Jan. 11, 2021

Episode 45 - Interview With Dallas Jenkins


Dallas Jenkins is an American film and television director, writer and film producer. He is best known as the creator, director and co-writer of The Chosen, the first multi-season series about the life of Christ, and the highest crowd-funded media project of all time. The Chosen is the first-ever multi-season show about Jesus, the #1 highest crowd-funded project of all-time at $10 million from over 19,000 people, has been translated into 50 languages and counting, is consistently ranked in the top 50 entertainment apps on ios and android and completely free to watch on their app that connects directly to streaming devices with no fee or subscription necessary.

Transcript

welcome to this episode of the wolf and

the shepherd today we have with us

Dallas Jenkins the co-writer

producer and director of the chosen

series dallas great to have you with us

i appreciate it thanks for having me on

i'm curious to know what the wolf and

the shepherd like which

like which one of you actually is the

wolf and which one is the shepherd

uh well i'm the smart one i'm the wolf

all right got it this this deputy one

he's the one who kind of navigates

everything so all right good good just

wanted to clear that up before we start

yeah

good deal

and it's got a huge following and

obviously we

want to talk a lot about that so i'm

going to turn it over the wolf

and he's got some questions about that

and kind of

walk through the show and

what it's all about and all that good

stuff spoiler alert

it's about jesus uh yes

in case anybody was wondering but uh i'm

gonna turn it over to the wolf and let

him

kind of guide us through this so yeah my

my first thing was like was it always

set out to be

like in terms of episodes i mean

did you always think that like you know

i'm gonna

produce a series it's gonna be like six

eight episodes

and that's gonna be it or did you

originally think you know what it'd be

nice to have a movie

but you know i'm gonna run out of time

because you know obviously when you do a

series

you have more time right so you do like

six eight episodes you can get away with

three or four hours with a movie

it's hard to get away with more than you

know a couple of hours so i mean what

was your approach

when you originally wrote this was it's

like this is definitely gonna be a

series or

did it have some other type of you know

genesis to begin with like

oh i can make do a movie of this yeah

well it started with a short film that i

did for my church's christmas eve

service

uh it was about the birth of christ from

the perspective of the shepherds

and i shot it on my friend's farm here

20 minutes from me here in illinois

and it was only intended for my church's

christmas eve service but in that

20-minute short film i

felt like we explored more about the

story of the birth of christ than i'd

ever seen before

in a portrayal you know we showed what

the shepherd's day was like earlier that

day and how they were taking

lambs into the into the town to slu to

sell for sacrifice and

we showed them hanging out around the

campfire at night

um before the angels show up and and uh

in that exploration i just thought boy

this is so interesting to me and it

turned out to be quite interesting to

the audience and

and it really made the birth of christ

and and the experience of that

and that that little story that's just

in the gospels

uh only covers you know a handful of

verses

but in 20 minutes we just were able to

get in so much deeper and it really

brought the story to life even more than

ever before

for me and for a lot of the audience and

so that's where the idea for a

multi-season show came from i was also

binge watching

shows like breaking bad and the wire and

friday night lights and downton abbey

and shows like that with my wife

or when i or by myself and i was like

well one of the things i love about

television and the multi-season

um shows is that you can really dig into

the characters

you really fall in love with them and

you follow them from season to season

and you can take your time

with the story lines as opposed to most

jesus

movies and miniseries where you go from

miracle to miracle bible verse to bible

verse you never get a chance to really

get to know anyone even to some extent

you don't

really get a chance to get to know jesus

because you're only seeing him

through the lens of these famous stories

and you don't get

a chance to really dig into any

backstory or cultural context or

historical context

or or personality really so from the

beginning the plan was

we're going to do this over the course

of multiple seasons or at least we're

going to want we're going to try to

you know obviously you never can

guarantee you're going to get a chance

to do

multiple seasons because the show may

not succeed so

the first season when we finally

finished it it's been out there and now

it's

started to really get um successful and

popular around the world we now have a

very good idea that we're gonna be able

to do seven seasons so that's the plan

of seven seasons

but yeah i know that's a long answer to

your question but when i first

started with the short film i didn't

even have the idea of the show

in my mind once i decided i want to do a

show

yes the plan was seven seasons

you know that's where we landed on

around seven seasons eight episodes per

season

which really gives us the time to dig

into the stories and the people in the

way that they deserve

yeah it's interesting you gave those

examples of like breaking bad and friday

night lights and all that because

you know a lot of the time with tv shows

you have to sell the plot

and then sell the characters all right

because people will look and see

oh yeah this sounds interesting i'll

bind to this and if they like the

characters they like the actors they'll

watch it

and even if the plot you know kind of

dilutes a little bit

and isn't necessarily that interesting

they'll keep with the show but with this

they already know the plot all right

there's no surprises it's like

there's not really and this is one thing

i was going to ask you it's like when

you're dividing up the episodes

you're not like your traditional tv show

you're not going to have cliffhangers

of what happens next you know type thing

it's this continuity that

really if somebody enjoyed the previous

episode then they're going to watch the

next episode it's not like

what happens next right type tv

well yes that's true on a large scale

so people know the overall story jesus

ultimate you know he the gospels cover

his ministry for about three years

we know that he died on the cross

spoiler alert and we know that

that he rose from the dead at least us

believers believe that but

everyone knows that that's the story uh

you can't

that that's that's the trick really and

i think that's something that we've

tried to do and

and people have seemed to appreciate it

in season one so far

and and we're working on season two

right now is to create those surprises

into

it create subplots that some of which

weren't in scripture

that we can plausibly

portray through our knowledge of

cultural context historical context

human behavior where how can we create

some tension can we create

perhaps not total cliffhangers about the

big picture

but some storylines that you do want to

know

how is simon peter going to react

now that he is has chosen to follow

jesus and give up all his posse you know

give up his job

more importantly how is his wife going

to react um now

in the bible there's no mention of that

we know that simon peter had a wife

for example um but we don't know much

about her other than

that her mother was healed by jesus uh

from sickness

so exploring the emotional

subtexts and the emotional subplots has

allowed us to create some of those

traditional television tropes

that make shows like friday night lights

and breaking bad so interesting

um so you know most people have said

that

they binge watch the show because they

they just can't wait to get to the next

episode

and i don't think it's just because they

know the story i think they are

i think they have been intrigued by the

relationships

and the emotional uh backstories that

that we've

created um that have allowed us to

really have fun and and be impactful

with the with the safety net of the

overall story the overall story provides

a safety net for sure we know

beginning the middle and an end and we

know it's exciting and fantastic

now we get to play a little bit and

really uh create some interesting thing

interesting ways for you as a viewer to

connect with the characters

yeah now um i actually when we knew

you were going to come on the podcast i

sent out emails i've got a bunch of

friends or youth pastors senior pastors

in churches

in north texas some pretty large

churches and stuff and

um i got a few emails back and the most

common question was

how hard is it to cast jesus as a

character

you know like how do you choose that

character i mean what

do you look for i mean what's that well

i have a

i have a an advantage in that i actually

cast jesus

seven or eight years ago i did a short

film for my church

about seven or eight years ago about the

crucifixion from the perspective of the

two thieves and the cross there's been

this

trend in my life over the last seven or

eight years

at the church that i worked at i was

making movies um

as well but for my church i would

uh every good friday service we would do

a short film or a vignette about

a story from the gospels uh typically

centered around the crucifixion sometime

around that time but from a different

perspective

um and that's i think what informed this

show but

we did the crucifixion from the

perspective of the two thieves on the

cross who were on either side of jesus

and i was cat the thieves were the main

characters jesus only had

a handful of lines and showed up near

the end

and i was casting for the two thieves

and but everyone who was

playing the auditioning for the role of

jesus was horrible

um partially because it was a smaller

role maybe so we weren't getting the

best actors

and jonathan rumi was one of the guys

who auditioned for one of the thieves

and he did a great job but there were

two other guys that i thought were

perfect for their parts

and i said boy i really needed jesus

well jonathan seemed to have some

tenderness to him

in his in his audition so i'm going to

have him audition for jesus and see

