Catholic World Report

‘Funding for fourth season of ‘The Chosen’ series expected to begin soon

Joe Bukuras   By Joe Bukuras for CNA

"The Chosen" cast, led by actor Jonathan Roumie in the role of Jesus Christ and Shahar Isaac playing Simon Peter./ "The Chosen"

The internet series “The Chosen,” which dramatizes the life of Jesus and His disciples, has nearly completed its funding for a third season and will soon raise funds for season four.

“Within the next couple months we should have all of season three funded for sure,” the series’ executive producer Derral Eves told CNA on July 8.

The show’s second season premiered on Easter Sunday. Tens of thousands of donors gave $10 million through crowdfunding for each of the first two seasons; about 91% of funding is complete for the coming third season. Eves told CNA that funding comes from people “all over the world.”

“The Chosen,” which provides its shows for free through an app for iOS or Android systems, or through the website of VidAngel, airs new shows right after filming is complete. The directors decided against the traditional TV show model of airing shows at a set time each week.

The season finale of season two, ending with the Sermon on the Mount, recently aired on Sunday night. Eves told CNA that the Sermon on the Mount will be a part of season three as well.

Eves said that the show’s third season will cover the increase of Jesus’ fame as recorded in the Gospels, along with a more evident opposition. The creators are committed to seven seasons of filming, covering many events throughout the Gospels, from “the crucifixion, resurrection, and beginning of the ministry of Peter and so on,” Eves said.

“For us it’s going to be a grind for the next five to seven years of just trying to make this happen,” he said. The series will discontinue at the end of the Gospels.

“We want this to flood the world. We want this to get out to a billion people so a billion people can experience an authentic Jesus,” Eves said.

The show has been translated into 52 languages, and staff are working on more translations. “We want to get it out to the people so they can watch it in their own native tongue,” Eves said.

The show’s popularity has grown throughout its two seasons. Although it is evangelical Christian-produced, Eves said that Catholics have been involved as advisors for both seasons of “The Chosen,” and have participated in the discussions around the scripts.

“The thing for us is we actually have a lot of religious advisors that help us with understanding the culture of the first century or really understanding the Bible a little bit better,” he said. “Dallas and our writers receive feedback from them and so they get to see the scripts and so on and so forth.”

Catholic priest Father David Guffey, C.S.C., national director of Family Theater Productions, is one of the biblical consultants for the show. Other consultants include Dr. Doug Huffman, an ordained minister of the Evangelical Free Church of America and professor of the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University, as well as Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jason Sobel of Fusion Global Ministries.

When there is disagreement among the religious experts, Jenkins makes the final decision. Eves commended Jenkins’ commitment and ability “to gather as much information as he needs to make the right decisions.”

“I can 100% guarantee anyone who’s listening or watching this or reading about this, Dallas has always sought advice and counsel and he’s always processed that,” Eves said.

Eves highlighted the “deeper awakening” of lead actor Jonathan Roumie’s faith during the show’s timeline; Roumie, a Catholic, plays the character of Jesus.

Eves said that many people ask if the show’s creators would consider working on a depiction of the events in the Acts of the Apostles. “For us we’ll take some time off because it’s a lot of work to do what we need to do,” Eves said. “We might regroup after a year and take on the book of Acts, but right now we’re not committing to anything outside the seven seasons of the show.”

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