Juan Pablo Di Pace says 'unconditional love' was key to playing Jesus

Actor Juan Pablo di Pace as Jesus Christ(Photo: NBC)

"A.D.: The Bible Continues" star Juan Pablo Di Pace discussed his approach to playing the significant role in an intimate interview published last week. 

Di Pace plays Jesus on the new series, and prepared for the part by sleeping in the desert for three nights. 

"It was just the stars and me," he recounted. "Whenever I had doubt about a scene in the show, I would always go back to that moment where I was just focused and quiet."

The dramatic series premiered on Easter Sunday, and is a high-intensity interpretation of the Bible following the crucifixion of Jesus.

Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's "The Bible" miniseries, which launched during Easter 2013 on The History Channel, ended with the crucifixion of Christ, and that is where the new series begins.

The lives of King Herod's family, Roman politicians, temple priests, and Jesus' disciples are followed in the series, and the trailer shows how profoundly the death of Christ affected those in Jerusalem and beyond.

The politicians of the era must grapple with civil unrest and rumors of Christ's resurrection, and there are concerns that Jesus' disciples will be hunted and killed if they continue to preach in His name.

Di Pace said that unconditional love centred him in his portrayal of Christ. 

"How would life be if every single thing we do is through love?" he asked. "That was the biggest, biggest thing for me.

"You really hone in on what you're saying and what you're feeling. Everyone thinks they know Jesus because they've got a personal relationship with him. Ultimately, it was about listening exactly to those words and looking at people with unconditional love."

"A.D.: The Bible Continues" airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.