By Rubin E. Grant
Almost from the outset, Lori Smith was hooked on “The Chosen,” a television drama based on the life of Jesus.
So, when she had the opportunity to be an extra in an episode, she jumped on it.
In early June, Smith traveled to Midlothian, Texas, just north of Dallas, to take part in the filming of the Feeding of the 5,000 scene. The filming lasted three days, and the scene will be included in the season 3 finale, expected to air in December or January.
“It’s really exciting,” said Smith, a resident of Mountain Brook who attends St. Luke’s Episcopal Church. “Four years ago, I was scrolling Facebook and something caught my eye. It mentioned something about the show, even before a thing had been filmed.”
What Smith saw was a 20-minute clip called ‘The Shepherd.’ When it was released, she got a chance to watch it and it referenced how viewers could invest in the upcoming drama “The Chosen.”
“After watching the clip, I decided that whatever it takes I wanted to be a part of it,” Smith said.
The show is completely crowd-funded, and those interested can make a financial investment. The producers needed $10 million to film the first season. Smith made an initial $100 contribution and has continued to invest in the show.
“The show is free to the viewer, with millions of dollars being raised by ‘paying it forward,’ if someone is able, in order for other people to have the chance to watch it, too,” Smith said.
American filmmaker Dallas Jenkins created, directed and co-wrote “The Chosen.” He is the son of Jerry B. Jenkins, a Christian novelist best known for the Left Behind series.
“The first season was better than I thought it was going to be,” Smith said. “Each season has eight episodes and each episode is typically about 45 to 50 minutes in length.”
Humanizing Jesus and the Apostles
Smith can’t hide her enthusiasm about the show, giving it a glowing review.
“What I like about ‘The Chosen’ is that it allows you to get to know each of the apostles more personally and intimately, including all of their flaws and imperfections, while at the same time showing the human side of Jesus and his compassion for others and the impact this has on those around him,” she said.
“What I especially love about ‘The Chosen’ is how it tries to be as biblically accurate as possible even though it does take some liberty in writing back stories that allow you to get to know the apostles and those involved in Jesus’ life better. There is a Catholic priest, a Jewish rabbi and an evangelical pastor who are consulted regularly.”
There is a “The Chosen” app that can be downloaded and through which the show can be watched on any device. Episodes also can be streamed on TV with Apple TV or Roku and viewed on YouTube.
“Currently, there are approximately 400 million people who have watched ‘The Chosen,’ and it is available worldwide and in multiple languages,” Smith said. “What is especially amazing is how well it has been received by all generations, young and old, in addition to lay people and clergy alike. The pope has even embraced it.”
Smith can’t wait to watch the episode featuring the Feeding of the 5,000 scene.
“On the first day of filming, they literally had 5,000 extras there who are all fans of ‘The Chosen,’ which is how I got to be a part of the show,” she said. “It was neat to see the different groups each hour. I got to meet people from all over the country and world who love the show, including someone from South Africa and Canada.
“I have to say the experience was truly one of the most meaningful and amazing experiences of my life. It was really a special day.”