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Special Interview With Dallas Jenkins, Director Of The Chosen – Good News Friday: We have the great opportunity to interview Dallas Jenkins, the director of The Chosen. The Chosen is a television drama based on the life of Jesus Christ. Dallas Jenkins and his team are re-telling the story of Jesus using cinematography and music like never before. Tune in now to learn more!

Air Date: 12/20/2019

Guest: Dallas Jenkins

On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton


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Transcription note:  As a courtesy for our listeners’ enjoyment, we are providing a transcription of this podcast. Transcription will be released shortly. However, as this is transcribed from a live talk show, words and sentence structure were not altered to fit grammatical, written norms in order to preserve the integrity of the actual dialogue between the speakers. Additionally, names may be misspelled or we might use an asterisk to indicate a missing word because of the difficulty in understanding the speaker at times. We apologize in advance.

Faith And The Culture

Rick:

Welcome to the intersection of faith and the culture WallBuilders Live where we talk about today’s hottest topics on policy, faith and the culture always from a biblical historical and constitutional perspective. My name is Rick Green, I’m America’s Constitution coach and a former state legislature. I’m here with David Barton, he is America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders and Tim Barton is with us he’s a national speaker and pastor and president of WallBuilders.

Check Out The Resources Available At WallBuilders

Most importantly, we’re glad you are with us and you are going to love today’s program, it’s going to be very exciting. But before we get to that, I want to encourage you to visit our websites wallbuilderslive.com and wallbuilderslive.com. At that wallbuilderslive.com website, there is a ton of information including archives of the program from previous weeks. If you missed those, you can grab them right now at our website and get caught up some great interviews in there, some great presentations. Lots of good information to equip and inspire you to be a good citizen and help us restore America’s Constitution.

And one of the best ways you can do that is click on the contribute button there at wallbuilderslive.com and make that one-time or monthly donation. Here we are at the end of the year, the perfect time for you to make that end-of-the-year tax-deductible donation. It’s how this program works, we’re a listener-supported program. So thank you all of you out there from all across the nation, so many different places that folks contribute and help us do this. Thank you for doing that. And for those of you that haven’t done that yet and have been thinking about it, now is the perfect time.

Dallas Jenkins From The Chosen

Alright, David, Tim, we got Dallas Jenkins coming on later, he’s the producer of The Chosen. We’ve actually had him on before and talked about it here on the program and talked about how cool it is that they, you know, raise $10 million to do this series about the life of Christ. And I should actually say about the people around Christ and we get to see things through their eyes, kind of a Ben-Hur type program. So this is really exciting to see.

Tim:

Yeah, it was also really fun that they did some of the filming actually very local to us and we got to go over and be on set. We got to see some of the ways that they were creating some of these scenes and it means, you mentioned $10 million for some of their production of what they’re doing, it really was impressive just the sheer volume of people that were working this production. I honestly and then, you know, probably mention before, honestly, I expected much less because that’s what often times you find in Christian production in Christian films.

And so when but we were invited to go see some of what they were doing and come be on set and watch them do some filming, I was not expecting much. And when I got up and there were a couple of hundred people working, I was blown away and the production is really impressive. I’ve been able to see several these episodes and they’re very entertaining, very well”€¦

Rick:

By the way, Tim, speaking of being on set, I mean the best part was when hundreds of people were standing around and it was lights, camera, Tim Barton, please step in and play Jesus, this is no, that really happen, but it would have been cool, would have been cool.

Tim:

Well, yeah, I would have feel the incredibly inadequate on so many levels, not the role I’m looking for, obviously living like Jesus, but no not on camera. But yeah actually”€¦

Rick:

But you were going to say something about the episodes because I thought the step was cool too? Yes.

Tim:

They did offer a chance like, you know, to be in the background, to be an extra and we’re like no, no, that’s fine. We’re just going to stay back here and watch. That’s great. But the episodes were very well done, it was very entertaining. Very good story. And as you mentioned, a lot of it told from an outside perspective of people who were there and what it would have been like for them, what they would have experienced as it goes through the story of Jesus, a very fun show.