if it works and about 10 seconds into

his audition i was

completely blown away i was like oh my

goodness this guy is perfect

he has the masculinity mixed with the

tenderness

he feels like a real person but yet um

has a strength about him that that that

i think jesus

had and when i did the short film and he

shows up

you know for the last couple minutes i i

even just in those couple minutes i said

to

myself this is the best portrayal of

jesus i've ever seen and so i started

working with him more

each year on other short films and

vignettes so when it came time to do

this show when we had this opportunity

to do this on a mass scale he was the

first person cast

and so i i for sure got fortunate there

by getting to know him

in advance and seeing how amazing he was

um at the being able to be strong being

able to be tender being able to be

dominant but also have a servant's heart

um

to feel like a normal person i mean he

was a human being but also

when he does the miracles um to have a

strength about him as well and i think

that's what

one of the one of the best parts of the

show is jonathan's performance

right and i think you know i i

i think one of the best portrayals of

christ is um in

passion of the christ right that

it almost makes you feel uncomfortable

in the presence of that character but it

makes you feel

uncomfortable but also comfortable i

mean i know that's kind of

you know a little bit of a paradox there

but just

that it should make you be uncomfortable

to be in the presence of christ because

the whole point of christ being the

light

and he you know reveals you know

everything about you but there should

also be that comfort and his grace and

his love and so

you know having a character who you can

look at

and not necessarily care about that

actor and be like

oh yeah he is in fast and furious seven

whatever

but i mean it should be about you being

able that character

being i don't know it's a hard thing to

say i mean it it's hard for

actors to be jesus you know yeah

it's got to be the hardest role to play

because

you know it's everything surrounding it

because people take from it

that like you know this grace this mercy

and

everything and you know if you've got

people who are not necessarily

christian friendly to things how do you

have a character on screen

who portrays those things which are

unsaid because there's a lot in the

gospels which is unsaid

and which is said later after jesus's

death but

how would that character on the screen

do you get those things across

yeah no it's all great questions and

points that you're making i think

um you know one in terms of portraying

christ

jonathan talks about this uh in fact we

have a whole video on our youtube

channel if you just look up the chosen

and

just look up portraying christ or

portraying jesus um you'll find it it's

also in our app

uh where he talks we had a 45 minute

conversation on camera about

this and one of the main things first

things he says is i just have to empty

myself

of me as much as possible um because i'm

not worthy to play this role i'm not

jesus

um and you know he and i both as we're

making the show i have to kind of

try to get out of the way recognizing

right off the bat we're not worthy we

can't live up to jesus we can't live up

to the gospels

all we can do is our best to try to

portray this in in a in an

authentic way and that's typically going

to mean kind of emptying ourselves a

little bit and getting our own ego out

of the way

in terms of the comfort and the lack of

comfort at the same time i think that's

absolutely true

you'll see in season one when jesus

first encounters

some of our main characters such as mary

magdalene

who was demon-possessed when jesus met

her

or nicodemus who had been living a

religious life his whole life but had

not had a relationship with a personal

relationship with god's

son and was fighting the fact that jesus

in many ways contradicted a lot of what

nicodemus had believed

simon peter when he encounters jesus for

the first time after

jesus did a miracle with a catch of fish

and and simon had been up all night

trying to catch fish hadn't catch

anything

about anything jesus produces this

massive catch of fish

well all of them have these very

uncomfortable reactions at first so mary

magdalene tries to get away from jesus

to get away from me because the demons

in her are conflicting

so much um she just can't accept his

his attention nicodemus falls to a knee

when he kind of realizes this is the

kingdom of god and

and treats him like an earthly king you

know he kisses his hand he falls to his

knee and jesus has to kind of lift him

up and say

no no that's not how you know i'm not an

earthly king

uh i'm i'm i'm trying to get you to

focus

on your heart and your heart connecting

to me on in a spiritual way

simon peter falls to his knees in shame

and says

from the gospels get away from me i'm a

sinful man

and jesus each each time pulls them in

with mary magdalene he literally calls

her by her real name and

and take you know hugs her and with

nicodemus same thing he lifts him up and

says

blessed are you who take refuge in him

and cradles his head and tenderly

with simon he says look at me look up at

me fisherman he actually comes down to

simon's level

and and after he says look look up

fisherman and then he comes down to his

level and they see eye to eye

and he calls him to follow him and so

yeah

those are the the hallmarks i think of

of the chosen is that

when jesus reaches to you and you know

there might be someone listening right

now or watching right now who either

knows christ or doesn't know christ but

maybe he hasn't had that experience

where they are faced with that choice

and i think that

uh jesus when we're faced with that

choice when we're faced with that

moment it can be both uncomfortable and

comfortable at the same time

well i think that's one of the most

beautiful things in the scriptures

whether you go from the old testament or

the new testament

that you look at the people who god

chose to do his work

that it was such an extreme

i guess bunch of failures

right in the real world who he took

and made fantastic things happen i mean

even you know among the disciples

and stuff that nobody really

you know even in today where you're

judged on social media because you're

too fat you know you're wearing too much

makeup blah blah blah

there's nobody who can really really

get on that list of failures that were

like in this

scriptures you know i mean there was a

whole bunch of failures that you

if you really had to put it down and you

were going to hire people you would not

have hired anybody in the old testament

or new testament

who god chose you know to do

these great things and i think that's

one of those wonderful things

and for me the whole epitome of grace is

that like

you know the the people god chose to do

such fantastic things when i become

self-judgmental about myself and other

people i think

wow how god used other people who were

in a

far worse state than i ever was and

i've ever been but still made them do

great things

but it's just hard sometimes especially

now because there's so much more

judgment

with social media and stuff that you

know you get judged nowadays on things

you would never get judged

on before because nobody knew about it

and people are very

you know it saddens me when you know

people hang themselves because

like people you know commented on their

social media that oh you're fat

and they you know go hang themselves and

stuff and it's it's just so

tragic that people you know put their

worth on

other people's opinions and yet you know

again we have this

great history you know through the

scriptures of people who

you could define as the worst losers in

existence and

god use them to just do such magnificent

things i mean

yeah well that's that's one of the key

themes of season one is

you know we believe if you can see jesus

through the eyes of those who actually

met him

you can be changed and impacted in the

same way that they were if you can

identify with the problems

and the questions and the concerns

and the struggles of these people from

the first century

you can then potentially identify with

the solution and the answer

and one of the things we do is really

set up who these people were before they

met jesus and

and it wasn't always pretty um and it

was surprising in fact we portray

matthew

the tax collector who was hated by the

jews for working for the romans and they

disrespected by the romans for being

jewish and we add

this what we believe is a plausible um

layer maybe not factual but plausible

that matthew was also on

on the asperger's spectrum or the autism

spectrum

and we've had so many people who've

commented specifically about him saying

if jesus can choose him he can choose me

i

i could connect with him whether it was

his special needs struggle or his being

an outcast

um simon the desperation that simon

peter felt to

get out of debt and to commit sins just

to try to protect his family and himself

and his livelihood

nicodemus caught up in the religion of

his

you know the the of his upbringing and

uh unable to see past that um we really

want people to be able to see that

there is no place you can go that's too

low

for jesus to reach in and give you grace

and that's what and that's one of the

things that

amazes me reading through the scriptures

that

yeah when people say it's not god

ordained or you know god didn't have a

hand in writing the scriptures that you

could not

have made up his characters you know in

a million years

of these people in various states of

desperation

or you know parts of the life where they

were so

enrolled in sin that you know the spirit

of god turned them around

and you know one thing i like about you

know when i was reading up on your show

and you know it connects to one of the

podcasts we did

um like maybe a month ago on memory that

you know people's memory of people you

know is based on environment

prejudice and various things and so you

know when you have

you know people looking at jesus i guess

at the time

you know they were always looking at

jesus based upon you know their

pre-belief their circumstance and

everything else but it

obviously changes across time and now

everybody who sees jesus

it's it's either relational in terms of

how it affects them

or it's how they understand the

scriptures i mean it's very different

