Mark Burnett: “Weird Things Happened” on the Set of “The Bible” Miniseries
Mark Burnett, executive producer of the History Channel's, "The Bible," is gearing up for the second installment of the epic miniseries. The premiere posted impressive ratings with 14.8 million viewers for the night (including the show's repeat).
Does "The Bible" owe its success to the show's incredible cast and crew? Or has the series been blessed by a higher power? Burnett himself admits the project isn't completely in his control. It's in His control.
"The hand of God was on this," Burnett told Entertainment Weekly. "The edit came together perfectly, the actors came together perfectly, it just comes to life."
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The producer pointed out that some "weird things happened during filming."
Burnett told EW about several stories. For example, when the actor playing Jesus delivered the line the "Holy Spirit is like the wind," a strong, 20-minute long gust of wind descended, nearly blowing the set over.
Four days later, a boy arrived from a neighboring town many miles away to return a missing Jesus costume. Burnett said they boy had no idea what he was returning or why he was returning it. He just knew he had to.
The craziest story of all involves nearly 50 serpents delaying the crucifixion scene. The producers hired a snake wrangler to catch and remove snakes from areas the cast and crew were filming to prevent injuries. Normally the wrangler would find one or two snakes a day. When it came time for the crucifixion scene, he found 48 cobras and vipers hiding in the rocks around the cross.
The "Survivor" and "The Voice" mega-producer may receive all the credit for the show's success, but it was actually his wife, and co-producer Roma Downey ("Touched By An Angel") who suggested the biblical series in the first place. Burnett and Downey both agree the most important aspect of the show is educating the biblically illiterate youth.
"In school, you have to know a certain amount of Shakespeare, but no Bible," Burnett told the Christian Science Monitor. "So there's got to be a way to look at it from a pure literature point of view. If it wasn't for the Bible, arguably Shakespeare wouldn't have written those stories."
Among broadcast shows that "The Bible" beat among total viewers was Burnett's own, "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" premiere on NBC, which only garnered a little over 5 million viewers.
"We could not be more thrilled with this out of the gate success," said Downey and Burnett in a statement. "The world is watching right now and we are incredibly humbled by the reaction to the series. This No. 1 series is a tribute to all those who have helped us to spread the Word. Ultimately 'The Bible' will be seen and felt by billions around the globe ...Today, more people are discussing God's chosen people - Moses and Abraham - in one day than ever before."
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