A new docuseries on Amazon Prime reveals actor Jonathan Roumie’s life and faith journey before and during his career-changing role as Jesus Christ in the television series “The Chosen.”
“Jonathan & Jesus,” a four-episode series, was completed in 2021 ahead of the filming of the third season of “The Chosen.” It follows Roumie in his travels throughout the United States and Europe — and along the way, he meets up with many figures from the entertainment industry to talk about Jesus.
Fox News Digital spoke via Zoom to Roumie, who said the idea for the docuseries stemmed from his 2021 meeting with Pope Francis.
The idea blossomed from a one-off video about meeting the pope into “a series about Jesus’ impact on the culture” through the lens of a man tasked to play him, he said — a man who grappled at times with the weight of the role.
“I think when Jesus felt the pressure of life, of human life, often He would go off on His own to pray and get recharged and just find quiet time,” said Roumie. “I do this. I find that doing the same thing — going off to pray by myself and just spend time with God in prayer alone — is monumentally impactful to me.”
Roumie, despite his own challenges in the role, is also well aware of the impact that his portrayal of Christ has had one people, particularly those who are learning about Jesus for the first time or who have spent time away from religion, he said.
“This commitment, this responsibility, this gift that I’ve been given — while challenging at times — ultimately is for my greater good,” he said, “and for the potential for other people to find some sort of inspiration or some sort of connection or a return, in many cases, a return to faith.”
“Jonathan & Jesus” also depicts Roumie’s personal struggles prior to his landing the role of Jesus. He told Fox News Digital that one of his goals in making the series was to “reveal the level of surrender that I’ve had to undertake in my life” for his career to become what it is.
Prior to being cast in “The Chosen,” Roumie had a negative balance in his checking account.
He was even hiding his perilous financial situation from his family.
“I felt that I was trying so hard to control my career, to do all the things that I thought I needed to do, to check all the boxes,” said Roumie.
This included “generating auditions, trying to work side jobs, you know, to make ends meet, keep the income coming in.”
Despite this effort, things were not working out.
“It was like, the more I try, the harder I tried to make everything run smoothly, the more chaotic it got,” he said.
Things began to change, he told Fox News Digital, when he handed over control of his life to God.
“I basically took, you know, took my hands off the controls and said, ‘God, if you want me to do something different, if this pursuit of entertainment, of being an actor is something that is just not attainable, well, show me which direction you want me to go, and I’ll go there,'” he said.
At that time, Roumie was deep in debt, and “literally had enough food to last the day,” he said.
“I got on my knees, and I prayed,” Roumie said. “I said, ‘Look, God, I give everything to you. If you want this to work, you’re going to have to help me figure out a way to survive, to find food for tomorrow. And I’m not going to worry about it anymore.'”
Roumie said he felt as if a weight had been lifted from him after he finished that prayer.
Soon after, his fortunes began to turn.
“The point was that I committed to not having control over it anymore,” said Roumie. “And when I did that, I think that’s the thing that changed for me. My life, from that moment, has never been the same.”
About three months after this act of “surrender” to God, Roumie was cast as Jesus Christ in the television series “The Chosen.”
With the new docuseries, Roumie said he hopes to inspire others who may be experiencing struggles to do what he did: Put their faith entirely in God.
“Jonathan & Jesus,” he said, “can serve as an example to other people who might be in a similar position that I was in, kind of struggling with something, or at a bit of an impasse in their career,” said Roumie.
“Maybe they’re just holding onto the reins a little too tight.”
Letting go of this desire for control was a life-altering experience for him and one he wants to share with others.
“Once [people] let go of the reins and just kind of put their trust in the divine, in God – He will basically change your entire life the way He did mine.”
“Jonathan and Jesus” is available on Amazon Prime.