in i guess uh

you know you look at you look at a lot

of other holy books a lot of other

religions you've got what they say are

normal people

and it's everything's indoctrinated in

terms of you believe this you believe

this

you believe this there's not much

personal experience

whereas christianity as a whole is a

very personal experience i mean

you know the shepherd and i you know we

recorded um

the christmas podcast and we were

talking about the song

oh holy night and there's a point when

that choir kicks in

where it's like god touches you and

you know i don't think and and there's

no

disrespect to other religions but i

don't think

there's a thing where god touches you as

much

and i is it's just hard to explain it's

like god touches you in such amazing

places

and you know how to put that on screen

to get that in front of people just look

if you

if you're just willing to allow god to

touch you

then he will come and meet you where

you're at it doesn't matter how much of

a loser you think you are

you know you've got to as long as you're

open to allowing god to touch you

he will come and meet you yeah

and that's you know i mean that's really

well said and

and i think that's what people say most

about the show um

which is we portray jesus

as yes the perfect human yes the

ultimate

good the ultimate uh ideal

but he but as a man as a human

um you know he was born in very modest

extreme extremely surprisingly

low uh circumstances

um you know born in a stable um to

peasants

from nazareth which was you know a very

disrespected

podunk town um he the way he lived his

life the the people that he surrounded

himself with

um he was constantly reminding you

that he meets you where you're at the

term emanuel which is

tends to be a chris christmas term the

gospel is

god with us that that's what the whole

show is about

that we believe that god himself uh

in the form of a man in the form of the

son of the father

came to earth and dwelt among us and he

laughed and he cried and he got

injured and he got upset at times and he

did his bedtime prayers and he

respected his mom and and the first

public miracle that he did was

a favor for his friends because his mom

asked him to because he was at a wedding

no doubt would have danced with his

friends and laughed and all of those

things

um not only do they not take away from

the divinity of christ but

we believe that the show has helped

enhance uh

the divinity of christ in the eyes of

many people and seeing that the god of

the universe

dwelt among us uh as a human and uh

that's that's the personal

and and he didn't do big show-offy

things anytime he did a miracle it was

about the person he wanted to get to

your heart

he wanted you to he wanted to get your

attention to focus you more on

him and more on uh getting your heart

broken and surrendered to to your need

for the savior

and uh you know for better or worse

whether you're a believer or not that's

that's what we're portraying in the show

and we've had non-believers and

believers alike

appreciate that fact that it feels like

an authentic portrayal and not just a

cardboard cut out shakespearean

portrayal of jesus which is what we so

often get

right now do you think at this point in

time

it's almost impossible across

normal um you know

tv networks tv studios you know movie

studios to now

given the age we're in to actually give

a

accurate portrayal of christ without

having to surrender

or maybe censor some of the messages

from the gospel

well i certainly hope not because we're

we're not

sacrificing the messages of the gospels

um

you know i think maybe that's one of the

benefits of doing this outside the

system

we're not financed by a major streaming

service we're

not financed or produced by a big tv

network

uh we we created our own thing we're

crowdfunded our

first season was was financed by

nineteen thousand people

who invested over ten million dollars

from around the world

um we created our own app so you can

watch the show completely free and the

show is now in literally every country

in the world it's been translated in

approaching 50 languages and it's all

done

you know independently it's all done

outside the system so we're not beholden

to the rules of any anyone else we're

not we don't really

care about how things come across we're

just trying to tell the most

most authentic story possible and if at

some point people don't want to watch it

anymore then

i guess we'll stop but um but but people

are continuing we give the show away for

free you know you're going to watch all

eight episodes

completely free and easy on the chosen

app and

when you connect it to your streaming

device whether it's like a roku or apple

tv or fire stick or whatever

you don't have to sign in anything you

don't have to register you don't have to

pay anything

it's totally free totally accessible and

then we say when we're done watching

or when you're done watching if you want

us to keep doing this for free

for people around the world if you want

us to keep doing future seasons you can

contribute

if you want or you can buy the dvds or

you can buy the merchandise like what

i'm wearing right now

and people do it they do it to the

extent that we're

financing future seasons and episodes

and we're

as i talked to you now i'm going to be

leaving for texas in just a day

to go uh shoot the second half of season

two it's working

um but doing it outside the system

allows us to not have to think about i

really when i'm writing

i don't think about how it's gonna come

across i don't think about who i'm gonna

offend or not offend

that's the beauty of it i mean i mean i

guess now i mean the great thing with

the channels of distribution we have

as opposed to 20 years ago is that you

can do something like this and you can

get

you know this ground swell behind you to

go ahead and produce a show

and you know 20 years ago it would have

been very

difficult i mean you go back 30 or 40

years ago

you know it would have been harder to do

it but also

you didn't necessarily have the push

back

from some of the networks i mean now

there's so much sensitivity and not

wanting to offend people that you know

trying to get

you know your show on you know major

network

would be almost impossible because the

pushback against it would stop it it

doesn't matter about how many people

want to watch it how many people

subscribe to it

it's about those two or three people who

say like

oh yeah this offends me so let's cancel

this show

um you know i i go back to some of the

um

you know christian movies i saw maybe 20

or 30 years ago and they were very very

lame

and you know the same thing with the

music you know going back then i mean it

was

it was very very poor now i understand

you know that people had the right heart

and stuff but i don't think people at

that time understood the market

i mean i remember when i was you know

back in college in england

um i was in the christian union uh

and this guy bought and this rap tape

this christian rap

tape right and this was like 1990 okay

and he played this tape for us and it's

literally on tape and it's uh

it went along the lines of uh oh here's

the holy book

let's open it up and take a look now i

wasn't expecting like

you know kind of mad kind of hip-hop

type stuff

but you listened to it and it was

cringing and then it did take a long

time

for i guess christian music to actually

get some good artists and actually

break in you know to the to the norm

and i think it's the same thing with

like you know tv and stuff

introducing religion into secular tv

was very difficult unless somebody has

some good funding behind it and you

could get

you know you could be put in a position

whereby

you know all right i mean i don't think

now i mean i think it's impossible i

mean if you wanted to go on any network

you couldn't get an outlandish kind of

like christian

you know based show on there but

independently now i mean obviously you

can do it and you can get

crowdfunding which is fantastic because

you know i mean you know you've got

believers there who want to put the

money there and get the message out

that's awesome and i think it we're in a

better position now than we were

20 30 40 years ago honestly

yeah for sure because we you know the

the golden rule in hollywood is he who

has the gold makes the rules

and when you're beholden to the networks

and the streaming services

or 20 years ago when there weren't any

streaming services uh there was a

certain amount of studios and a certain

number of networks that controlled

everything

that's their right i mean they they

earned it they they worked their way up

and built these companies

um but there didn't there wasn't much of

an alternative which i don't think is

great for art

in general whether it's christian art or

otherwise i think the more diversity we

have the better

and the more independence that people

can have to create their own stuff the

better

but yeah that's the beauty of this is we

don't we're not beholden to anyone other

than

god and our you know the people who

finance this show who we want to please

um but they know even our investors are

the

people who support the show know and

they knew from the beginning look we're

we're we're just we're doing what we

believe is best for this show

and uh you know if you like what you see

then continue to support it but if not

that's okay too

um and we just we're not like we even

just on our social media we have a huge

social media following now that we

we develop every day and occasionally

we'll do a meme

or or i'll do a video or something that

is irreverent

or funny or um you know

like i remember once we we wished

everyone a happy halloween and there

were a handful of people who were just

horrifically offended because they think

halloween is of the devil and

they couldn't believe that a jesus show

would would say happy halloween

and it's just kind of like you know okay

like we we and then some people will be

like well why aren't you apologizing

and and i'll say well because we didn't

do anything wrong like we

we're not gonna we're not gonna live in

this world where

just because someone's offended then

that means you have to then change what

you're doing

now of course i'm sensitive to to people

and i'm sensitive

to god and i don't want to do things

that are wrong but

just just because someone's offended

doesn't mean that something wrong

happened and