The Chosen

Rick:

Yeah, I mean and taking people that we don’t you know necessarily write about or talk about much, you know, the woman at the well or you know, other characters and getting to see it through their eyes, what it was like to, you know, meet the Messiah and to have their lives radically changed and anyway really cool design in the way that they did it. I think people will really enjoy this and what a perfect timing, here it is Christmastime.

You can still get the program and it’s it actually would be a great way. You know, most people have a day or two around Christmas to just lay around with family. You know, we sometimes do Lord of the Rings, we sometimes do you know, Rocky, but this year the chosen, what a great way to sit around and spend some family time seeing some good entertainment and great stories about the life of Christ and the disciples.

We’re going to take a quick break, we’re going to have Dallas Jenkins with us when we come back. He’s the guy directed produced all that good stuff and going to share a little bit about the success of The Chosen and your opportunity to see it. Stay with us, you’re listening to WallBuilders Live.

A Moment From America’s History

This is David Barton with another moment from America’s history. The teachings of God’s Word are the best friends civil government has because these teachings deal with the heart. Only by dealing with the heart, can crime be prevented. For as Jesus explained in Matthew 5, all crime comes from the heart. Understanding this, Daniel Webster the great defender of the Constitution once declared, “€œThe cultivation of the religious sentiment represses licentiousness, it inspires respect for law and order and gives strength to the whole social fabric. Whatever makes men good Christians makes them good citizens. Indeed it is not the good Christians whom the police arrest for armed robbery, gang activity or other such crimes. Understanding this, the founding fathers encouraged religious instruction.”€ For as Daniel Webster so accurately noted, good Christians make good citizens.

For more information on God’s hand in American history, contact WallBuilders at 1800-8REBUILD

Dallas Jenkins Joins Us Now

Rick:

Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. We have snagged Dallas Jenkins, producer and director and creator of “€˜The Chosen”€™. Dallas, good to have you back with us, bro.

Dallas:

I’m trying to feel like a regular, like a member of the show. I love coming on with you guys.

Rick:

Well, we love having you, man and we so appreciate the work. And I had a chance to watch the new episodes, my kids went crazy, we loved it. Just outstanding. I mean, you know what, I don’t want to, people think I’m overblowing this. I mean you guys have created something really, really special here.

Dallas:

Well, that means a lot and you mentioned your kids. That’s the thing that continues to surprise me. I didn’t think this was a kids show, I mean, you know, it’s not offensive or anything but obviously, but I didn’t necessarily think younger people would like it as much and we just keep hearing from parents all the time and that it just has become this thing that there”€™re binge-watching together, which was the hope.

But I guess I’m always surprised, but I think the authenticity of it is what’s reaching people especially the younger generation.

The Authenticity Of It Is Reaching The Younger Generation

Rick:

Well, you guys did exactly and I know we talked about this last time back in the spring. But the same kind of Ben-Hur just culturally impactful because it showed Jesus in a way that people had not seen before, you guys captured that. And, you know, I mean, look, I’ll be honest with you, bro, I was doubtful because it was like, man, this is a tough thing to pull off what you guys attempted to do here.

But one of the things that struck me and I was going to get your thoughts on this, but it was some of the things you did, it just don”€™t”€¦ even the music, I mean some of those scenes when he heals the leper, dude, I could not stop crying. I mean, I don’t mean to sound like a SAP, but I mean the music, the way you pulled that scene together, it was masterful. And I mean, I want people to realize when they watch this, you are going to be moved. It is powerful. And so I wanted to ask you about that technical piece of it, just how you chose the music, I mean how you clearly put the time in to do this right and not just throw it again a story.

It Should Be Told In The Greatest Way Ever Told

Dallas:

Well, yes and you bring up a really great point which I think applies not only to this show but applies to faith-based media in general. If we believe that the most important message in the world deserves the most influential medium in the world, that’s media and it means, it’s the greatest story ever told. So it should be done like the greatest story ever told, it should be told in the greatest way ever told.

And, you know, when it comes to every aspect of the production, from music to the cinematography to the acting, we just went into this believing we wanted to do something new and fresh. And so the music specifically I’m glad you brought it up because I’m really proud of it. I’m working with a guy by the name of Dan Haseltine, the lead singer and songwriter for Jars of Clay.

