Roma Downey on faith and The Bible
Roma Downey is the producer of the US hit series The Bible that will be aired on Channel 5 here in the United Kingdom.
Roma is best known for playing the role of Monica in 'Touched by an Angel.
She also tries to share the word of God in her daily life and most recently through the Bible TV series she created with her husband Mark Burnett.
The release of this series in the United Kingdom has been highly anticipated by the Christian community in the UK after it proved a huge hit in the US, bringing in the highest cable television ratings for the year.
Would you say you have a personal relationship with God?
Roma: I have loved Jesus my whole life and it has been such a privilege for me. To be able to marry my work and God together has been such a blessing. I had the privilege of playing an angel on 'Touched by an Angel' for many years - almost two decades, and we would deliver a message on the show. The message was that God loves them, and before filming every scene we would come together and pray. The prayer we would say was 'Less of me and more of you'.
Did you pray on the Bible series set?
Roma: Right before filming The Bible, I would also pray before filming scenes, my prayer was 'use me'. Pastor Rick Warren said 'Use me' is the most dangerous prayer you can say. And I must say that there was a lot of boldness in tackling the Bible but we moved forward forcefully and we were humbled and thrilled to create this great epic about the greatest story ever told.
When will the series be aired in the UK?
Roma: It will air on Channel 5 hopefully by Christmas and there will be quite a bit of promotions for it. In the United States we had over 13.1 million viewers tune in to watch the series so we have been very blessed with the success of the series. It's been all over the social media sites, Twitter, Facebook and more.
What was it like producing the Bible series?
Roma: It's been four years in the making and it's been challenging. It was a very large project because we cover a lot of stories in the Bible from Genesis right through the Old Testament. This was such an important project for us and throughout the production and each step of the way we worked with scholars and theologians to ensure we were accurate in telling these stories. I was very fortunate because while I was filming the scenes portraying Mary my children were able to come down to Morocco because it was during the Easter weekend, and having my kids there comforted me a lot and really helped me.
Growing up in Northern Ireland, were you always quite religious?
Roma: I grew up in a house full of faith and my mother died when I was a little girl and I found comfort in my faith. I have always had a deep connection with my faith and I was fortunate to have been brought up in a Christian environment. My faith is a very important part of who I am.
What was it like portraying the role of 'Mother Mary' in the series?
Roma: It was so moving for me to play the role of Mary. I have always loved Jesus and I love his mother, and as a mother myself I could relate. I was able to feel Mary's pain and understand the love she had for son. Watching Jesus being crucified was really heart wrenching for a mother to witness. Originally I was not meant to play the role of Mary, we had not cast her yet until we were in the middle of the production in Morocco, and my husband suggested I do it, and I did.