right so that's again that independence

that we have is great because we can

just say

okay you know you know what look we're

not for everybody and that's that's

perfectly fine but we

we don't belong to someone who's gonna

tell us

you just bothered someone we've decided

that we're going to cancel you or we've

decided that you need to apologize we

decided you need to change

and and tone down the show to make it

more palatable for more people

um that's just not how we're going to

operate and and and we have the freedom

to do that and

it's great yeah and i think that

i don't know if it exists so much now

but i think between

the early 90s and maybe early 2000s

there was a

push back against halloween and you know

a lot of evangelical

christians were

i guess segmenting in terms of oh if you

believe this you celebrate this this is

rounds

very anti-christian but the thing is i

mean you know jesus at no

point did he come to divide people you

know he ate with prostitutes and

tax collectors and everything else and

it wasn't

his presence there wasn't to be like oh

i

approve of prostitution i you know

approve of

you know non-representative tax

collection it's the point where i will

meet the sinner where they are at

and you know with halloween i mean you

can pull in

you know a lot of similarities with

christmas in terms of yeah it has a lot

of pagan

you know origins and you know christmas

as it's presented a lot of the time in

church

and by christianity isn't really how it

kind of came about

but it's the idea behind it but the

moment you start dividing people and

saying oh yeah you're not worthy

you celebrate halloween so don't bother

coming to church and all their stuff

that's i think that's the most damaging

thing you can do

again it's about bringing people to god

and

getting them to see that like look as

long as you take your focus away from

maybe what you're celebrating or you

know

deifying and understanding that jesus is

law

then that's kind of mission accomplished

in a way

this i don't think there's anything

wrong with christians celebrating

halloween

in the same way that you take the pagan

origins there's nothing wrong with

you know christians celebrating

christmas you know it just seems these

different labels and all these things

get moved around

but the ultimate goal is getting people

to have a relationship with christ

you know it's not about the holidays

it's not about the hallmark cards it's

not about what's showing on tv

we've got to bring people to christ

yeah if we're going to if there's going

to be division it should be for the

right thing that's that's the main point

is

christ you know had a had a message that

was pretty exclusive at times too i mean

he welcomed everybody but said i am the

way the truth and the life

i am the the savior and and we i i

believe that

in this show and we portray jesus as

such um

and but i think a lot of christians can

sometimes confuse that with well we're

going to be divisive we're going to be

exclusionary on everything anything that

we believe in

uh means that if you don't believe in it

you're not welcome

um and uh that's that's for god to

decide uh not for us and so

uh yeah that's that's one been one of

the cool things about the chosen twos

is that uh we have people involved in

the making of the show

that come from different faith

backgrounds in fact many of them come

from no faith background i mean i would

say well over half of our cast

are not believers um we have people on

the leadership team

i'm an evangelical the show comes from

an evangelical perspective and

it's not influenced by other faith

traditions but we have catholics and

mormons and

messianic jews and and and orthodox jews

and

agnostic or secular jews and

total non-believers all working on the

show contributing to it

that doesn't impact the content the

content again is evangelical and

biblical but

um you know we we are

we are a a place where

if you want to contribute to getting

this show out to the world you're

welcome and if you want to support the

show you're welcome if you want to

comment on our social media

and uh coming from a different

perspective this show has

has seemed to unite people from all

different faith traditions

because we're focused on jesus we're not

focused on religion we're not focused on

the things that tend to trip us up uh

most of which all came

after jesus was here we're focusing on

portraying the authentic jesus

and uh and people seem to be on board

with that well

i think you know and some people get

this entire misconception about social

media that

you know from a christianity perspective

the people you should be aiming at are

the people who give you the down votes

you know the upvotes are already in your

corner

but the people who give you the down

votes it's those people where you've got

to find

and maybe meet them where they're at and

kind of see

why they're not connecting you know

where their issue is like i said

you know you can have your cheerleaders

behind you those are not the people you

need to convince

and you know from a christianity

perspective i mean

really meeting those people who just

agree with what you do

or maybe criticize you know certain

episodes and how you portray things

things i mean those are the people who

really want to reach out to you know

those people who

you know maybe need that love in terms

of understanding that

why they don't like something is not

about how you've portrayed it and how

you've written it it's about their own

circumstance

and maybe healing them in terms of how

you portray

certain things yeah that's true to some

extent i mean i think

what we find is that the vast majority

of criticism that we get

is from believers who are angry

you know for whether because we wish

people a happy halloween or because we

portray things that weren't explicitly

in scripture

or because we portray something is

differently than how they would do it or

we made a joke on social media that they

don't like

or they think that it's you know we'll

you know we'll make it

we'll make a joke about our actors and

they'll they'll respond as though we're

we're mocking god himself and and uh

and so i think there is a point to where

we go

yeah our job is to make a show we can't

we can't make everybody happy and and

you know if you're going to bring your

own biases or or prejudices

to this conversation we just don't have

time to make everything right so i think

there's a point to where we can't please

everybody

but what to your point um i don't

make the show when i'm writing i'm not

writing thinking about

the audience per se i'm not thinking

about well how do i make sure that they

understand it how do i make sure that

they like it

i mean as an artist you want to do that

in general anyway

but i'm i'm genuinely in a place in my

life spiritually and

artistically where

my primary responsibility is to please

god and and

my wife um other than that i'm not

thinking strategically

i'm just trying to tell the best story

that i can the most authentic story that

i can in a way that honors god honors

christ

the story the gospels the intention and

character of the scriptures

and of jesus and the rest is not up to

me so

there on one hand is yes absolutely an

attempt to connect with the audience in

an attempt to

reach people where they're at especially

people who are hurting especially people

who are

broken especially people who who don't

believe in christ and who are looking

for something

for sure we are providing resources for

them in abundance

but if you're if if when you come to us

or when you come to watch our show or

social media

and you're coming at it from a

perspective of what is there that i can

point out that i don't like

what about this can i take issue with so

that i can

be the truth police and come down on you

anytime you step outside of my box

we don't we don't really have as much

time for that and we don't really

take time when we're even writing the

show to try to please those people

i think there is it is it is nuanced

sure i i think

you know whenever it comes to you know

christianity

you know the people who are most

disturbed by the truth

you know the ones who are really

searching you know a lot of the time you

get believers who

get you know so finite about oh well

you know church should start this time

and

be on this day and you know you should

only do this do that you shouldn't

mention halloween and everything else

those people are kind of

it's not a point they're not the unsaved

as such but they're people who get

so bogged down into

this kind of division and

i i don't know how to i don't think

anybody knows how to deal with that in

modern day

in terms of how people you know deal

with this stuff which doesn't matter i

mean i can't remember the verse

but yeah it's the thing about

you know why you can't concentrate on

these things

which just don't matter you know the

primary things jesus is lord jesus

is my lord jesus came in the flesh you

believe those things you know you

confess your sins before god you're

forgiven

but it's not rocket science and this is

the thing like

and this is why you know every you know

tribe on earth it doesn't matter where

you go the message of the gospel is

very very simple but it's got to a point

where it's become over complicated in a

way that

people feel pressures that

they're not saved because they're not

doing this and not doing this and it

absolutely has nothing to do with the

gospel

and you know i don't think that the

majority of tv and movies really help

the situation because

i think this perfection portrayal of

jesus

and that if you don't meet this kind of

standard

then you fail and you're not accepted i

don't think

you know a lot of the uh christian

messages i guess

you know really concentrate as much on

grace that it doesn't matter

how much of a failure you are because

again going back to your show

you've got the biggest collection of

losers

probably in the history of the world who

gods use

to make the most fantastic things happen

and people aren't presented with that

now they

if they're a loser they're labeled a

loser they don't

get this that i can be it's something

fantastic

it's it's a society thing it's not a god

thing

and i think it's been differentiated to

the point where

people think i'm too fat i'm a loser i

can't do anything good ever

you know and i think you know one once

you take god out of secular society