And when Jars of Clay as first album came out over 20 years ago, it really changed me because it was one of the first times in my life that I had Christian music content but I was proud to share with everyone, including my friends who weren’t necessarily of that faith and it felt new and fresh, it just didn’t feel like a knockoff of something else. And so I’ve been friends with Dan for years, we’ve always wanted to work together.

The Music Is A Part Of Setting The Trend

And so when I asked him to do the music for the show, it was because I wanted this to feel different. The story isn’t going to change, but we wanted the approach and the crafting of this to feel like something, I don”€™t know, was fresh and disruptive and unique and I didn’t want us to always continually be following in the footsteps of what the world is doing. I want us to sometimes set the trends and so that’s what we’ve been trying to do with this show for everything, from the music to the approach to even how we’re distributing it to the way that people can watch it. All of those things, we’re trying to follow Isaiah 43:19, “€œBehold I’m doing a new thing”€ and we want to be doing a new thing and I think the music is part that.

 The Chosen,  Season One Has Eight Episodes

Rick:

I love that. And I want to talk about some of the acting on that aspect too, but kind of here in the middle of the show, I want to give out the website, encourage people to go. Even if you, you know, can’t get your ordering in time to get a Christmas package or whatever, you can get the link so you can give it to people for Christmas.

And so, you know, Dallas, best place for people to go, I know you can get it on VidAngel, but you’ve got Christmas specials and all kinds of things. Where can people go to get it and because it’s eight episodes now?

Yeah. So yes, Season one is eight episodes. The best thing to do and I know this might not be comfortable for everybody, but I’m getting used to it and it’s actually way easier than anything else in this the app. If you just go to wherever you get apps on iPhone or Google Play and on Android or whatever, you get “€˜The Chosen”€™ app, you just look up “€˜The Chosen”€™, we’re easy to find. And within the app, you can get DVDs, books, whatever and you can also watch the episodes for free, you can see all eight episodes and you can connect directly to any streaming device.

TheChosen.TV

Now if you just refuse to embrace that kind of technology, you can go to thechosen.tv, www.thechosen.tv. Not all eight episodes are there, but you can find where you can purchase the DVDs if that’s your speed and I know for some people, that is. But the app, it’s a revolutionary technology, literally hasn’t been done before. It allows you to connect your streaming devices without needing a subscription. That’s the best place to go. But yes you can go to thechosen.tv and you will find a few things there as well.

Jesus Had To Be Funny

Rick:

Well, before we finished today, I also want to ask you about future seasons, additional investors, rating, you guys broke all the records, 10 million bucks, I mean crowdfunded, people really stepped up here and the payoff is going to be generational. It’s phenomenal. But we want to take the next step too. So I want to ask you about that before I let you go.

But coming back to doing a new thing and I forget the guy”€™s name that plays Jesus. But the way he plays Jesus, well, the way he jokes with the disciples, just the genuineness of this is the Jesus that I would have fallen in love with as a disciple as well, how did you do that? It is very different, I”€™ve never seen anybody do what you’ve done here. And I just got to know, well, you all sitting around the room coming up with this, I mean, how much did the actor have to do with this? I got to get some behind the scenes because it is real and people are going to love it when they see it. 

Dallas:

Yeah, this has been I think the thing that people most talk about is and we hear it over and over again. Is kind of what you just said, this is the Jesus that I have wanted to know about more, this is the one, like because I think people are used to seeing these Bible projects and Jesus is portrayed as this kind of stoic merely distant, usually a British guy, usually just not warm. Occasionally, you’ll see a couple of examples of it, but he always sounds like he’s quoting scripture as opposed to talking like a normal person.

And so I just really believe that with this show, we wanted to not only do something fresh and new while also protecting and preserving the beauty of the gospel stories. We’re not trying to change anything, we’re not trying to rewrite anything, but there are backstories that we’re adding. And I’ve always wanted my whole life to know, like what was it like Jesus sitting around with the disciples, what did they talk about? They surely they joked about, Jesus had to be funny, he had to have laughed and we just really wanted to capture that.

