The National Geographic Channel had it’s highest viewing numbers in the channel’s history last night, March 29th, with the premiere of Killing Jesus. The three hour movie brought in a total of 3.7 million viewers and according to the network the success of Killing Jesus is due to:
… the hard work and dedication of the production team on the ground in Morocco, the talented and versatile cast and the support of our partners at National Geographic and Fox.”
No doubt the above is true, but we watched for Steve. It’s a secret, so mum’s the word.
Furthermore, the 8 p.m. three-hour premiere garnered a 2.8 household rating — the second-highest in network history — and a 1.0 among adults 25-54. That latter Nielsen figure is the highest in the demo since November 2013’s “Killing Kennedy,” and is more than 300 percent higher than the timeslot’s 180-minute average thus far this year.
If you missed Killing Jesus on NatGeo, you’ll be able to catch encores on Fox News Channel on Friday, April 3rd and on Easter Sunday.
Stephen Moyer posted this fantastic selfie to his Instagram this morning to remind the world that Killing Jesus airs tonight at 8 pm on National Geographic Channel. Don’t miss out on this worldwide event!
As everyone in Stevedom knows, Killing Jesus premieres tonight on the National Geographic Channel. Steve was interviewed by Channel Guide Magazine’s Lori Acken shortly after his arrival for filming in Ouarzazate, Morocco. Actually, Steve jumped into filming an intense scene with Rufus Sewell straight away, despite only having three hours of sleep after his grueling twenty hour journey to get there. Steve discussed Pilate’s dilemma in the scene right after the shoot.
“There is quite an interesting scene at the front of the film where, when he first gets to Jerusalem, he puts the emperor’s face on banners, which is idolatry, so he is on a back foot from then on and needs the priests to be his conduit,” Moyer explains. “One of the questions I think is interesting is when this type of story is being told is we don’t know about what else was going on at the time. The story is always about Jesus, but we don’t know how many other decisions Pilate was having to make, how many other councils he was taking, whether this was even important to him.”
“This was a man who was causing a fracas, if you like, and it was definitely something the priests wanted to be rid of, but was this actually, in reality, just a moment where he’s like, ‘OK, great, just get rid of him’?” Moyer wonders, “because we all know that this wasn’t written down until long after the event. But that’s the version that we’re telling, and that’s the story we’ve been taught since we were children and the story our children’s children will be told.”
Moyer says that he appreciates how the script, based on the bestselling book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, lends dimension to the tumultuous path that led Pilate to make a decision that would change the course of Christianity, giving him some breathing room as an actor.
“I really like the fact that Pilate does it with a nod and I put that little moment in of him walking away — because he feels he’s been pushed into this position,” Moyer says. “He doesn’t necessarily believe that this man deserves die but when you know the story as well as we all do, and we’ve so many definitive versions of it, I think it’s very hard to tell it in a different way. So you look for little details to make it yours. … I think that Pilate is pushed into this. Caiaphas exonerates himself by pushing it, by making somebody else make a decision for him.”
Moyer also believes the film’s focus on history over divinity lends nuance to Jesus’ journey and the true power of his legacy.
“There is an interesting moment in the script where I don’t think that Jesus has even come to understand who he is, or what he is,” Moyer explains. “It’s that famous moment where he goes to see John, his cousin, and because he’s heard that he’s baptizing people and Jesus says ‘I’ve come to be baptized’ and John says, ‘But it is I that should be baptized by you’ — and the way that it plays in our story is that’s a key moment where Jesus kind of goes, ‘Oh, well maybe I am more than I thought I was.’ I think it’s important that we don’t necessarily see God talking to Jesus; we see him making this thing up — and I don’t mean that in a blasphemous way. I mean he is creating who — and what — he is as he goes along.”
“He never specifically names himself the Son of God. You always see somebody say it — sometimes it’s Pilate that says it, sometimes it’s Herod — ‘You say you are the Son of God and Jesus says, ‘No that’s what you say I am.’ That’s not in our version.”
Like many of his cast mates on the Killing Jesus set, Moyer says he does not adhere to a specific religion, but finds this story fascinating from a historical and sociological standpoint.
“I have had an interesting relationship with religion myself over the years and it started out in Sunday school as a kid,” Moyer says. “I am not religious — I don’t have that in me and I specifically moved away from it — but I am still fascinated by it. I often think that atheists often become kind of obsessed by the bible, interestingly. Having a belief system of any kind is a faith in it’s own way. I often say by even saying the word ‘faith’ out loud you have to believe in something.”
By Pilate’s side as he acquiesces to Jesus crucifixion is his wife Claudia (a luminous Tamsin Egerton). Moyer says he found their relationship intriguing.
“There are some good moments between us where they are obviously in love they are obviously a team, in the very modern way of kind of putting it,” he says. “She’s there to be his beauty and he’s there to run the place, but it does feel like an interesting, modern union. I don’t know whether Pilate necessarily regards her as his equal, but he is certainly interested in her judgment,” he says, “and I tried not to look at her at the end, because I know that she’s feeling that this is a bad decision. She says, ‘You will feel the wrath of his followers.’
“But they were together until the end, we know that much they went off and retired together somewhere!”
Ultimately, Moyer says, Killing Jesus is filled with subtleties that allow viewers of all religions — or none — to explore the origins of a remarkable time in history that has, 2,000 years later, united 2.2 billion people around the world.
