Premiering in theaters on February 1st are episodes 1-3 of the fourth season of the globally popular TV series ‘The Chosen,’ which will be followed by episodes 4-6 on February 15th and episodes 7-8 on February 29th.
Moviefone recently had the pleasure of sitting down in-person with actor Jonathan Roumie to talk about his work on season 4 of ‘The Chosen,’ what fans can expect from the new season, his approach to playing Jesus, what the role has meant to him, the success of the show, and working with series creator Dallas Jenkins.
Moviefone: To begin with, season 3 ended with Jesus’ walking on water at the Sea of Galilee. What can you tell us about where season 4 will pick up?
Jonathan Roumie: Tensions are mounting in season 4 and Jesus is dealing with not just tensions amongst his disciples, but among the authorities, the Roman authorities and the Jewish authorities. So, everything is just in a pressure cooker and it’s really starting to build, and we see the pressure of that start to leak out in a few places and certain storylines take certain turns. I think people are going to be blown away with what we’re doing this season. It’s our most mature season thus far. For me, it’s the beginning of the end. So, I think we’re easing people into it as best as we can but hold onto your hats.
MF: When you were originally cast as Jesus, what was your initial approach to playing the character?
JR: Mainly, it all starts through prayer for me personally. I’m a man of faith myself and to try to authentically portray this character, I can’t do it without really digging deep into my faith and doubling down on my prayer life and just trying to learn from his example. Years ago, they used to have those bracelets, “WWJD? What would Jesus do?” I think that’s become a question that I just ask in my daily life. If I’m challenged as a human by another human or something comes up or a situation, and I want to react the way I feel, I just think of that, I’m like, “Got to let it go,” and life becomes much easier to manage when I’m following his example. So, it’s become a guidepost for me to just really take stock of what’s important in life and how do I treat other people as a human, not just as the character, but just as a person, as Jonathan.
MF: What has it meant to you personally to have a chance to play this role and bring this story to audiences?
JR: It’s been the role of a lifetime. It’s been a story for ages. It’s probably going to outlive me. The feedback has been so profound, the changes that people have experienced, what it’s done for them. I’ve had people come up to me in parking lots, like a random couple, just say, “Your series helped us get our marriage back on track. We were struggling and we just started watching the show and it brought us back to church and we started talking to some counselors. Now, we’re doing better than ever.” That’s not something you hear every day about what you do as an actor. The fruits of your work as an actor usually don’t end up in marriages being repaired and people going back to church and, “I’ve got a relationship with God now.” That’s awesome. So, it’s been completely profound.
MF: Have you been surprised by the global success of the show?
JR: I’m not surprised by the popularity of the story we’re telling because it’s the greatest story ever told and for a reason. But to see it in action, to experience that in front of my eyes, firsthand from people telling us how it’s affected their lives, it’s like it’s another thing. You hope that it’ll have that kind of an impact and you read the stories and you’re like, “This is so super powerful.” Then when it happens, you’re like, “Okay, I thought I was ready to know how that would feel, but I wasn’t,” and it’s just magnificent.
MF: Finally, what has been like working with series creator Dallas Jenkins and watching him execute his vision for this series?
JR: Dallas and I go back 10 years, so we have a shorthand at this point, I think, with how we approach the work, and it’s just been great to get to grow with him in the character. He’s single-handedly built this studio that has created this show with the help of so many devoted people and I think it’s been such a team effort. Everybody that’s been behind it, we just all wanted to do great things in the world and fortunately we’ve been hearing about some of the fruits of that labor.
What is the Plot of ‘The Chosen’ Season 4?
Clashing kingdoms. Rival rulers. The enemies of Jesus (Jonathan Roumie) close in while His followers struggle to keep up, leaving Him to carry the burden alone. Threatened by the reality of Jesus’ growing influence, religious leaders do the unthinkable, ally with their Roman oppressors. As the seeds of betrayal are planted and opposition to Jesus’ message turns violent, He’s left with no alternative but to demand his followers RISE UP.