NASHVILLE, Tenn. — With the coming release of "A.D.," a 12-part miniseries that reenacts key events in the New Testament, actress and producer Roma Downey — who worked with her husband, reality producer Mark Burnett, to create the highly anticipated follow-up to 2013's "The Bible" series — told TheBlaze that the production experience profoundly deepened the couple's Christian faith.
Downey, who attended the National Religious Broadcasters convention in Nashville, Tennessee, this week, expressed her excitement over the series' premiere on NBC on April 5, detailing what viewers can expect to see.
"We love the Lord, we love what we do — and we love each other," she said. " So to get to work on this material and tell this story of the early church is both a joy and a privilege."
Downey said that they are hoping viewers will be inspired by the series, which tells the biblical story of Christianity's origins and its early days.
"'A.D.' deals with the story as revealed to us in the Book of Acts. These were tough times for the remaining disciples, dark and dangerous days and the threat from Rome was very real," she told TheBlaze. "'A.D.' is an exciting, action-packed series that is filled with twists and turns and drama and emotion."
The series will make viewers feel as though they have "stepped back in time" and are walking in the disciples' footsteps, Downey promised, noting that she and Burnett felt it was especially important that they bring the characters' humanity to the small screen.
"We wanted to make sure all the characters have a humanity to them. So, when we meet Peter and Paul and Mary Magdalene and John or Pilate and Caiaphas …. we meet them as real people," she said. "Our job was to keep it real and relatable, honest and hopeful — and true."
Downey, who said that she and Burnett worked with scholars and pastors in an effort to ensure the story is entirely accurate, believes that "A.D." will spark conversations, while also leading people to the Book of Acts and, in the process, bring audiences closer to God.
The couple weaved the biblical events into an "imagined narrative" that is based upon the events depicted in the holy book.
"We start with the crucifixion and resurrection, and what follows is the epic tale of 'A.D.,' chronicling several of the most intense decades in history," Downey said. "A time filled with enormous faith, persecution, political intrigue, brutal Roman oppression and the desperate Jewish revolt — a time when history would be changed forever."
As for her own faith, Downey said that the series taught her quite a bit, especially when it comes to God's purpose for her life.
"Our friend Rick Warren has always told us the most dangerous prayer you can pray is, 'Lord use me' … because he might just answer you!" she said. "Then, you have to be ready to do the work. This has been my prayer every day for years, since my early 'Touched By an Angel' days when I prayed for the holy spirit to use me. My prayer was, 'Less of me and more of you.'"
She said she has continued to operate with this prayerful mindset ever since.
"The work is challenging, but rewarding, and it requires many hours away from home, often on distant locations," Downey said. "But we have all been committed to making it the very best it can be."
The producer said that she and Burnett are not pastors, but that they are film producers who want to use media to tell the world "the good news about Jesus." Among the themes included in "A.D." is the holy spirit, one of the key theological constructs in the New Testament.
"We know the holy spirit is mentioned by name over 50 times in the Book of Acts and we wanted to share with our audience the feeling of the supernatural," she said. "Pentecost is brought to the screen with full-on special effects."
"A.D." is set to premiere on NBC on Easter Sunday, which is April 5, 2015 .