Freedom of religion: More than 80 black celebrities have joined forces to read, sing and compose music for "The Bible Experience"
More than 80 black celebrities have joined forces to read, sing and compose music for "The Bible Experience," a new 70-hour dramatic audio performance of Scriptures.
Actor Blair Underwood landed one of the key roles in the production - the "L.A. Law" star gets to record the voice of Jesus.
"Whether you believe the doctrine or not, you cannot deny the impact that the life of
this man, Jesus, had on everyday life," said Underwood, who played Jesus Christ coming back to earth as a man of color in the 1992 movie "The Second Coming."
Underwood's favorite part of his role is the crucifixion. It was "the culmination of the three years of his teachings, but it was the beginning of a whole new walk for believers forever," he told USA Today.
Oscar-winner Denzel Washington also makes a contribution to "The Bible Experience," reciting the love poetry of Solomon's Song of Songs along with his wife Pauletta.
Cuba Gooding Jr. is the voice of Judas, and also the prophet Jonah from the Old Testament. Robert Guillaume is the mighty angel of Revelation, as well as Noah.
Angela Bassett reads the Christmas story and is Ester from the Old Testament. Tisha Campbell-Martin of "My Wife and Kids" takes the role of Mary Magdalene.
Hip-hopper Heavy D reads the Apostle Andrew, and gospel great Shirley Caesar reads Naomi.
"Our co-producer Lou 'Buster' Brown says we're taking God's word and we're gel-capping it: surrounding it with elements that make it more palatable for mass consumption in today's marketplace," Kyle Bowser, an award-winning co-producer from Inspired By Media Group, told USA Today.
The group launched the multimillion-dollar project with financing from Zondervan, the nation's largest Bible publisher.
One question arose during casting: Should only faithful Christians get roles in the project? "Some of the people whose voices they will be reading were not exactly saints, either," Paul Caminiti, publisher of Bibles for Zondervan, told USA Today.
(Bosun's comment: This is very good question. Please comment about it in the blog comments section. I would like to hear your response)
"We wanted something unusual, something more visceral, something more experiential," he added. "We're trying to engage a new urban generation, and most are already turned off" by the King James' archaic translation.
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