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Dallas Jenkins Discusses What He Has Learned About Jesus, Leadership While Filming ‘The Chosen’

Dallas Jenkins
Screengrab via Global Leadership Summit

Dallas Jenkins, creator and director of “The Chosen,” the hit series following the life and ministry of Jesus, was recently interviewed for the Global Leadership Summit (GLS). In the interview, which was shown to attenders of GLS on Thursday (Aug. 3), Jenkins described the effort that has gone into creating an authentic portrayal of Jesus and what he has learned along the way.

The interview, which was conducted by California pastor and author Erwin McManus, was shot on the set of “The Chosen” during the filming of the show’s fourth season. 

The show’s set was constructed on a campground owned by the Salvation Army in Texas. In describing the set, Jenkins said that the crew worked by the axiom, “We sand the underside of the drawer,” meaning that the crew paid attention even to the details that might not end up being visible to viewers of the show. 

“The attention to detail is part of the authenticity that we’re so obsessed with on ‘The Chosen,’” Jenkins said. “And we feel like when you watch the show, we want you to feel like this could really have happened. And that begins with a place like this.”

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Jenkins said that some set pieces even include wood that is over 1,000 years old, adding to the ancient feel of the set. 

When McManus asked Jenkins about his motivation for creating the show, Jenkins said, “We want over a billion people around the world to experience the authentic Jesus, and that really is what gets me up in the morning…I want this show to take hold in people so that they want to know and love Jesus more.” 

“And every step of the way, including the logistics, including the sets, including something like this, is in many ways all in service of that ‘why,’” Jenkins added. 

The Story Behind the Making of ‘The Chosen’

In describing the origins of the show, Jenkins recounted his failed 2017 film, “The Resurrection of Gavin Stone.” The project had represented a huge opportunity for Jenkins to partner with a major studio, but after the movie bombed at the box office, Jenkins thought his directing career was over. 

In that moment of despair, Jenkins said that his wife felt compelled by God to read the New Testament story of Jesus feeding the crowd of 5,000. Neither of them understood why, but the story was sticking in their minds. 

LISTEN: Dallas Jenkins on Why ‘The Chosen’ Is Not ‘Adding to Scripture’

Later, Jenkins said he was writing a 15-page post mortem memo about why he thought his film had failed, placing the blame on himself and trying to understand what went wrong. As he was writing, he received a Facebook message from a man whom he had never met in person, but with whom he had occasionally conversed online.