- KATHRYN POST
“The honeymoon phase is over.”
This is how director and creator Dallas Jenkins describes the third season of The chosen, a television program about the life of Jesus. In the first two seasons of the hugely popular show, viewers saw Jesus and his disciples come to life, not as characters holier than you, but as genuine people with conflict, quirks and humor. .
Over a year after the season two finale debuted in July 2021, season three begins as the disciples embrace their 12th member, Judas, and face a new era, where the cost of following Jesus crystallizes. . Now, from November 18, The chosen fans can see the first two episodes of the new season in over 2,000 theaters in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK. Funds from ticket sales will allow the show to continue to be free to all viewers, according to Jenkins. In December, episodes will be available for free to everyone on The Chosen app, website, and other streaming platforms.
The fan-funded series has over 420 million episode views and a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes. It has also been translated into 62 languages and more. Last month, the show was recognized at the 2022 GMA Dove Awards, Contemporary Christian Music Honors, where it won Inspirational Film/Series of the Year. This fall’s theatrical release is the second time the show will be seen on the big screen, following its hit theatrical Christmas run last December.
Religion News Service spoke to Jenkins about what fans can expect in the show’s highly anticipated third season…
Last year’s Christmas special was the first time The chosen was seen in the cinema. How does this Season 3 theatrical release build on last year’s success?
“Last year’s Christmas special sold out in about two hours. It just kept growing and ended up grossing over $14 million at the box office without us even spending a penny. money in advertising. So that was really exciting for us. I think we learned a lot from that release, as did Fathom Events, who is our distribution partner on that. They changed their old model to reflect of the fact that it could clearly become more than just a singular event. It could become even more of a traditional theater. coming out with multiple screenings, multiple venues. I think the most important thing is just to recognize that there’s a appetite for it. People want to see it in theaters, how can we give them that opportunity and maximize that potential?”
Director Dallas Jenkins, left, and actor Jonathan Roumie, portraying Jesus, discuss a synagogue scene for season three on the set of “The Chosen.” PHOTO: Courtesy of Angel Studios
Where was season 3 filmed?
“A fan told us to visit a Salvation Army campsite in Texas. I was a little skeptical because it wasn’t something we could own ourselves. But they have hundreds and hundreds of unused acres and have a similar mission to us. And so we went to visit and it looked beautiful. We decided to partner with them and use the land but also build a first century setting and a sound stage The Salvation Army has been extremely cooperative and will also be able to use the setting for first century bible education for people who come for conferences and for underprivileged children who use their camp. great opportunity to be more than just a set for The chosen. I think when viewers see Season 3, they’ll see the fruits of our labor for sure.”
The third season will include the story of feeding the five thousand. What did it take to film this ambitious scene?
“Oh gosh, it took it all. We were shooting in 100 degree heat in the middle of the Texas field with thousands of people we had to take care of. It was hands down the hardest thing I’ve ever had. never been a part of my career. Most cast and crew would agree. It was exhilarating because people were so excited to be there. We had about 4,200 to 4,300 extras a day for three days, so over 10,000 people showed up at our set. My wife commented, “It strikes me that we have to feed 5,000 people today.” Without Jesus doing a miracle, that alone is hard enough .
“We filmed the scene over the course of a few weeks. The situation Jesus was walking into, the emotional and spiritual circumstances the disciples were dealing with, all of this took place over the course of an episode and a half. So it took We had weeks to film it, and every day was painful, so it was extraordinarily difficult, but I think it will be worth it in the end because the scene turns out to be even better and more impactful than I expected. had planned.
You said that in season three the honeymoon phase is over. What do you mean?
“So Jesus has gathered the 12 apostles now, and they’re all excited. They’re with the Messiah, they believe, they’ve seen the miracles. It’s going to be great. And then it’s not great. They’re still oppressed by the Romans, Simon and Eden have a marital crisis. Little James has not been healed, and yet Jesus asks him to go and heal people. These are all fascinating but also confusing places for them. And so we are not afraid not that in season 3. “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I’ll give you rest.” That’s the theme of the season. So the fun part of being chosen when you didn’t think That you deserve it by the savior of the universe is very exciting, but walking with Him isn’t always fun. And I think that’s going to resonate with viewers.”
Jonathan Roumie, second from right, portrays Jesus Christ in ‘The Chosen’ series. PHOTO: Courtesy of Angel Studios
How will this season continue to shine a light on the stories of the women who followed Jesus?
“We featured women throughout the first two seasons, but this time around I think we’re doing the women on the show a favor because they start having the same issues as the boys. They start bickering and he there’s jealousies and frustrations. It was something that I think the actresses really enjoyed. Sometimes there’s this risk of self-correction, of always having women as saints because that’s such a masculine show. In this season, we’re showing that they have the same issues as the guys. And I think that’s actually just as honoring.”
What elements of season three might particularly resonate with audiences now, at the end of 2022?
“We’re in a very, very divided time. We’re divided into political tribes, into denominational tribes. There’s a spirit of unrest and division. And you hear that in the trailer: Jesus says that the division that you feel in your heart, the restlessness, sometimes it’s God trying to get your attention. And I think you’ll see very strongly throughout this season Jesus addressing the fact that even 2,000 years ago , we faced the same denominational and political differences that we face today. And there is an answer for them.”
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.