THE CHOSEN’s Jonathan Roumie Shares How COVID-19 Affected Season 2
By Cooper Dowd, Staff Writer
Christian actor Jonathon Roumie is excited to return to his award-winning role of Jesus on season 2 of Dallas Jenkins’ THE CHOSEN.
Roumie won Movieguide®’s Grace Prize® for Most Inspiring TV Performance for the first season and said Season 2 builds upon the already inspiring story. However, there’s one key difference for the cast and crew this time around — challenges due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.
“I think THE CHOSEN is very fortunate in that we’ve adopted an approach to filming during COVID-19 that ensures we are working within a sort of bubble,” Roumie told Casting Networks®. “Rather than having A and B zones, we’ve upgraded the entire cast and crew to all be in Zone A. Everyone is tested three to five times a week and wears masks and face shields. And when actors take off their masks for scenes, it makes it more comfortable to know that every person on set is at the same level of being tested.”
Roumie continued: “I think the approach helps us move steadily through the flow of our workday so that we can still get all the shots we need and meet the schedule. We have our own little production cocoon.”
Despite the challenges, Roumie said that he is grateful for the work that God provided during the pandemic and for the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than himself.
“First of all, it’s incredibly humbling to even have the opportunity to work at this time in history,” Roumie noted. “And this series has been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever been a part of. It’s been life-changing — and I mean that quite literally — but not just for me.
“Recently I was told about someone who was suicidal, who after watching the show was so impacted by its message and the character I play [Jesus Christ] that they decided to continue living. They found hope and meaning in their life,” he continued.
Roumie said that the TV series is unique in that they’ve received messages from believers and non-believers who share their thankfulness for a series that inspires hope; most importantly, the series stresses the hope people have in Christ.
“We’ve had thousands of messages from people all over the world regarding the power of this story, from people who believe in Christ and from people who don’t,” Roumie said. “It’s been a profound journey and demonstrates to me that God is using this show to do good in the world at a time when we most need it. I’ve never experienced anything like it.”
Roumie added that the forced time together as a crew helped build their relationships.
“There’s just something extra special about this one,” he said.
“The general COVID-19 regulations are different in Utah than in California. For example, they allow in-house dining at restaurants here. But we don’t want to risk exposure so we get takeout and bring it back to the hotel, which is kind of our safety zone, and eat together,” Roumie recalled. “It’s built our bond as cast members, and we’ve become more like a little family. On the weekends when we’re off, our little pod tends to just stay inside, and we’ve had a lot of in-room parties together, so it’s still fun.”
THE CHOSEN is the most extensive crowdfunded series in history: “At this point, we’ve crowdfunded over $20 million,” Roumie said.
Despite the success, Director and Creator Dallas Jenkins gives all of the credit to God.
“There’s no amount of success THE CHOSEN could have that would make me believe I’m responsible for it,” Jenkins said.