that god can use it wherever you are it

doesn't matter what you think of

yourself it's not about what you think

of yourself what other people think

it's about what god thinks about you and

god can use you

to do the most mightiest things and

that's a hard message to get across

when it meets so much backlash nowadays

and i mean i'm

i am so happy you've done this show

i mean i really am i'm so proud of you

when i looked at it

yeah crowdfunding everything else

because we need it

we really need it more now than ever we

need it we need to tell people

you matter you you know god god can use

you

you know it doesn't matter where you're

at you know god can use you and i

love you know like i said the way you're

doing your show and

you know seen it from other people's

point of view

of you know god you know well if giving

people a better understanding of grace

is

is is the one thing that our show

accomplishes and then then for sure that

would be considered

a success i think the the the shepherd

you were going to say something

uh a minute ago yeah well

uh the wolf he kind of stole my thunder

there let's be honest

so no that that's cool what one thing

that i was kind of curious about to be

honest with you

is how much

you know you you have the story right

and kind of like the

wolf alluded to i mean there's no

spoilers here

everybody already knows the story but

you know the show's gotta end so

once the show ends do you have anything

in your mind of saying okay we we've now

finished

the story now what are we going to do

well you know i operate on what my wife

calls the manna program

uh which is when god gave manna to the

israelites each day

he actually told them don't store up any

extra if you do i'm going to make it rot

he wanted them reliant on him each day

for their

for for their sustenance and

i think that's what we are with this

show

um yeah we we intend to do seven seasons

but i'm not really focused on the

seventh season yet i mean we know where

the story is going to go we've plot

outlined it um you know while i'm

shooting season two we're already

writing season three

um but you know once the chosen

ends i'm gonna take probably a year-long

nap uh that's gonna be

my first priority and then yes uh you

know a lot of people are saying they'd

love to see the book of acts they'd love

to see us you know kind of pursue other

uh you know periods of of scripture

um and that's certainly on our on our

mind and uh but but

but right now we're we're thrilled just

to have the opportunity to do season two

and we're concentrating on making that

great it's really really hard to make a

good tv show

um i think we did i think we

accomplished that in season one

there's no guarantee that's going to

happen in season two and so right now my

focus is

100 on making sure that uh what what i

have in front of me is as good as it can

be

right and and one other thing that you

had mentioned earlier

you said you're headed down to texas for

filming

why'd you choose texas i mean other than

the fact that

this is god's country i was going to say

i mean i don't think i need to tell you

yeah i mean everybody loves texas but of

all the places you could have chosen

why texas well we shot season one

exclusively in texas

because there's actually a set out in

the middle of nowhere in a small town

called poolville

uh just outside of weatherford about an

hour from i know where that is cfw

there's a set that this woman built um

just

it was relatively small but it was kind

of a first century recreation of

capernaum and so it suited our needs for

season one

uh season two we we filmed the first

half um i've been back for about a month

we filmed the first half in utah they

have an incredible

jerusalem set out there that we made use

of and now we're back in texas

uh the landscape is actually quite

similar to israel in many ways

uh we have some roots there we have some

connections there uh we

we got opportunity to use land um in

midlothian

texas where there's 700 acres that we're

going to be able to use and build on and

build some sets on

my family and i are probably going to be

moving there uh in 2021

uh it's because we're setting up kind of

a long term uh here for the show so

there's multiple reasons between the

topography the connections we already

have

um and what we did in season one it it

just it's starting to make a lot of

sense so it won't be the only place we

film

we'll be back in utah occasionally as

well but um you know

we feel like uh there's a lot of places

in texas that are that feel like chosen

country we have a good base of support

there and

people really love the show and um you

know it makes a lot of sense for me and

my

for my family and i we're currently

living in illinois um

and uh which which is my hometown which

i grew up in which i love but

uh i think in many ways texas gives us a

lot more freedom

uh to do what we really love to do so

we're looking forward to the freedom

and you don't have to hide it you know

you love the food down here i mean it's

great barbecue

it's great mexican food i mean i eat

keto

i mean i'm i'm a high fat low you know

low carb

ketogenic diet so texas is made for me

so i'm

one of my favorite parts some of my

favorite restaurants in the entire world

are in texas so i can't wait i i think

we missed out

on calling the keto diet the texan diet

because that i i didn't even realize

that was a thing until

you know this keto stuff came along i

said well that's what i eat i eat a lot

of meat i eat a lot of cheese high fat

low carb i mean that's what living in

texas is yeah i mean it was the worst

last label to put on something and then

actually sell it

it's like oh you eat meat cheese

and occasionally a potato oh let's sell

it for 9.99

thing a week it's like yeah people have

been eating like this since

you know like 1800 it's it's not a thing

now going back a little bit um

do you feel that once you get the show

almost

off your chest what are you going to do

next and the way you're going to move in

terms of

is there any different way you can

conceive of

how you want to get you know the gospel

of christ across the minis

if you get through this seven seasons i

mean what's going to be the next step or

do you just feel

that was your mission well yeah like i

mentioned i mean we i'm really

concentrating on the next season and i

know that sounds like a cliche but i'm

not i really am not thinking ahead

um that far uh it's not like yeah

well it's well it's it's uh yeah right

but it's um

you know in in five you know where i'm

at in five years is none of my business

right god god god has that orchestrated

for me i'm just trying to follow his

plans so i mean that genuinely

um but we are working right now to build

i mean the chosen

has become such a source of nourishment

for so many people

and they they feel like the show has

introduced them to jesus in a way that

they've never

been before that we're trying to keep up

just with the demand for more

of that nourishment so we've got

devotional books that we've you know my

wife and her writing partner and i have

written

the first two are out now we have a

bible study curriculum coming out in

january uh

yeah this month um we have a

my dad who's the author of the left

behind books which were hugely popular

25 years ago

right um is writing the novel uh based

on the chosen

we've got a children's book that that

just came out

we're really trying and in the app

there's opportunities to watch the show

but also then to go deeper

to get we actually call it the deeper

dive where you can get deeper into the

stories deeper into the characters

deeper into the scriptures

um so we really do want to continue to

make this a a

a destination for people who want a

to go a little bit deeper or to meet

jesus in an authentic way so

um we'll continue to build on that i've

kind of thought that there's been a

under

representation of the end times

part in the bible i know it's a

difficult

thing to approach because it divides a

lot of christian

views you know the book of revelations

how much of it is symbolic

how much of it should be taken literally

but

you know there really has not been given

i guess

even somebody taking it commercially

you know anybody really running with

this this end times thing and i mean

you know if you really wanted to do it

2020 was probably the year to put out

that

biblical end times thing but

it always seems this kind of third rail

of topics which nobody will

touch in terms of christian media

whether it be like

podcasts books movies or anything and i

mean i know it's an

unknown but even in it it seems almost

too

delicate to even put a commentary on

you know the topic well that's that's

maybe true in the mainstream

um but i would i would i would argue

with you a little bit on that because i

you know

i mentioned left behind so my dad did

the left behind books which were a

cultural phenomenon for

for years

from the from the book side that was the

case and they tried to make some movies

the movies did well you know 20 years

ago on video but they never really kind

of got into the

they weren't i think big enough to

really make an impact in the mainstream

there's been quite a few movies made

about the end times

um but they're all they all tend to be

pretty low budget and and there's kind

of this little cult following of end

times movies

uh but i do think you're right that

there hasn't been anything on

that's been significant in in film and

television

uh i i hope to eventually change that i

mean i before my father dies i want to

give him

a left behind show or movie that that i

think that

those books really deserved and he

hasn't quite gotten it gotten it there

yet and um

so we we have been in discussions to

potentially do a show

like the chosen a multi-season show

based on left behind

um and and i think that could be just

because i think it's i think it's really

interesting and i think like you said

2020 was for sure

an opportunity to to bring all that

stuff to the forefront so it's certainly

on our radar

but uh but yeah it is challenging

because um

it's such a the book of revelation is so

weird

in uh in good and bad ways and uh

so we uh but i but i do think uh it's

it's it's something that i'd love to try

to tackle at some point

in my career as a is kind of the

definitive

left behind show yeah i mean i i would

absolutely love it if you did that i

mean i've read

the left behind series i mean i've read