It’s More Personal And Relational

The actor has a lot to do with it too and there are times even on the set that he will make up some stuff, you know, that’s not in the script. Where, for example, you mentioned earlier the scene where he heals the leper, so this has been a moment that people have really loved that’s a very emotional, it’s very powerful. You know, we go directly from what the scripture says about what he said to the leper, but then when it’s done, when the healing is over, well they’re still standing there and the gospels didn’t record all of the little things that people said in between all these miracles.

But we want to try to capture kind of a plausible idea of what that would have been like. So Jesus”€¦ tell them how good he looks, you know, and makes a joke about his new outfit. And the guy laughs and cries at the same time and those are the kind of moments that we love.

And, you know, you think that maybe there’d be some people who are uncomfortable with that, saying, well, anything that’s not in Scripture, you shouldn’t ever show. The only thing we’re ever allowed to say about Jesus is only what some record in Scripture. Now, I don’t happen to believe that, but leaving that aside, we found that people have been embracing it and saying, I feel closer to the Gospels into Jesus than ever before by seeing these things.

It has enhanced my love of the divinity because I’m seeing that when he was here on earth, it was that much more personal and relational and it makes it more beautiful I think than what the normal portrayals have been and I think that’s what’s been exciting to see as people would”€¦

Rick:

Now, I couldn’t agree more, man. That’s exactly how we felt. You know, his family watching and everybody had the same response. But I was curious if you were getting much pushback on that, but it sounds like it’s being embraced.

 There Is A History To Be Mined Here

Dallas:

Yeah, there’s been a little bit here and there. Usually, some people who haven’t seen it because I think there’s just always concerned, like what are your motives here? And the Bible says, you know, the book of Revelation says we’re not supposed to add to Scripture and we always say we’re not adding to Scripture. Scripture isn’t changing, this is a show right based on history and Scripture. Anything we do use from scripture, we don’t change. But we just don’t believe that the only thing that’s ever allowed to be said about the people in first-century Galilee was what Matthew, Mark, Luke and John wrote. We think that there’s also a history to be mined here and it’s really fascinating. So, again we’re not adding to Scripture, we’re not trying to change anything, but we have found people have embraced it. And so most of the concerns about it which I think are fair has not been from people who’ve seen the show.

The Different Personalities Of Jesus’ Disciples

Rick:

Well, one of the most fun things in watching is the personalities of the characters and the disciples and their interactions. And actually, I’m excited to watch Season Two as it comes out later and see specifically, you know, Peter and Matthew and how that’s going to all work because you’ve set that up wonderfully in terms of a little, you know, the animosity there. So it’s fun, I mean, it’s it really, like you said, it does make it more interesting. It makes it more real, you can relate to it. I mean, even as you’re watching it, you’re going, oh yeah, that guy is like my friend, so-and-so and this guy is like my friend, you know. And I can relate to this person here so it doesn’t allow you to immerse yourself.

Dallas:

Absolutely. And a friend of mine said this, well, he said most Jesus projects, portrayals, there’s three disciples. There’s Simon Peter because he’s the most famous one, there’s Judas because he’s the betrayer and then there’s the other ten disciples, they’re all the same”€¦

Rick:

And they’re all kind in the background, you know, they’re like walking in the background all the time. Yeah.

Dallas:

Yeah. And they’re all in there, you know, 30s and 40s with beards, they just act the same. And you know, when you really look into it, you find that actually, most disciples were probably late teenagers which is really interesting. But also when you realize they all had their own distinct personalities and you can actually pick up on some of that in the gospel and then we do that, then we work our way backwards and we think, right what it must have been like for Matthew as a tax collector who is willing before he met Jesus to be hated by the Jews for betraying them, disrespected by the Romans for being Jewish? You’ve got things like Thomas and Nathaniel and Philip and Andrew and all these things you can pick up on and then we pull from that and expand on that to make their personalities rich.

Rick:

So for that person that’s listening that, I mean for whatever reason hadn’t heard of the project yet, let’s real quick let them know The Chosen, it’s eight episodes, the full Season now released. It tells the story, behind the scenes, a lot of things that you probably wonder how those things happen, who was involved, what their personalities were like. Incredibly well done, largest crowdfunded project, $10 million. Now you move into Season Two, what’s next?

