like prejudice. Otherwise, with all certainty, they sully their witness for Jesus Christ.
Meanwhile, viewers have supposedly been ruffled by a brown-skinned man (a Nigerian-British actor) portraying Old Testament figure Samson: Was Samson Black? Moses, Abraham, Samuel, David… White?