Photo by ©2012 A+E Networks, LLC / Photo Credit Joe Alblas
Some might find it hard to believe that the guy who has spent the last 14 years subjecting, albeit willing, participants to 39 days of starvation in remote locations is a religious guy. But the mastermind behind Survivor has such deep faith that he and his wife, Roma Downey, recently launched a series on History highlighting some of the religious tomes most fascinating tales. In a recent conference call interview, Mark talked about the new 10-hour docudrama, The Bible.
On Why They Wanted to Bring The Bible Back to TV
"‘The Bible’ is sacred to our family. We believe very much in The Bible, and I don’t remember a time in my life when there wasn’t a Bible in my house growing up in Europe and nor does Roma. This was something that Roma suggested in 2009, after seeing some documentaries, which were really kind of maligning The Bible and faith, that we should just do a dramatic series of The Bible. It’s the best stories in the world.”
On His Early Hesitation to Take on the Project
“First of all I said, ‘Wow, that’s so daunting. I thought about it and we hugged and said, ‘Okay.’ And we have never ever looked back in four years.Last year in particular we were gone from our family for almost six months in Morocco shooting this."
On Wanting to Get it Right
“We also understood it came with it an incredible responsibility, and we brought on board like half a dozen academics from across faiths — Judaism, Christianity and all various denominations within there — just so that we would get it right. And then [we] added to that many, many church leaders — and that’s 40 in total — who looked at scripts and cuts. So that’s how we were able to do a great job of getting it right, but also to make it emotionally connected."
On Not Wanting to Be Preachy
“It’s not preaching at you. It’s not telling you how you’re supposed to think or feel about a particular Bible story or The Bible, but you will feel because we’ve worked on emotional connection within the stories."
On The Audience for the Show
“I think two types of things will happen. There are people of faith who believe in The Bible and will really, really either enjoy it and will feel a deepening. And people who are not interested in necessarily in going to church or faith will thoroughly enjoy the storytelling."
On Biblical Illiteracy
“I feel that there’s a level of biblical illiteracy that exists right now and we’ve discovered that over the last four years. Growing up for us, The Bible was part of public school in Europe, so I don’t think I know anybody in my hometown, who wouldn’t know who David and Goliath were, who Samson was, Noah—any of these stories.
“But we’ve met many, many people, who just don’t know any Bible stories. You imagine being a young American, let’s say in your mid 20s, mid 30s and you go out to business in Rio de Janeiro or you go off to Paris or Berlin and you’re in a business meeting and people are using analogies like, ‘Oh, it’s like David and Goliath.’ Or, ‘It reminds you of Samson.’ And you’re like, ‘Oh, sorry, who’s that?’ That’s the equivalent of saying you don’t know who Romeo and Juliet are or who King Lear is.
“There’s a level of like biblical illiteracy, which hopefully even people who aren’t looking for faith will discover ‘The Bible. I know it’s the book that’s the foundation of our society and it’s created more literature and more movies than any other book in history there was.”
Brush up on your Bible studies every Sunday night at 8 p.m. EST/7 p.m. Central on History.