Season Two Explores More Disciples That Get Called

Dallas:

Yeah, we’ve started writing it. Now, to be fully transparent, you know, as you mentioned, we’re crowdfunding. So the first season, you know, we broke the all-time crowdfunding record, got over $10 million, that was great, but that was for Season one. So we’ve still got a long way to go. We want to do seven or eight Seasons of this thing and we want to get all through the Gospels. Our goal, long term is to raise $100 million. That sounds crazy. But when the first $10 million came for one Season, we think it’s not impossible, we think it feels like Game of Thrones can do stuff like this and the greatest story ever told can as well.

So but to answer your specific question about Season Two, you know, not to give spoilers away, but Season one ends with some of the disciples, Jesus hasn’t called all of them yet, we’re still early in the story, but they’re starting to head towards the public ministry, starting to branch out of just Capernaum. And so Season Two is going to be exploring more of the disciples that get called, exploring what their lives are like.

What we’re currently doing by the fact that the show is out, Season one is out, people can buy DVDs or pay it forward which we can talk about just a second. But to answer your specific question, Season one ends with, I don’t want to get too many spoilers away, but Jesus has called a few of the disciples, not all of them and he is starting to branch out into public ministry.

As you know early in his ministry, but he kept things under wraps. They were pretty quiet about it. He said my time hasn’t come yet. We don’t know all of the reasons for that. But usually, when he would heal people, he would tell them not to share. He was kind of building things slowly. Well, things start to spread, people to talk about it. They can’t hide what’s happening and what Jesus is doing. And so Season Two explores what happens as he starts to build his team, we start to see more disciples joining and what happens when the pressure builds, how this impacts Jesus and the disciples as people are starting to, of course, love them and love Jesus for all the miracles and belief that he could potentially be the Messiah, but also the pressure that comes from the fact that he’s taking a lot of people off. And so there’s a lot of pressure that comes on to the disciples and onto Jesus as their fame grows. So we explore a lot of that, Season Two.

The Backpacker Package

Rick:

Yeah, and you mentioned it and again, not going to spoil it for anybody. But the final scene in Season One, it’s fantastic and I’ll just say, music choice, awesome. Okay”€¦

Dallas:

So yeah, yeah, it”€™s very fresh and new.

Rick:

Yeah. The website again to back and I’m looking at the page right now, “€˜The Chosen”€™ backer package, so this is actually chance you get, is it am I reading this right, you get 10 DVD sets to give out as Christmas presents?

Dallas:

Well, so yeah. So, good question. So, you know, the page where you can go buy DVDs if you want. Right now, it might be a little late if you want to get them by Christmas, but the thechosen.tv/store, thechosen.tv/store, we have, you can just buy Season one by itself. But we also offer these backer packages because there’s lots of people who really want to support future episodes and Seasons.

Rick:

As they should and we encourage our listeners to do that right now. Yes, go ahead.

Give Them Away As Gifts

Dallas:

Yeah, we appreciate that. And so the app is free. If everyone just watches it for free, then obviously, we can’t do future episodes and Seasons. So we have a few, what we call backer packages where you can buy DVDs bulk and that give them away as gifts and that also supports future episode, Seasons.

So there’s like a $300 backer package. There’s even a $10,000 back of package which we thought was kind of off, we didn’t think anyone would really do it. But we’ve had about 10 people already do that, now just people who really, really wanted to support this because which we haven’t talked about we can do maybe next time I come on the show, is now available around the world.

We opened the app up around the world and unfortunately, we can’t make it free for everybody because streaming cost money and so every time someone streams it, it costs us a little bit of money. And so it’s now playing in over 150, people have been downloading this, watching it on the app, but we need people to join in support and back this project so that more people around the world can see it because some people can’t afford anything, so we’re trying to make it as free and easy for them as possible. So anything that people can do to help is great. But it’s not just a pure donation, and we’re giving you DVDs and want to make sure that you can keep sharing it with others.

