Famed TV producer Mark Burnett and actress Roma Downey, the Hollywood powerful couple who previously brought “The Bible” to the History Channel, are gearing up for the release of their next project: “A.D. The Bible Continues” — a 12-week re-enacted series that covers the biblical story of Christianity’s beginnings.
Burnett and Downey, who also shared that prayer and devotion to their faith help keep their marriage and family strong amid chaotic schedules, explained what viewers can expect from “A.D.”
“A.D. embraces the book of Acts, and these first 12 weeks take us through the first 10 chapters, starting with the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus,” Downey said on The Church Boys podcast this week. “Remembering the story did not end at the cross. It was just the beginning.”
Burnett added, “‘A.D.’ is the story of ‘How did 12 guys take down Rome?’ It’s unbelievable if you think of it. Well, it’s God’s plan, so we believe it.… God had chosen the right time.”
The famed producer behind shows like “The Apprentice” and “The Voice” explained that the major character in the Acts of the Apostles — the book that the series is predicated upon — is the holy spirit, which he said is mentioned 57 times throughout the text.
Listen to Burnett and Downey discuss “A.D.” on The Church Boys below — as well as their secret to keeping their family strong while working in Tinseltown (interview starts at the 30:20 mark):
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The couple, who hope that “A.D.” will spark a broad conversation in America about God and faith, detailed some of the challenges that they faced in making their latest biblical series.
“One thing is scale. You’re talking about a massive set,” Burnett said. “The set that was the biggest set every built in Morocco. … so large that, at times, people … got lost in the streets of Jerusalem we built on the way to various locations.”
There’s also the intense theological research that was required to keep the series in line with the biblical text.
Burnett also revealed that “A.D.” could end up being an annual series that consists of 12 episodes each year, taking viewers through the entire biblical narrative over the course of time.
So far, the couple said that they have learned some important lessons through the production of “The Bible” and “A.D.,” including the importance of bringing the Bible’s key characters to life.
“I think if we learned anything, it was the importance in [bringing] these stories [to] the screen that we would emotionally engage the audience, that we would show the humanity of the characters so the audience could relate to them,” Downey said.
She added that she and Burnett love what they do and are overjoyed to be able to work together.
“We know that prayer works,” she said when asked how the Hollywood couple remains so strong amid such hectic schedules. “We have experienced prayer in our lives and that’s something that’s important to us in our marriage.”
Burnett and Downey said that they are excited for the premiere of “A.D.” on NBC this Easter Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. Find out more about the series here.