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‘Jonathan & Jesus’ Docuseries Shines Light on the ‘Joy’ and ‘Responsibility’ of Playing Jesus on ‘The Chosen’

jonathan roumie
Screenshot from YouTube / @jonathanroumie_official

A new docuseries on Amazon Prime explores the growth of the TV series “The Chosen” following Season 2, focusing on what it is like for actor Jonathan Roumie to play the role of Jesus. “Jonathan & Jesus” offers a look into the joy and heaviness Roumie experiences because of playing the Son of God.

“There was a moment, probably in the middle of filming Season 1, that was the first time in the series where I had started preaching from Scriptures,” said Roumie in a conversation with Francis Chan, who expressed that he personally would be reluctant to play Jesus. “And I had never preached on film before.” 

RELATED: ‘The Chosen’ Star Jonathan Roumie Doesn’t Feel Responsible To ‘Be Jesus,’ but Cites Prayer and Scripture as Essential to Playing Role ‘Authentically’

Roumie told Dallas Jenkins, the show’s director, creator and co-writer, “I feel really unsettled.” Jenkins responded, “Brother, none of us are worthy to be here doing this. But God put you and I here at this time to be able to tell this story to have an impact on society. And so you’re supposed to be here.” 

Roumie, who is a devout Catholic, has chosen to continue in the role while praying, “Lord, just let people see me as you want them to see you.” Yet, as the docuseries shows, the role is a serious responsibility as well as a gift.

Jonathan Roumie: ‘It’s Humbling’

Jonathan & Jesus” released on Prime Video on Jan. 4 and is comprised of four episodes. The series features appearances from a variety of ministry leaders, celebrities and experts, including Alice Cooper, Bob Goff, Pope Francis, Phillip Yancey, Nicky Gumbel, and The Killers’ lead singer Brandon Flowers. Roumie’s sister, Olivia, also shares her perspective on her brother’s success.

The docuseries gives a glimpse into Jonathan Roumie’s daily life and shows the actor traveling throughout the world to promote “The Chosen” and to conduct research for it. Roumie also meets with key figures, discussing various topics with them, such as when he has a conversation with Alice Cooper about the nature of fame. Throughout the docuseries, ministry leaders and experts like Rabbi Jason Sobel share thoughts on the nature of Christianity and the person of Jesus.  

One of the most striking aspects of “Jonathan & Jesus” is the expectations people place upon Roumie as a representative of Jesus and his process of wrestling with that reality. “The Chosen” has changed Roumie’s life dramatically, not least because he went from being a “starving actor” to starring in a TV series that has become a global phenomenon (as well as gaining his first lead role in a feature film with “Jesus Revolution”).

Another significant change is that now Jonathan Roumie’s face is the one that many people envision when they think of Jesus, and that will continue to be the case long after he is done with the role. At one point, tired from a marathon day of interviews, Roumie is overwhelmed by this thought. “Everything felt claustrophobic for a minute,” he said, asking himself, “How do I not be this right now when I don’t want to be? How do I turn it off?”