Fox News
February 21, 2014

'Son of God' chronicles the life and death of Jesus Christ

Guests: Mark Burnett, Roma Downey

This is a rush transcript from "Hannity," February 21, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Another clip from the brand-new blockbuster, "Son of God." And joining us now, we continue with the filmmakers, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett.

All right, there were times -- when I last interviewed you, Roma, you told me that you felt that -- that you had signs or a feeling or a belief that God was there while you were filming this and that he wanted this project to happen. Remember that?

ROMA DOWNEY, FILMMAKER: Yes, of course, I remember it. We prayed -- from the beginning of this project, we prayed that we would -- that we would be able to tell the story effectively, make those emotional connections, and tell the story truthfully.

When we were on set and we were about to shoot the crucifixion sequence, which was the most challenging of sequences logistically, spiritually, emotionally -- we asked everybody we knew to send prayers to make sure that we would get through that one.

And we had a man whose job it was on the set to clear snakes and scorpions. And on any given day, maybe he cleared one or two snakes. On the morning of the crucifixion, he got up to the set and he had a cloth bag on the side of the road that was writhing. And had cleared over 40 snakes from around the foot of the cross.

And you know, I think the symbolism of the snake wasn't lost on any of us, and we couldn't help but feel it was like a spiritual clearing had gone in ahead. And we certainly have felt all through the project, all through the film, that there has been a kind of spiritual clearing, because I think that this film is very important, particularly for our new generation that they would know and understand Jesus, that they would have an opportunity to see what an amazing man he was and how much God loved us that he sent us Jesus.

HANNITY: Let me ask this -- the clip that we just showed -- and we'll get to -- Father Morris is in the audience here and he's going to probably correct me in 10 seconds because I'm probably going to be wrong. But I actually went to a seminary in high school, and that biblical sequence where, Who do you say that I am, and Peter says, You're the son of the living God, and he says, Flesh and blood didn't reveal this to you, my father revealed it unto your heart -- the Catholic church takes this, Peter, Petrus (ph), rock, and upon Peter the rock, the pope.

And I've always thought there was a more spiritual element to that, where he knew that he was the son of God because it was revealed to his heart. Father Morris will argue with me in a minute, right? No, you agree with me? All right. You -- and this is what you do in the movie. You take big biblical stories -- Jesus walking on water, Jesus saying to Peter, I'll make you a fisher of men, the last supper, the crucifixion -- you go through -- you don't tell all the -- the whole story, but you told snippets and you put it all together. How did that decision-making process come about?

MARK BURNETT, FILMMAKER: This movie was being edited -- I mean, just so you know, we were only a few weeks into making "The Bible" series when Roma said, We should (INAUDIBLE) Jesus -- you know, Diogo Morgado portraying Jesus on the screen -- she said, Mark, this should be a big movie. This should be seen in community on the big screen. And we decided, OK. Had no idea how it would get it distributed. We started making it.

And we knew the responsibility, Sean, of that. We'd done about 30 versions over a year just trying to get the feeling. We didn't want to tell people what to think or how to feel. We just wanted to present the story...

HANNITY: Just tell the story.

BURNETT: ... so you felt it and you'd seek more. And all those things you mention -- that moment there, where finally, the disciples have realized now it's the son of God. They'd been following a charismatic leader at this point, who may have been the next King David to fight the Romans. And...

HANNITY: It also shows their weakness, though. They all ran when he was arrested. Peter did deny him three times. That's all included in the movie. But you did take part -- I did notice, at least I felt I did, part of the miniseries was in the movie. But it's mostly new material built around it, right?

DOWNEY: Yes. So as Mark mentioned, we would do these screenings every week in Morocco. We had an editor with us, and we would put the assemblies (ph) up. We'd invite the cast and the crew to come in when we were making "The Bible" series. And as the Jesus narrative started to unfold and we just saw how extraordinary it was, we decided there and then to start shooting additional footage.

HANNITY: So you actually shot all of this before the miniseries came out.

DOWNEY: Yes.

HANNITY: It was all shot at once.

DOWNEY: Absolutely. It was all shot at the same time.

HANNITY: Not knowing you were going to do the movie for sure.

DOWNEY: No, we knew we would put a movie together. What we didn't know was what kind of life the movie would have. We thought perhaps we would do special events screenings, that sort of thing. We showed it to a few people. They said, You've really got to send this out to the studio, it's so good. And then 20th Century Fox called and said, We love this. We're going to distribute it in 3,000 theaters. And we're going to distribute it not just in English but in Spanish, as well.

HANNITY: All right, let me -- there's only one controversy as it relates to the movie versus the miniseries. And I asked -- when you were last on the program -- you have images in the miniseries where you have the devil walking across. And people said, Oh, they chose somebody that looks like Obama. All right, there, OK. And that didn't show up in the movie. On purpose, not on purpose?

DOWNEY: Absolutely on purpose.

HANNITY: You took it out on purpose.

DOWNEY: I did. I absolutely wanted the devil on the cutting room floor.

HANNITY: Really? Why?

DOWNEY: I felt that the conversation that ignited after that moment in the miniseries served to be such a distraction. And this movie, "Son of God," is a movie about Jesus, and I just didn't want to give Satan anymore air time.

HANNITY: Thought he had too much air time from media?

DOWNEY: I thought he got way too much air time.

HANNITY: Did anybody -- because it does look a little like Obama. You didn't see that when...

DOWNEY: Well, listen, it was never the intention. I'm -- I was...

HANNITY: Do you regret that it was in the first one?

DOWNEY: Well, I regret that it became the distraction that it became. You know, we were expecting Jesus on the screen. I was sure that everybody would be speaking the name Jesus, that that would be the point of conversation around the water cooler.

HANNITY: And then this came up, yes.

DOWNEY: And then I thought, Isn't that just like the devil to be the narcissist that he is that it somehow became all about him because, you know, it's in this spiritual warfare of light and darkness. You know, when you do something that's filled with light, as this is -- the intention of this is to shine a light in the dark -- that the darkness pushes back.

And so, anyway, maybe it gave me too much pleasure to say that the devil was on the cutting room floor, but -- but that's where he is and that's where he remains.

HANNITY: That's where he will remain and will forever remain.

DOWNEY: Get behind me. Get you behind me, Satan.

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