Jonathan Roumie of "The Chosen" Calls Playing Jesus "Super Humbling"
Updated: Sep 22, 2022
The Christian actor addresses the tremendous responsibility he feels over his role in this hit streaming series.
Cast and crew of The Chosen are in the homestretch of filming season three of this show about the life of Christ. Dallas Jenkins, the creator and director of the program, last night told a livestream audience of supporters that he is tentatively aiming to release the first two episodes in movie theaters on November 18th.
He was joined during the event by lead actor Jonathan Roumie, who stars as the Jesus character in the show. During a question-and-answer session with Jenkins, the 48-year-old New York native - who has two seasons under his belt in the role - said one "can't mentally prepare to play Jesus."
"All you can do, all I can do - or to strive to do - is to be open to reflect the image of God through this medium of filmmaking...I can't take any more credit or try to assume anymore skill than bringing my humanity to it and try to just reflect the love of Jesus Christ through the character."
Roumie, who describes himself as a born-again Catholic, has been playing Jesus in various productions together with Jenkins since 2014, when the latter cast him in a short film for his church. Even so, being in the spotlight and receiving recognition from fans who express their gratitude for his work on The Chosen is a phenomenon Roumie is "still trying to get used to."
"It's super humbling. Sometimes it gets to the point where you don't know how to accept it, because the changes in some of these folks' lives, and the things the show does for them and their loved ones when they're going through really tough times."
The actor related an event involving a man who approached him in a parking lot and credited his work and the show for helping save his failing marriage, leaving Roumie flummoxed as to how to respond: "What do you say to that? It's like, 'Praise God.'"
That is where the actor ultimately focuses his attention - on God - knowing that this project is bigger than the cast and crew. In that context, Roumie related a scene from season one, when Jesus heals the paralytic who is lowered down to him through a hole in a roof (Mark 2:1 - 12 and Luke 5:17 - 26), stating how it drove home the weight of what he was doing as an actor.
"Realizing that for the first time I was actually preaching from Scripture - Jesus' sermons - and I immediately felt unworthy to be saying those words and taking the figure of Jesus on screen. And I had a kind of minor panic attack."
Dallas Jenkins, noticing Roumie's emotional response at the time, pulled him aside to let him compose himself. When the actor shared his view that he was unworthy to portray Christ, Jenkins made it clear that everyone working on the show was in the same boat.
"I was like, 'Okay, this is a great moment for us to solidify that we're not worthy. Embrace this and surrender to it.'"
The livestream is powerful and we recommend that you watch it below. It starts off with a follow-up on a recent documentary with some members of Gen-Z who binged season one together, which we reported on here, and gets to the Jenkins-Roumie Q&A segment at approximately 32 minutes in.