Hollywood actors and music artists were offered roles that they confessed they could not pass up and an opportunity that Hollywood could not provide. Now, after countless hours of recording, the star-studded line-up will see The Bible Experience an unprecedented project of bringing the Bible to life reach the masses.
Slated for major retailers in October, The Bible Experience is a fully dramatized audio recording of Scripture and is reported as the most ambitious undertaking in recent recording history.
"We do have other dramatized audio versions of the Bible that have been popular, but this is a totally new caliber with all the people involved," said Zondervan spokesperson Leslie Speyers.
Inspired By Media Group and major Christian publisher Zondervan partnered in the production of the landmark project involving a cast of big name Hollywood stars, artists and a group of pastors. The voices of more than 200 people including Denzel Washington, Blair Underwood, Kirk Franklin, Angela Bassett, Donnie McClurkin, and Bishop T.D. Jakes are featured in the recording.
"Almost everyone has said, 'How can I be a part of it?'" said veteran film/TV producer and Emmy-winning casting director Robi Reed, executive producer of the project. "Denzel Washington ... was the first person I asked and the first person to say yes before I could get the whole sentence out. He said, 'I have to do it.'"
Underwood plays the role of Jesus and Samuel L. Jackson voices the part of God.
Speyers expects the project to be "well accepted in the market."
Target audiences include youth, who may be uninterested in the Big Book, people who have never even picked up a Bible or entered a church, and Christians as well. And the best way to get Scripture to them is where they live, said Grammy-winning music producer Louis "Buster" Brown, also executive producer of the project.
The New Testament will be available in CD and mp3 format next month and the Old Testament is scheduled for release in 2007.
Brown stressed that an integral part in the deliverance of the Word of God is also music. "It opens up the heart for the word to be delivered. Music for us in this project is one of the cornerstones to make it all connect."
I am proud to be a part of this landmark project that has afforded me the opportunity to collaborate with so many of my peers to bring this unique and timely version of the Bible to the global marketplace, said Underwood.
Reed noted, "The roles that are being offered them in Hollywood, there's no opportunity to be able to confess [their] faith."
The Bible Experience is a recording of Today's New International Version (TNIV) which was utilized to increase the audio Bible's reach to the 18-34 demographic while simultaneously appealing to the mature consumer.
Inspired By Media Group served the faith-based and general markets by creating family oriented multimedia products that are culturally relevant in scope. Zondervan is the largest Bible publisher and a leading Christian communications company.