all of those like multiple times and

you know i understand why people don't

necessarily want to touch

that in terms of a tv show and

everything because

you always the moment you start on that

you've got

critics from day one i mean even if you

just had a

100 christian audience you're gonna have

critics from day one because everybody

interprets

things differently i mean it's not like

you know the original gospels where

you know it's the eyewitness accounts

and again with your show i mean it does

you know a great job in terms of that i

mean there's no realm of

kind of oh well no i think they would

have seen that differently

because you know you're choosing it from

a character seeing it and that so they

saw it but

once you start getting into the later

books of the new testament i mean it

becomes

very difficult because

it's like you need you genuinely need

some divine knowledge to understand a

lot of the stuff i think in the gospels

you don't you just need to have an open

heart

you need to have some faith then you can

accept everything which is portrayed in

the gospels but once you get to the

later books

of the new testament you've really kind

of

got to have some divine knowledge to

really kind of understand what's going

on with stuff and

you know it's the thing that it's not

for everybody not everybody needs to

know

everything about what's going on and i

think that's where some people fall down

it's like well

you know we all need to know when when

the end day is or when this is happening

and the day crisis is returned no you

really don't that's not

that's not the thing that's not on the

agenda

so so dallas i'm curious you know

you being a filmmaker and getting into

this you've got to

have a at least maybe an inspiration

or kind of a favorite movie that

was made about the bible i mean i i

think back

of ten commandments with charlton heston

and i mean

what a great movie that was in in

thinking about the

ability that they had back then for

special effects and the way that it

looked but

was not the life of brian not that one

black friend

that was probably bigger in england i

did it was funny

but but was was there one of those old

you know kind of bible either a a movie

or a miniseries or whatever that maybe

you

you watched and was kind of an

inspiration to say you know what

that was cool now i want to do this yeah

i mean i think i think to some extent

the majority of them

were inspirations in in the in the

opposite way meaning

and i don't even mean i don't even say

that to criticize them it was more just

like a

okay that's been done that's been done

multiple times

i want to do something different um so

whether it was the way christ was

portrayed or the fact that they were

bible verse to bible verse miracle to

miracle um

you know the fact that uh they were

trying to fit a lot in and just

one one small dose uh

so most of it has been like a reaction

to what i've seen and hey i'm going to

do something completely different

i was inspired for sure as a child but

by the mini-series jesus of nazareth

which was on every year on you know i

think it was nbc

or uh but but i remember you know as a

believer

appreciating what looked like a pretty

epic

portrayal of my faith and what i

believed in so that was certainly

uh i think early on an inspiration the

passion of the christ

obviously is kind of the definitive um

portrayal of christ from the last 25

years

and um but but they did something that i

that i did like which was instead of

trying to tell

the big story in a small amount of time

they they focused in on one

small you know like one day basically um

you know one night

and they were able to then explore it in

its fullest extent

and i would say that when i describe the

chosen to people a lot of times i use

the passion of the christ as

an example not the style or the tone

it's actually quite melodramatic which

is

different from how the chosen is but

when you ask people what are your

favorite moments from the passion of the

christ

i i think pretty much everyone would

include

there's a scene where jesus flashes back

to a moment with his mother or his

mother is flashing back to it when

jesus is building a table and they yeah

he learns flashes her with water and

people mention that all the time and i

always say the chosen is

filled with all of those moments that's

what the chosen is yeah

and well well you're talking about

you're talking about that moment where

he's building the table

and she's saying oh nobody's gonna you

know sit at a table like this or

whatever

and it you know it's early in the movie

and you kind of have that little chuckle

and you say okay it kind of lightens you

up

and it's actually well done the way they

do it because you know you're going in

you know exactly what you're gonna see

kind of like the wolf had said before i

mean there's no

spoiler alert here this isn't

mandalorian season two

and luke scott walker appears at the end

of the mandalorian as a cgi

guy right i mean everybody knows the

story

so when you actually kind of see this

little

uh i don't know what you call it like an

editorial moment where you're like you

know maybe as a carpenter we all know he

was a carpenter

that he said hey you know what if we had

a table like this

and you kind of have that chuckle in it

and you kind of sit back

in the chair a little bit you're like

okay i'm going to relax now

i'm not going to be on the edge of my

seat i you know that

they've settled me and this is it's

gonna be serious

but at the same time i can kind of

settle in now you

you got me comfortable and yeah it feels

it feels human

it feels human it feels relatable it

feels like the kind of

shows that you normally would watch and

and i think that's one of the things

that's been a problem is so many jesus

projects

don't feel like anything you normally

would want to watch it's very formal

very staged

very presentational very reverent

reverence can be a good thing of course

but uh but sometimes it can detract you

from humanity and

and from being at all anything that you

can kind of engage with and so that's

that's one of the main things that i've

tried to do with the show

and that's you know one thing i was

thinking about when you're talking it's

it's almost easy to portray

the divinity of christ but

to betray the humanity of where

jesus came in the flesh that you know

there may have been a week or two weeks

where there was nothing

jesusy or godly going on it was just a

regular thing this is the whole thing

jesus came in the flesh that

you know betraying like jesus as a human

being

but without sin but having this

predestination i guess that you know

i think that's where people kind of lose

a little bit of connection

because you know people want idols and

especially nowadays you know i mean now

you've got music you've got

you know film and everything people want

idols and you know they crucify their

idols so the moment they make a mistake

but you know in terms of deity i think

people have

a difficulty in understanding that jesus

was

fully human and fully flesh and he

walked among us and

he was a human being and yeah he went

maybe a month or two months without

anything

wonderful or godly or miracly ever

happening but that was the thing

jesus came in the flesh he was one of us

it was god's son but

how do you you know relate to somebody

who didn't come like that i mean it's

the only deity in every religion

where somebody came and you know walked

among us

and was one of us i mean every other

religion has people

the moment they're introduced there's

some

type of god with superpowers like the

avengers whatever

jesus came in the flesh he was one of us

he was born in a manger ball in a lowly

life

you know jesus came in the flesh and i

think you know

trying to find that disconnect of how do

you get people to understand

you know there was a point in time where

jesus was

just like you he just lived today just

like you he pooped

he maybe ate a bad diet that day you

know maybe ate the equivalent of

nachos or a pizza that day but he came

in the flesh

you know he lived your life and you know

trying to jump from that i guess

and when you know because the gospels

you know when you're talking about a

game across

three years i mean that's really what it

covers

um is where people find it just very

difficult

you know just trying yeah he was just

like me for a time

just living my everyday life is perfect

and then he gave up his life and

saved the world i mean that that's you

know the hard

i don't know what he did now but you

know what i mean

yeah and he didn't know the way that

people didn't expect they wanted him to

be a military leader they thought he was

going to

kind of come in and establish this big

new kingdom and and be like an avenger

and

and uh he was the opposite in many ways

and um

yeah that's that's that's the hard thing

that people struggled with

back then and um and and and hopefully

you know now with a show like this we

can

introduce people to that concept and see

how it portray how it relates to today

and how we

we don't always get justice we don't

hear on earth we don't always get

exactly what we

want and sometimes we need to surrender

and be broken and

and concentrate on the personal the

personal relationships as opposed to

trying to get everything we want

politically

to try to try to establish revenge

try to establish um you know what we

want in the political sphere in the

government

we want christian nation we want our our

values to be the dominant values and

that's not what jesus promised

right yeah

have you traveled over to israel or

uh you know any place over there and

kind of

gotten some inspiration behind that just

you know

walked around said you know hey here's

the mount of olives or

or here's the old city of jerusalem or

whatever

you know in making this did did you go

over to that part of the world

to kind of get some inspiration yeah so

back in 2018 before we

launched the show i went uh to israel

with a few of my partners and a

messianic jewish rabbi named jason sobel

who

is one of our biblical and historical

consultants on the show and we spent a

week

i just i just had to be there before i

made the show i had to be where jesus

walked and

um and and go to the hometown of some of

the main characters from our show

like magdala where mary magdalene is

from in capernaum

which is where our first season is set

and uh yeah that was very important not

