The results of a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll had revealed that most Americans would prefer to see actor Denzel Washington portray Jesus Christ if a new film on the Gospels was to be made. Now that the poll has been opened to the general public, however, Americans have had a change of heart.
Calling the original poll results "surprising," Shadow and Act blogger and filmmaker Tambay Obenson believed that actor Daniel Day-Lewis would have been chosen instead of Washington, "given that (Vanity Fair's) readership is predominantly Caucasian."
"If anything, I would've expected Daniel Day-Lewis would be #1 by far! Even Ryan Gosling; but I definitely wouldn't have guessed that Denzel Washington would win the contest... Then again, Denzel is one of those non-white actors who has 'transcended race.' It still surprises me though," Obenson wrote on his IndieWire blog covering film and filmmakers of the African Diaspora.
Obenson's conjecture was soon proven right.
Vanity Fair and "60 Minutes" published the results of the poll on Oct. 29 after asking a random sampling of 1,102 U.S. adults ten questions, among which was "If you were directing a new film version of the New Testament, which actor would you cast to play Jesus?"
Although the original poll, conducted via telephone Sept. 27–30, 2012, found that 21 percent of respondents preferred Washington to play the role while 14 percent chose Day-Lewis, since the survey was made available to the public on the "60 Minutes" website, Washington has plummeted in favor while Day-Lewis has emerged with 21 percent of the votes. However, most voters, 41 percent, have said "none of them" are ideal to portray Christ -- with the other choices being Al Pacino, Ryan Gosling, Woody Allen and Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Washington, who currently stars in the film "Flight", last took on a biblical role in the 2010 movie "The Book of Eli", a post-apocalyptic story, in which a lone warrior who feels he is being led by God, makes his way across America to help preserve the last known copy of the Holy Bible.
Day-Lewis' next work will be in theaters Nov. 16, and has him playing Abraham Lincoln, America's 16th president who served during the Civil War and oversaw the abolition of slavery.
The last major motion film on the Gospels, Mel Gibson's the "Passion of the Christ", saw actor Jim Caviezel portray Jesus. The 2004 film reportedly grossed $600 million globally.