Though the History Channel's miniseries "The Bible" premiered March 3, Sunday's upcoming episode will be the first appearance of Jesus, played by Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado.
When first approached by husband-and-wife producer duo Mark Burnett and Roma Downey (who also plays Mother Mary on "The Bible"), Morgado said he was afraid to take on such a larger-than-life role.
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"How can I do someone that everybody knows and everybody has an idea [of] in a different way?" Morgado said in an interview with E! News.
"This is the most complete and complex role an actor can play. You can't play Jesus, especially when a lot of other wonderful actors already did that. That was my hardest task, and I really hope people will connect with what I tried to achieve."
Downey said she and Burnett knew as soon as they saw him that Morgado was their Jesus.
"I think he will define this role for generations," Downey told People Magazine. "He's just a beautiful actor inside and out. This is going to make him a big star."
Actors who have played Jesus in the past include Jeffery Hunter ("King of Kings," 1961), Ted Neeley ("Jesus Christ Superstar," 1973), Willem Dafoe ("The Last Temptation of Christ," 1988), Christian Bale ("Mary, Mother of Jesus," 1999), and Jim Caviezel ("The Passion of the Christ," 2004).
"The Bible" premiered to mammoth ratings March 3, with 13.1 million viewers tuning in. The series, split into five two-hour episodes, dramatizes the stories of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and combines them into one overarching narrative.
"How about the fact that we beat 'The Walking Dead'? 'The Bible' beat zombies," Burnett told E! Online of the show's ratings. "The Bible has the greatest stories in the history of the world. But beyond that [without the Bible], there wouldn't be 'Lord of the Rings,' there would never be 'Narnia,' we wouldn't have 'Matrix.'"
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