'The Bible' Mini-Series; Diogo Morgado Who Plays Jesus Will Be 'A Big Star,' Producers Say

By Noah Delagracia, Crossmap On March 11, 2013

Grace Hill Media

"The Bible" Mini-Series continues to thrive on successful ratings. As the series approaches the New Testament narratives, Producer Roma Downey recently shared the struggle it was to find the right actor to take on the pivotal role of Jesus Christ. Downey shared that while anxiety was high, actor Diogo Morgado was an answer to prayer.

"We actually were only six weeks away from beginning principal photography and we still had not cast the role of Jesus," Downey said PEOPLE about "The Bible" Mini-Series. "To say that we were anxious is an understatement." 

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"The prayer circle went out and the prayer was answered," she said, adding that a friend suggested she consider Portugal-based actor, Morgado, 33, for the role of Jesus.

Downey confessed that she was impressed by Morgado's taped audition and wanted to meet him to talk further. However, getting him in from Portugal with such short notice appeared to be a great challenge. 

"I was a little disheartened and didn't know logistically how I was going to make that work," Downey revealed. "I spoke to his agent and he said, 'Actually, he's traveling and in Los Angeles.' I said, 'Hallelujah.' "

In less than 24 hours, Downey and co-producer and husband, Mark Burnett, met Morgado at their homes. Downey confesses that she knew Morgado was their Jesus before they even had the opportunity to speak. 

"I grabbed Mark and we peeked out the window to see him approach," Downey says. "I turned to my husband and said, 'There he is. That's our Jesus.' "

"I think he will define this role for generations," Downey says of Morgado. "He's just a beautiful actor inside and out. This is going to make him a big star."

Catch "The Bible" on History Channel every Sunday until Easter.