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Downey Hopes 'Son of God' Touches Many More

3 Jun, 2014 By: Chris Tribbey

Roma Downey in 'Son of God'

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Roma Downey (“Touched by an Angel”), executive producer of Son of God, only needed one example that her Biblical endeavor had reached someone, and she would have been happy.

She and co-executive producer (and husband) Mark Burnett (“The Voice,” “Shark Tank”) got hundreds.

“We’re delighted lives have been touched by this,” Downey said. “I find it very touching. What we were able to do with this film is take a beautiful love story and personalize it. And I think absolutely it changed my life in many ways.”

One of her favorites was a tale from a mother about her teenage son, who fought constantly about going to church every Sunday. So for the opening weekend of Son of God, the mom and son went and saw the film Saturday night. The next morning, the son was in the car, ready to go to service.

“He felt it so personally, it opened his heart,” she said.

With the June 3 DVD and Blu-ray Disc release of Son of God, Downey, Burnett and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment are hoping they reach even more people with the theatrical spinoff of their miniseries The Bible, which sold more than half a million units during its first week in the home entertainment market last year.

“It came in as a whisper in my heart to bring these stories [out],” Downey said of The Bible. “It had never been done before.”

But when it came down to the story of Jesus, a miniseries episode just didn’t seem like the right way to go.

“As the narrative began to unfold, when we saw it play out, we both knew it needed to be on the big screen,” said Downey, speaking of the decision made by her and Burnett.

That meant a more epic feel, wider shots and the right cast  — from Portuguese actor Diogo Morgado as Jesus and Downey as Mother Mary, to Darwin Shaw (Casino Royale) as Peter. Oscar-winning composer Hans Zimmer came on board as well.

The results were impressive, with entire screens booked by churches, helping the film pull in $25.6 million during its opening weekend (good for No. 2 at the box office). An estimated 25% of Son of God’s $60 million box office came from Spanish-speaking audiences, Downey said, an impressive feat.

“That speaks to the enormity of that audience, and it took me by surprise,” Downey said. “I hope other films will consider what we did.”

To reach out to more of that audience, Fox added a Spanish-language version of the film to both the DVD and Blu-ray, featuring the voices of Latino actors Eduardo Verastegui (“Bella,” “The Butterfly Circus”) as Jesus, Blanca Soto (“Porque El Amor Manda,” “Eva Luna”) as Mary Magdalene and Jacqueline Bracamontes (host of “La Voz Mexico,” “Sortilegio”) as Martha.

Other bonuses include a making-of video in both English and Spanish, a behind-the-scenes look at life on the set, and a two-part “Son of God: Reborn” featurette.

“We wanted to create an experience on this disc that would be valuable,” Downey said. “[The bonuses] speak to some of our greatest supporters, bringing together denominations. It shows how alive our faith is and how cool it is to be Christian.”


About the Author: Chris Tribbey

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