Steven Moyer (True Blood), Kelsey Grammer (Cheers, Boss), Rufus Sewell (Hercules) and Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage) are among the cast of National Geographic Channel’s upcoming television event Killing Jesus, the network announced today.
Slated to premiere in 2015, the film is based on the bestselling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard and will recount the political, social and historical conflicts during the Roman Empire that led to the death of Jesus of Nazarene, whom O’Reilly calls “the most famous human being who ever lived.” Killing Jesus marks the third O’Reilly/Dugard adaptation. Killing Kennedy, a 2014 Best Television Movie Emmy nominee premiered in November 2013 and became the most-watched program in the channel’s history. Killing Lincoln premiered in February 2013.
Executive produced by O’Reilly, Ridley Scott, David Zucker, Mary Lisio and Teri Weinberg, and currently shooting in Morocco, Killing Jesus will be broadcast in 171 countries and 45 languages and stars Haaz Sleiman (Covert Affairs) in the title role.
Grammer will play Herod, King of Judea, who attempted to kill Jesus at birth, while Moyer portrays Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who ordered Jesus’ crucifixion. Sewell takes on the role of Caiaphas, high priest of Jerusalem and conspirator in Jesus’ death; Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage) plays Herodia, ex-wife of Herod II and John Rhys Davies (Indiana Jones) plays Annas, a high priest in Jerusalem who first questioned Jesus and his teachings.
Rounding out the cast is:
- Aneurin Barnard (The White Queen) as James
- Vernon Dobtcheff (Before Sunset) as Isaiah
- Joe Doyle (Reign) as Judas
- Tamsin Egerton (The Look of Love) as Claudia
- Abhin Galeya (Cleanskin) as John the Baptist
- Stephanie Leonidas (Defiance) as Salome
- John Lynch (Sliding Doors) as Nicodemus
- Eoin Macken (The Night Shift) as Antipas
- Alexis Rodney (Guardians of the Galaxy) as Simon (Peter)
“The combined talent of this incredible cast is unparalleled, and we can’t wait to see what this team of actors can do,” said National Geographic Channel’s Heather Moran in a statement. “With this stellar cast and breathtaking script by Walon [Green] based on Bill’s page-turner, we are going to explore the seismic political and historical events that surrounded the life and death of Jesus as never before.”
“The superb cast and script reflect much thought and research,” O’Reilly added. “Viewers are in for something very different and very special.”
Photo: Courtesy of National Geographic Channel