Divine Intervention? Mark Burnett Offers Insights Into Success of 'The Bible': 'The Hand of God Was on This' EW
“The Bible” producer Mark Burnett says "weird things" happened during the production of the wildly successful History miniseries, which he describes as being touched by "the hand of God."
As previously reported, the show’s premiere Sunday attracted a whopping 13.1 million viewers, ranking the telecast as the most-watched entertainment program on cable this year.
In January, before the miniseries debuted, Burnett, who is married to actress Roma Downey, talked about the production with EW.com, saying: “It will be, over the next 40 or 50 years, the most watched thing that Roma and I have ever made.”
Burnett added. “I really believe what I’m going to tell you right now. The hand of God was on this…. the edit came together perfectly, the actors came together perfectly, it just comes to life.”
The producer also talked about unusual incidents during production of the program. “Weird things happened during filming,” he said. “Everybody would look at each other like, ‘Whoa.’”
The incidents included a huge wind that Burnett described "as if a 747 was taking off" during a scene with Jesus and Nicodemus, just when Jesus says, "The Holy Spirit is like the wind," the story notes.
Said Burnett: “At that moment, a wind, like as if a 747 was taking off, blew his hair, almost blew the set over and sustained for 20 seconds across the desert, and the actors didn’t break -- they kept going. And everything stopped. Everyone just looked at everyone like, ‘What just happened?’”
Another odd event occurred when a portion of Jesus' costume disappeared in a reservoir during a baptism scene. Four days later, a child from a town "many, many, many miles away" arrived with the missing part of the costume, Burnett said. "He didn’t know what it was [or] why he should seek us, but he felt he had to return it," the producer added.
In still another unusual incident, a snake wrangler found 48 cobras and vipers hidden in the rocks near the cross on the day the crucifixion scene was to be shot, the piece says.
Said Burnett: “We had a snake wrangler every day on the set. I mean, we’ve got a couple hundred people shooting, and we can’t afford to have people getting bitten by snakes. Every day, this guy would find a snake or maybe two snakes, and remove them. On the day of the crucifixion, a lot of people prayed. The cross was a huge thing. They prayed [for safety], ‘Imagine if this cross fell. The actor playing Jesus could be killed or badly injured.’ The snake man came to work that day -- he’d gotten there early on the mountain playing Golgotha, and the bag of snakes [he was carrying] was the biggest bag I’d ever seen. He came to my wife and said, ‘Miss Roma, there were 48 snakes.’ He found 48 cobras and vipers hidden within the rocks around the cross.”