only just for

for spiritual connection but but for um

i don't know i mean you can always

research online but i think until you're

there and you can kind of feel

the tactile you know have the tactile

experience

and and and experience the history of

our of our

faith um and the jewishness of it i mean

i'm a gentile i'm an evangelical

uh american but um but it's important

for me to kind of experience the jewish

roots of my faith as well because that's

what uh

that's who jesus was you know and that's

that's the story of

of the savior is the story of the jewish

people uh first and foremost and so that

was an important thing to do for sure

and when you were over there wait was

there a surreal feeling

i mean when you're walking around all

these places that

you know historically i mean they all

exist you know

jerusalem's been there for years and all

that good stuff

and you're walking around and you're

saying to yourself

you know hey that this might be

somewhere where jesus and the disciples

camped out one night

or you know hey here's

you know the sea of galilee which is a

lake and they called it a sea

but you know hey we we know they fished

here

in all that that had to be kind of an

interesting feeling just to be around

all that

yeah for sure you know i think everyone

who goes there has a little bit of that

sense i

you know what's funny is the first

couple days i didn't feel like i had

that moment that people described where

you're standing where jesus stood and it

overwhelms you um it wasn't

i mean i certainly appreciated it and

was and loved it and went to the sea of

galilee in the

in the spot where uh simon called i mean

jesus called simon to follow him which

we portray in season one

and we did several videos that are on

our youtube channel where you can see

some really cool behind

behind-the-scenes insights into the

stories and

the places but it wasn't until i was in

magdala where mary magdalene's

birthplace was where i was standing in a

in a first century synagogue um where i

felt

really strongly like god was laying it

on my heart

um that that this show was going to be

the definitive portrayal of who his

followers were who jesus followers were

that was a big deal

and i felt god was just laying it on my

heart i'm not going to let you screw it

up

and uh and so that was that was key

being in magdala being in kind of those

some of those humble places uh to me

were more impactful than being in some

of these tourist locations where big

churches have been built

yeah now um i i understand why

the shepherd asks that question because

we were going to do a podcast in a few

weeks about

something called the jerusalem syndrome

and it was about people who

had basically you know traveled to

jerusalem

and just had this incredible

spiritual experience and connection

there

and you know not necessarily even gone

there for that reason

but it absolutely changed their lives

that

just walking in the footprints of christ

you know changes people and i you know i

have a

you know firm belief that you know

being in the environment or being where

people are

that you know you can pick up on that

energy i mean you can walk into a room

and know where

people have been arguing and stuff and

you know this is

kind of time stamp right in time and i

think

you know with like you know the holy

lands

that it's almost impossible for you to

go there and

you know walk in the places where jesus

went

and just not feel i i don't know just

something which connects with your soul

watch it just explains almost everything

to you there now if you could have

i don't know gone back and maybe

rewritten

how you did stuff with a show would you

have done

stuff differently you've shortened it

down from like you know i know you said

you want to do

seven seasons but would you have gone

about it maybe a different

way after you got like through the first

season and stuff

uh not at all to be honest with you um

and that's not to say that

i don't make mistakes um and that i'm

not an imperfect filmmaker and leader

and whatnot i certainly

am imperfect but uh this this project i

i surrendered it to god um from the

beginning you know i mean this project

was birthed out of failure my

my previous feature film which came out

in january of 2017

called the resurrection of gavin stone

which is a film that i'm very proud of

and

and uh still love but but it failed at

the box office and i

gave up trying i i basically said god if

you don't want me to make another movie

that's fine and

um i'm just going to surrender to i just

want to do what you want it's not my job

to feed the 5000 it's only my job to

provide the loaves and fish

and i'm not going to i'm not going to

worry about success or failure anymore

i'm

just going to worry about making sure

that the loaves and fish that i do make

are the best and healthiest they can be

and if you decide to do something with

it that's up to you but i'm i'm i'm done

done trying so hard and uh so that

that's led to the chosen and that's why

the chosen is where it is

yeah well when i read actually on the

thing of your show

and it said about oh it's the largest

crowd

you know funded source ever

you know when i was reading through it i

thought yeah

i mean this would have been funded

regardless a minute

you know i i if god wants to put his

message across

it doesn't matter how or where that

money is going to come

from i mean it might be somebody dying

and leaving you like

nine million dollars it might be

whatever i really genuinely think

from when i read through that you know

your show is from god it's what god

wants you to do

and the money and everything else is

going to come along to make your show

because i think it's a very important

thing i mean and you know looking at i

had time to watch you know an episode

and a half today before we did

um this podcast and i think it's a

beautiful thing and

you know it's definitely god ordained

and i

guarantee you know god's blessing and

spirit is upon this show

i mean i'm i'm happy at making it man i

honestly am

it's great to hear you and i can't wait

to see what you think after you watch

all eight episodes because i think it

just gets

the first episode and a half or just the

setup you know in many ways

but uh but ultimately uh yeah we you

know i'm

i'm following god's lead on this and

that's

that if i can get through all seven

seasons

uh as broken and surrendered and as in

in in his will as i am now uh that'll be

that'll be the success

yeah so so i i've got a interesting

question because

you know people listen to podcasts they

tend to

go a little bit on the conspiratorial

side

seven seasons the world was created in

six days

and god rested on the seventh day is

there any connection there

i mean did you say it's got to be seven

because the number seven

goes in the bible a lot

yeah did you say it's got to be seven

seasons

you know you're talking about you're

you're about to start filming you know

the second season

and you've already got like seven

seasons is there anything there is

a coincidence a little bit um

we were originally thinking eight

seasons uh

game of thrones was eight seasons and

you know we thought that's a

you know there was kind of a a nice

story to be told about how we're kind of

a

we're trying to also reach a billion

people like game of thrones reached and

it was just something interesting about

that

and one of our partners just said you

know uh

for two reasons one we want to get this

out as quickly as possible

we feel a sense of urgency the world

seems to be going crazy

and so that you know let me can we tell

the story in seven instead of eight just

that it's

it's out there quicker that was part of

it and then yes absolutely the fact that

seven is for sure

a biblical number a holy number in many

ways that that contributed to it as well

but it wasn't it wasn't the driving

force it's not like when i first set out

to do this it was seven because seven is

a biblical number it and

that kind of revealed itself over time

yeah that makes sense it makes total

sense but you

you also have to appreciate the fact

that i mean

people are gonna look at the fact and

say okay well that number seven

he's already saying seven seasons uh all

that good stuff i mean

you know i had to ask the question of

course sure and if they wanna

and and i'm not gonna dissuade them of

that if they if they wanna believe that

there was some sort of

uh grand plan from the beginning

but you know certainly god had a grand

plan and if we end up doing seven

because

uh you know i may think the reasons are

because of

that's how the story worked out and god

may be chuckling going no i had seven in

mind all along because it because i have

a thing with the number seven

and i have since day one so

perfectly fine now how would you have um

30 years ago made this show

because i know that like obviously the

channels the distribution you've had to

you know get the money through different

sources but

if we go back 30 years right 1990

how would you have gone about making

this show i mean i don't i don't know

that it could have been done

um you know we could have potentially

gotten the funding in the same way that

we did now i mean

crowdfunding online didn't exist back

then but

you know it's possible that i could have

you know convinced

certain investors to to to come forward

with a show like this

um but you know that wouldn't have

gotten the traditional distribution i

mean we would have had to invent

something like we have now so

um you know they it's the cliche is

necessity is the mother of invention

um you know my my partners at vid angel

which is the streaming service that

invented the app

that this show is now watched on it's

it's new technology

this technology that allows you to just

go i mean i could go to your house and

if you have a roku or an apple tv or a

fire stick

i could you know grab my phone pull up

my chosen app

and connect it directly to your roku

with no

uh subscription or anything that's

technology that they created

and uh so you know would they have

created it back in 1990 of course not

you know because

the internet wasn't you know what it was

what it is today

so i don't know i mean honestly and i i

don't mean this to do

to dismiss the question at all it's just

i don't i

i'm in a place now where i don't get

caught up in the past or the future i'm

really just like look right now all i'm

doing is whatever god's allowing me to

