Jonathan Roumie Opens Up About Emotional CHOSEN Fan Encounters

Photo from Jonathan Roumie’s Instagram

Jonathan Roumie Opens Up About Emotional CHOSEN Fan Encounters

By Movieguide® Contributor

Actor Jonathan Roumie sat down with author and emotions explorer Jennie Allen to talk about how he got his role on THE CHOSEN and the evocative experiences that come with playing Jesus.

“Some people will literally just start crying. Other people will ask me to pray for them,” Roumie said of the range of emotions and reactions from the fans he encounters. “I’ve had people who’ve been suffering with depression, who had brain cancer ask me to lay hands on them, pray for them.”

“This was one of the most emotionally overwhelming experiences I had,” Roumie told Allen early this year. “I appeared at a conference with a pastor to an arena full of people, and afterward, as I was leaving, I met this woman who had her son with her, and he was suffering from cerebral palsy. And he was in a wheelchair, and he couldn’t talk. He could just kind of make sounds but he couldn’t talk, and he couldn’t, you know, obviously walk or anything like that.”

The woman shared that she and her son’s favorite episode is Jesus healing a paralytic that comes through the roof of James’ and John’s father’s house.

The woman then looked at Roumie hopefully and said, “Wouldn’t it be great if God did that for my son?”

“I’m like thinking like, ‘Oh, I don’t — as far as I know, I don’t have that power, right? That gift. But I’d be happy to pray with your son. Would that be okay?’”

The woman agreed, and Roumie prayed. Then, the woman and her son both left in good spirits. However, Roumie felt saddened.

“I left, and I burst into tears because I thought there, on some level, I must have let her down. Like, in the back of her mind, she may have been just hoping, like maybe there’s a chance, and trying to live up to that is impossible,” Roumie said. “It’s just not possible.”

“What does that burden feel like for you just knowing so many people are getting maybe their first taste of who Jesus is?” Allen asked him.

“I think it’s a privilege, but I was so affected by media that I had watched this miniseries called Jesus of Nazareth, one of my favorites, and I mean, that’s the power of media. And so when I see people reacting the way they do, I know that the Holy Spirit can use whatever he wants to to reach people and to draw people closer to God,” Roumie said.

Roumie never imagined he would be in this position as an actor.

“I don’t, you know, I at some point in my life, I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to endeavor to become an actor full-time,” Roumie said. “I couldn’t have predicted that it would be as Jesus.”

“I believe in order for this to actually come to fruition in my life, I had to completely surrender my own will of what I wanted for my life,” he said. “My concept of what my career should look like…and fully let God take charge over, you know, what my future would look like.”

Roumie previously acted as Jesus in short films that THE CHOSEN director Dallas Jenkins filmed for his church. When Jenkins wanted to film the series, he pulled in Roumie to play Jesus in the show.

“With his short film THE SHEPHERD became like a workshop for the series and how he would approach the series,” Roumie explained. “How he approached biblical subject matter. So it was a matter of just like picking up the sandals and putting them on again and doing it for a lot longer period of time.”

Roumie hopes that people see God’s “love” through his acting.

“For me, as an actor, that begins with relating to my scene partners and everyone around me with a much more open heart, a sense of compassion and kindness,” he said in an interview with Life Teen. “When things have the opportunity to upset a person’s balance of peace, which happens often as humans, I try to see it as an opportunity to rise beyond that and practice compassion, patience and humility as often as I can.”

Roumie previously won the Movieguide® Grace Award® for most inspiring TV performance, and THE CHOSEN also won several Teddy Bear Awards® awards.

Roumie believes that the celebrity sentiments that come with the role of Jesus are unlike those of any other role.

“It’s surreal…It’s unlike a Marvel character. It’s unlike a Star Wars character. It’s a relationship that people are keying into. A character that people are connecting to because of their existing relationship with Jesus,” he said.

“Because of the deepening of that relationship with Jesus that they already have, which inevitably [is] the most intimate and important relationship that a person could have,” Roumie continued. “Or it’s introducing them to this person of Jesus that is making them question what they knew or what they thought they knew about him and compelling them to get to know him if they don’t know him. So being the face of that encounter, of that experience all of a sudden transforms them when they’re met with me in a store.”

Movieguide® previously reported on Roumie’s fame:

“Are you finding that people are having a little bit of trouble separating you from the part?” THE VIEW host Whoopi Goldberg asked Roumie.

“I try to gently just remind people that my name is Jonathan and not actually Jesus,” the actor replied.

Roumie made a four-part docuseries about his experience called JONATHAN AND JESUS.

He shared about the series on Instagram in January: “The series documents my experiences playing Jesus through the context of @thechosentvseries; the effect playing Jesus has had on its viewers (as well as the challenges it presents to me personally), and the monumental and universe-shifting impact #JesusChrist has had on history and culture throughout the world!”

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