We know Jesus was hated and not liked by some, worshipped and followed by others. But do we really know the thoughts inside the minds of the men responsible for his life ending on a cross?
These and more are some of the questions that the film adaptation of “Killing Jesus” attempts to answer.
The series will air tonight on National Geographic at 8/7c and is the third of the “Killing” book series written by Bill O’Rilley and Martin Dugand. The earlier books in the series are “Killing Kennedy” and “Killing Lincoln”.
Christopher Menaul wanted to direct the movie in such a way that it would appeal believers and non believers. And it did, in more ways than one.
The idea behind the book and film are to present the environment politically and socially around and during the time of Jesus. Today there are more than 2.2 billion Christians around the world, but what did it look like when He was walking here on Earth and who felt threatened by his presence?
Now for those Christians who have experienced an Easter or two within a Christian church, this may seem repetitive. But even in the movie “Passion of the Christ”, the environment outside of Jesus’ circle wasn’t widely presented.
The movie captures the ideology and beliefs of the high priests and governors, and of the people around Jesus, including family. It’s surprising to see a more in-depth look into people who to us Christians don’t seem as important, but were key in his life and death.
Unfortunately the biblical counts are weak and sometimes even wrong, according to what we’re used to seeing and hearing, and honestly what we’ve made up in our minds happened during the time of our Savior. But there’s something to be said about the humanity of Jesus, who walked wanting to spread a simple message of love and had to adapt as people responded to his journey and his message.
Haaz Sleiman, the actor playing Jesus, is actually muslim and may be the first Middle Eastern to portray Jesus, which makes for an interesting twist but also win, since so much criticism arises with each actor that portrays Jesus in different movies and series.
“I was familiar with Jesus’ story from a very young age. It’s probably the most famous story of all time, one that touched me and inspired me as a child,” said the actor when asked how he prepared for the role.
The movie was produced by Mark Huffman and Aidan Elliot, and includes names like Kelsey Grammer, John Rhys-Davies and Eion Macken as part of the cast.
Grammer, a Christian, speaks of his faith and the more spiritual experience of the film:
“It sure does require a lot of faith. I’m a Christian. I think Jesus is the most remarkable human being that’s ever lived. I love the saying in the Bible, “He was made a little less than the angels, to become so much more.” The lessons he taught and the examples he gave resonate to this day. I’ve seen half of the producers on this set start to cry — when they talk about how “we’re going to shoot this scene today or that scene,” and then they well up a little bit. It’s a remarkable thing and I think that’s a great service to what is good about religion.”
This is a movie that MUST be watched. Whether you’re Christian or not, whether you agree with the movie completely or find the missing pieces, it’ll definitely open up your mind o a new perspective, it’ll place Jesus’ story in a culture, society, and political environment that many haven’t cared to see but should thoroughly comprehend.
If it doesn’t do any of the above, it’ll at least show you what others are learning, seeing, and maybe believing.
Tune in, watch, enjoy, and learn.