Actor Bruce Marchiano is no stranger to portraying Jesus on the big screen, appearing in countless Christian films like “Jesus the Christ,” “The Encounter” and its sequel, “The Encounter: Paradise Lost,” among a plethora of other projects.
Marchiano, who currently stars in Pure Flix’s original scripted TV show based on the “Encounter” films, told Faithwire on Tuesday that it’s a “great privilege to represent Jesus” — something he’s being doing in various forms since 1993.
“It’s just equally the most exciting and humbling and responsibility-laden and fear and trembling experience I could ever imagine,” he said. “It’s the pinnacle of excitement and joyousness, and it’s the pinnacle of responsibility and heartbreak.”
Marchiano said playing Jesus over the years has given him a glimpse into God’s “heartbreak over peoples’ lostness” — an exploration he said has been both exciting and heart-rending.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of Marchiano’s experience is that he has played Jesus in both past and contemporary contexts. In “The Encounter” films and TV show, for instance, Jesus is depicted with a short haircut, jeans and other modern-day garments, as he interacts with individuals in the modern-era and profoundly changes their lives.
“For me, as an actor focusing on the characterization of Jesus, there’s no difference at all whether it’s a biblical period piece or whether it’s a comtemporary piece,” Marchiano said. “Jesus is the same yesterday, today and after. The heart of Jesus never changes and that’s really my focus, to just be Jesus to whoever’s sitting across from me.”
Marchiano said the eight-episode “The Encounter” TV series, which Pure Flix recently released on its online streaming service, went into production after fans voiced a great deal of demand for another installment of the feature films. The actor, in fact, said he has received daily emails and Facebook messages since 2010 asking for more — and now the TV show is delivering just that.
“What if you had a personal encounter with Jesus Christ?” asks an official description of the show. “Based on the popular movies, ‘The Encounter Series’ follows individual life stories and illustrates how an unexpected experience with Jesus Christ can shift lives into a new and purposeful direction.”
It’s a show Marchiano says hits at the core of the human experience.
“At the end of the day, the people hunger for (Jesus) and I think that’s part of the magic of the series,” he said. “An audience member puts himself in the shoes of the character opposite the Jesus character and begins to understand more and more (Jesus’) heart for them in their own struggles and conflicts.”
Watch the trailer for “The Encounter” here.
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