Roma Downey, Mark Burnett Building a Biblical ‘Empire’ (Video)

Executive Producer Mark Burnett (L) and actress Roma Downey attend the CBS, The CW, Showtime & CBS Television Distribution's 2014 TCA Summer Press Tour Party at Pacific Design Center on July 17, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images North America)
Executive Producer Mark Burnett (L) and actress Roma Downey attend the CBS, The CW, Showtime & CBS Television Distribution’s 2014 TCA Summer Press Tour Party at Pacific Design Center on July 17, 2014 in West Hollywood, California. (Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images North America)

Roma Downey and her husband and producing partner Mark Burnett have become moguls due to the smash hit success of their televised Bible epics. Cahir O’Doherty talks to Downey about their forthcoming series A.D. The Bible Continues, the story of Christianity in the days after Jesus, and The Dovekeepers, a moving tale of persistence in the face of adversity that inspired them to turn it into a miniseries.

“It’s Game of Thrones meets The Bible,” actress and executive producer Roma Downey, 54, tells the Irish Voice, speaking about the epic new television series she’s created with her producing partner and husband Mark Burnett.

The dramatic billing gives you a clue about Downey’s ultimate intentions for the new 12 part series A.D. The Bible Continues, which premieres on Easter Sunday night. She wants it to be true to the biblical source material, but she also wants it to entertain easily distracted modern audiences.

In fact Downey and Burnett’s own kids, children of the Internet age, reminded her just how important that last aspect was in the only advice that they gave her as she started out on the new project. “Just don’t make it corny,” they deadpanned.

Check out the two minute trailer for A.D. The Bible Continues and you’ll see she took their advice to heart, working with wind machines, lightening, archangels, sword battles and disciples making life or death decisions that will change the course of history. Dull it won’t be.

For that reason, when Downey and Burnett’s A.D. The Bible Continues premieres, it’s certain to attract the kind of record audiences that their 2013 series The Bible and 2014 film Son of God attracted.

In fact the networks are expecting it to surpass the previous self financed smash hits the producing pair delivered, with lots of potential to go the profitable cinema route the Son of God movie went.

But amid all the success and the eye-popping box office figures, Downey has always kept faith with her Bogside, Co. Derry childhood. She may live in Malibu and crisscross the world these days, but there’s no one more aware of the unlikely journey she’s made than she is herself.

“It’s insane but great fun and everything is so good,” she tells the Irish Voice after her typical Derry greeting of “What about ye?” To say it’s a busy time for her would be an understatement.

“In 2013 we brought you The Bible, in 2014 we brought you Son of God and now it’s 2015 and we’re about to launch on network television A.D. The Bible Continues,” Downey says.

“There couldn’t be a more perfect day to tell you this story than Easter Sunday. And it runs then for 12 weeks and it’s our hope then that it will get renewed and run for many years to come.”

Unlike The Bible, A.D. The Bible Continues is not a closed ended series. It has the potential to keep going indefinitely.

“There’s no better story than this segment of scripture from The Book of Acts woven together with stories from history that we’ve pulled in from the writings of Josephus (the first century scholar) and others,” Downey says.

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SOURCE: Irish Central
Cahir O’Doherty

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