Rick:

No, it’s a nice set and hey folks, if you don’t get in time for Christmas, that’s fine, you still give it to your family afterwards. This is a lifelong gift here and people got to watch it. So I’m just thrilled with what you guys are doing. We so appreciate the vision to put something like this together, Dallas. This is going to have a huge impact on the culture.

So thanks for time, bro, let’s get you back again soon and let’s keep getting folks signed up and let’s get that Season Two rolling.

Dallas:

Now, thanks pretty much, appreciate your time.

Rick:

That”€™s Dallas Jenkins, stay with us folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.

America’s Hidden Heroes

Hi, this is David Barton and this is Tim Barton. We want to let you know about a series that’s happening right now on TBN on Thursday nights. Now TBN is a Trinity Broadcasting Network. Every Thursday night there’s a series that we’ve filmed called America’s Hidden History. In this season, it’s called America’s Hidden Heroes. The reason is we highlight heroes from American history for years. We’ve been focusing on the forgotten history heroes of the nation and now we have a TV show just highlighting some of those heroes.

These are inspiring stories about some of the greatest people maybe you’ve never heard about. We go on location, we go to the site, we show you where the events happen and it’s a story of folks like Bronco Charlie and Stagecoach Mary and Jedediah Smith and Robert Smalls and so many inspiring folks.

Now, this happens every Thursday night and the time is going to be different based on where you live, either way. We think this is something that will so encourage and inspire you and learning some of these great stories from America’s Hidden History.

Rick:

Welcome back, thanks for staying with us here on WallBuilders Live. Thanks to Dallas Jenkins for joining us. We’ll get the websites out to everybody, the links to the websites on our website today wallbuilderslive.com so you can get a copy of “€˜The Chosen”€™ for your family to enjoy. You don’t have to wait on to calling the mail, you can watch it online, everything is technological now.

Back with David and Tim, guys, great way to spread the gospel and for people to learn more about Christ and in a new and exciting way.

Dallas Has Really Stayed With The Integrity Of The Scriptures

David:

Well, I like the fact that Dallas has really stayed with the integrity of the Scriptures. I mean, as he points out, you don’t add anything to it, you don’t take anything from, you do not change these Scriptures. But then he was also mentioning that he gets these complaints of, well, if it’s not in the Scriptures, you shouldn’t show it. And I was instantly reminded of how the Apostle John ended the Gospel of John. In John 21:25, he said, Jesus did many other things as well, if every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have enough room for the books that would be written.”€

So I mean John is saying, look, I’ve given you part of it, this is certainly not all of it and it’s not limited just to what I gave you. Now, you know, as Dallas said, we don’t change the Scriptures, we don’t add to or take away, but we have archaeology, we have the benefit of so many things, history to know what life was generally like at the time. And because he’s looking really a disciples and those that interacted with Jesus, this is not changing the Scriptures, this is what life looked like at that time and it doesn’t take any imagination to say, hey, this is what was going on around Jesus.

So for those that are concerned, no, no don’t be because the Gospel of John, the Apostle John gave us a really good answer that, no, this is not off track, he’s not rewriting the Scriptures. This is a really sound thing to be able to see and understand the culture of the time.

This Is Top-Notch Christian Entertainment

Rick:

Then it’s not replacing the scriptures, right? I mean, it’s getting people introduced to this and hopefully get them excited about studying Scripture, but really, really good stuff. And well done, Tim, you spoke to that at the beginning of the program, just the fact that it’s high quality, we were all nervous about how good is this going to be because we’ve had bad experiences with  “Christian entertainment” in the past. But this is top-notch.

Super excited about it. I want you to get the opportunity to share it with your friends and family as well. So be sure and visit those links wallbuilderslive.com and while you’re there at wallbuilderslive.com, you can grab archives from the last few weeks, you can learn about stations we’re on across the nation and most importantly, you can consider that contribute button, it’s really easy to do and it’s a great time of the year to do it.

Right here at the end of the year, you can make that end-of-the-year donation as a listener-supported program. We depend on you to be able to spread this good news, to be able to teach people about the founding of our country, to be able to equip them to be good citizens. You are a part of that when you contribute at wallbuilderslive.com. We appreciate your partnership and your end of your donation there as well. Thanks so much for listening today. You’ve been listening to WallBuilders Live.