do which is

which is season two i start filming that

in just a few days

and uh and i'm grateful that he held off

this show

until i you know he felt like i was

ready to make it

well that was absolutely why i asked you

that question because

you know god has perfect timing

it's funny reading when people say oh if

jesus

came today it'd be a socialist or it'd

be this and be that it's like

well it's a stupid question because he

came at the time

which was the most perfect time in

history you know he

didn't come today because almost nobody

would have accepted him

you know he came at the time which was

the perfect time and that's why i asked

you that question because

yeah 30 years ago you could not do what

you were doing now

right god ordained what you're doing now

for you to do it now

right this is the perfect time for you

to do it now and that's why i always

find it kind of almost comical when

people ask those questions about you

know how would you have done this this

and theirs

if jesus is alive then no god's timing

is perfect

and so you're out exactly where you need

to be at

you know in god's timeline you know and

it's

it's gonna be what it's gonna be and i

mean

like i said i mean it's i i absolutely

love the fact

that despite the way

you know a lot of you know media is in

terms of how it leans

that we can still have you know

somebody like you coming out with a

sincere

christian content and have an avenue to

be able to

for people who actually want to be able

to listen to it and watch it

it be there because that wasn't always

there i mean we i think we went through

a dark period of three decades where

christian contempt it wasn't

you know necessarily like prejudicial

against it

but there just was not an avenue to

maybe

you know put it out there and there

wasn't i mean between like

1980 and 2010 there weren't any

christian shows or christian movies on

tv and there was no avenue

for you to put that stuff out there now

if anybody you know you know god puts a

spirit in somebody like you

you can go out there and make a show and

you've got an avenue you've got

distribution channel

and you can get that out there so i mean

i think this is the best time in history

really for

you know people to be able to get out

the you know gospel of christ

because you know there's not the

barriers we don't have to wait for

somebody to write a checkbook

if you'd be able to get the message out

there yeah and because of the app we're

able to get into countries

that like iran and china that are you

know that are hard to sometimes get

books or traditional movies into people

in china and iran can just download the

app directly and not have to worry about

it

um and so that's been a huge thing just

those barriers being removed have been

has been huge for the show uh covid was

what i mean

this is a horrible thing to say but

kovit was the best thing for the chosen

um it's what caused everyone to start

watching it you know they were in their

homes they had time

and uh the show exploded once coveted

hit

especially when we when coveted hit we

decided to give the show away for free

for a few weeks and then we haven't

looked back since then it's been free

since then

and i think god again that was part of

his plan and god said not not

not covet i don't think it was part of

god's chosen plan

um you know i don't think that's why

covert exists but i'm just saying

it's god's plan for the chosen was

was for sure accelerated by kovid which

allowed us to say all right let's just

make it free you know while people are

home let's do this

kind of as an act of goodwill and uh

immediately our income quadrupled

you know that's how god's impossible

math works and so yeah there's no other

better time and that's a perfect

perfect uh summary for you to give is

that you know there really is no better

time than than now

uh god's timing is perfect and we i'm i

just feel very fortunate to be part of

it

yeah and and sure especially if you look

at any of the

news articles or whatever that's going

on with the ajikova that we're in right

now

uh everybody streaming netflix and i'm i

mean i wouldn't have cared about the

tiger king

and you know what happened with this guy

in oklahoma having all these tigers or

whatever but

you know you get stuck and you're like

well you know i gotta

i gotta watch something i i gotta

entertain myself and

it was kind of that perfect storm and

that is an absolute lie you came in

to the office and asked me have you

watched the tiger king i said no

and you said you need to watch the

taking and then i then

for three days i like watch the whole of

the tiger king so yeah

yeah but it was all in this age of cover

that we're in right now yeah probably

wouldn't have watched it but it it was

entertaining enough to where i said hey

you know i'm gonna watch this but

at least you've got some some great

content so

coming coming down to texas

uh just you know a plug for

for me in the wolf here you know if you

need

you know a shepherd to walk around in

the background or whatever

or you know somebody that is a british

and a horrible actor to

you know walk around i mean we're

available

i i'm just saying that i wouldn't mind

being an extra

but yeah well so noted uh you know right

now

uh extras who you know in the age of

coveted we

were a bit of a bubble so we can't have

as many visitors as we would have liked

and

uh unfortunately but yeah no it'd be fun

uh look i mean most jesus movies from

back in the day were all british anyway

so this wouldn't be uh

it would it would probably make people

feel like they're back home you know

watching a show where

for some reason jewish people in first

centuries are all have british accents

yeah well we got to make sure to to let

everybody know that

jesus did not have a british accent

right

but god does yeah yeah oh oh

oh oh i don't know about all that

yeah i know okay now now you're gonna

make the wolf all happy

that that god has a british accent so

yeah

i i think we speak the true english

in in i guarantee jesus

used the semi-colon

he invented it for sure he invented it

for sure i appreciate that

yep well dallas we certainly appreciate

you joining us for this

and uh can you give us just kind of an

outro

how to find the show how to download the

app uh

all that good stuff you know this is

your time to shine

give us the plugs well thank you yeah if

you want to watch the show it's actually

it's quite easy

uh you can just wherever you get your

apps on your phone whether that's google

play or

the app store you just look up to chosen

we're very easy to find you download it

to your phone

if you're thinking i don't want to watch

a show on my phone i agree with you i

don't either so that's why they

we have this technology where now you

can directly connect

your chosen app to your streaming device

apple tv roku firestick chromecast

you can watch it on your television

totally free totally easy

no subscription no money no nothing i

promise you it is

you can be watching on your tv within

minutes

from downloading the app it's super easy

and uh you can join

literally millions of people around the

world who are who've been doing it and

uh we we use the term binge jesus

there's so many great things to binge

all over the world but if you're going

to binge on something

it might as well be jesus and the

stories of the gospel so check out

season one

on uh the chosen app and uh i'm i'm

fairly fairly confident

that you'll you'll appreciate it yeah

and and by the way

not not to hijack this but i did see the

picture i believe it was your boy

that had the t-shirt that said binge

jesus

was that your son or somebody else's kid

um perhaps i mean a lot of we sell that

shirt so a lot of people

have yeah so if you go to uh

thechosenmerch.com i don't want to give

too many

websites and stuff because i know

they're not forgetting but if you go to

uh

thechosenmerch.com uh we have been jesus

shirts we have

um you know shirts that uh

from from the show and hoodies and a

calendar and uh we're

we tried to avoid having a bunch of

trinkets make it feel like a gift store

or anything but there's some really cool

stuff that people love so yeah so a

bunch of people have been wearing the

bench jesus shirts have really gotten

popular just because i think it's a nice

conversation starter out in public yeah

no it's great

so dallas we certainly appreciate you

joining us and

uh you know i i know you fit us in here

it is it's january 1.

i i know this isn't going to come out

january 1 but

uh we'll just kind of leak that out that

we're actually doing it on the

new year 2021 and for you to take some

time

out of your day to talk to us we

certainly appreciate it

and we hope everybody is gonna check out

this show

uh i'm gonna binge watch it uh i

i went home today uh we had a interview

earlier

in my kids binge watch cobra kai

and so i've got to catch up on that but

i've already told the wife

hey we we've got to catch up on this

show i

honestly i i didn't know about show

gotta be honest with you and that's why

i kind of wanted to get in contact with

you

and say you know hey what what's this

going on i

i think any kind of you know outlet that

you can have

to spread the news about what you're

doing

uh you need to do and and it it looks

great and

please keep up the good work and and

keep doing this and

well thanks so much and yeah i uh i i

we've heard from families everywhere

um that this is the kind of show that i

didn't expect this to happen but it's

been drew teenagers

uh children as young as six years old

are obsessed with the show so

uh yeah my family and i we're gonna be

binging cobra kai uh we're in season two

right now we'll be binging that tonight

but uh but i i hope you you you uh check

out with your family

uh the chosen it's the kind of thing you

won't have to force your kids to watch

uh kids have really really enjoyed it so

thanks thanks for that and uh

we'll talk again after you've seen it

absolutely

thank you so much dallas and thanks for

tuning in to this episode of the wolf

and

the shepherd we'll catch you on the next

one thanks man

thank you bye

 

Dallas Jenkins

Director/Writer/Producer

Dallas Jenkins is an American film and television director, writer and film producer. He is best known as the creator, director and co-writer of The Chosen, the first multi-season series about the life of Christ, and the highest crowd-funded media project of all time.