“It’s so interesting, isn’t it?” Moyer smiles. “I wonder what the truth is. We all do. And yet ultimately, not only do we know how it ends, we have all been lead to believe by the gospels that Jesus knew that it was happening, and that Jesus made this decision that what was coming to him was for a reason. You know the fact that there’s that moment before the Last Supper where his mom says, ‘Am I going to see you talk in the temple?’ and he says ‘No, that’s over. That’s over now, and the tide has turned and everything’s changing now.’ We don’t know whether that’s how it played out, but I do think that it’s an interesting when he accepts his fate. It’s almost as if nothing that Pilate could have done would have made a difference anyway. Pilate is an instrument of the procedure.”
Don’t forget to set your DVRs to the National Geographic Channel tonight at 8:00!!!
Some of the cast of Killing Jesus recently played a game titled, Bible or BS on Yahoo TV. Stephen Moyer isn’t among the cast playing, but he’s certainly part of the video. I guess these actors got the same glimpses of Steve in a towel as we did.
Thanks for the heads up, Wicked!
Our friend, Jane, recently had the opportunity to visit her folks in Wales, and she didn’t pass up the opportunity to check out one of the filming locations of The Bastard Executioner, Caerphilly Castle. Jane was kind enough to share some history of the castle, as well as some snapshots that she took of her tourist outing. The following is Jane’s account:
Having come over to South Wales to visit my mother for her birthday I felt it would be a little unfair to skive off looking for Steve all the time, so I suggested a visit to Caerphilly Castle.
Caerphilly Castle is one of the largest Castles in the UK, second only to Windsor Castle and possibly one of the grandest Medieval buildings in Europe. It was built in just three years between 1268 and 1271 by Gilbert de Clare and was a revolutionary masterpiece of military planning. His purpose was to secure the area and prevent lowland South Wales from falling into the hands of the Welsh leader Llywelyn the Last, who controlled most of mid and north Wales.
One of the first examples of concentric design, it is effectively a castle within the walls of another castle with two enormous curtain walls surrounding an inner moat, the whole surrounded by a lake making the Castle impregnable.
After the death of Gilbert, Hugh Despenser, the husband of his eldest daughter Eleanor, acquired the castle. However, in late 1326, he sided with King Edward II, who was facing rebellion against his rule of England. The pair holed up in Caerphilly, and subsequently tried to hide elsewhere in Wales from the approaching popular uprising against them, lead by Isabella of France. Both were captured – Despenser hung, drawn and quartered; and Edward forced to abdicate – and face a grisly death.
Today the castle demonstrates varying degrees of preservation. The north-west tower is complete although little remains of the north-east tower. The South-east tower is partly ruined. It stands 15m high and leans at an alarming angle, 10 degrees out of true. This tilt is greater than that of the tower of Pisa. The cause, whether subsidence or Civil War damage, is unknown.
The tops of the round towers are accessed by spiral staircases, all of which, in common with all Medieval Castles in the UK, spiral in a clockwise direction. This is so that the defenders could get a good swing with a sword in their right hands, while the attackers would be hampered by the inside wall of the staircase.
Sadly, when we arrived the film crew was packing up having done their filming the day before. However, at least we could go in, which would not have been the case if we’d arrived when filming was going on…..mum wouldn’t have been impressed!
Zap2It got their hands on this preview clip of Killing Jesus, featuring none other than Stephen Moyer receiving a massage. I’m sure there was important dialogue, however, I was too busy drooling to pay much attention …
Wherever Stephen goes blood is sure to follow or … so it seems. Unfortunately for us, it may not be Tru:Blood, but this latest delivery to Steve’s new series, The Bastard Executioner … makes us believe it’s gonna be bloody exciting. We have a feeling this blood won’t be tasting like boysenberry, though.
Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall will be the setting for Killing Jesus’ world premiere. The red carpet event will take place on Monday, March 23rd at 6:15 p.m. Unfortunately Stephen Moyer is not listed as an attendee, but that might be a good thing because he’s too busy filming lots of scenes for The Bastard Executioner. At least, that’s our hope. Just think, in a little over a week, our television screens will be graced with Steve! Yay!
If you aren’t following NatGeoChannel on Instagram, maybe you should reconsider. Today, March 18th, they shared a short trailer of a scene between Stephen Moyer and Rufus Sewell. If your whistle wasn’t whet before, I’m sure it will be after watching this short video.
Less than two weeks to go before we can bask in some Steve.
Steve was interviewed for Yahoo! TV while on the Killing Jesus set in Morocco.
“You get to see Pilate a little bit behind-the-scenes. It’s not just played out in front of a crowd,” Moyer says of the Roman governor of Jerusalem who decided Jesus’s fate. “I think sometimes when I’ve seen it portrayed, he comes across as weak. We don’t see what other things Caiaphas [high priest of Jerusalem and conspirator in Jesus’s death, played by Rufus Sewell] has got on, what other things Antipas [the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, played by Eoin Macken] is dealing with, what Pilate is dealing with running a city on a daily basis. And it could quite simply have been that at one moment he’s doing roads and taxes, at another point somebody’s stolen from somebody, and the next one comes in and this one thinks he’s King of the Jews, and it’s just, ‘OK, scourge him. Tax him.’”
As Killing Jesus unfolds, “Caiaphas just keeps pushing and pushing and pushing until finally, Pilate just eventually nods,” Moyer says. “That’s all it takes to create this domino effect of the next 2,000 years. The idea that something like that could be the wellspring for what Christianity became is a fascinating idea, because one would think it would have to be something far bigger. And so I think that, if anything, there is within this script a lot of those kind of subtleties that make it interesting.”
Killing Jesus premieres March 29 at 8 p.m. on National Geographic Channel.
Stephen Moyer’s upcoming television series, The Bastard Executioner, has received it’s new font and logo! Today, March 12th, Kurt Sutter shared the new design on Twitter. Though the premiere of TBX is months away, it’s the little disclosures like this we hope will make the time ahead speed by.
Obviously, we don’t know everything Steve does with his down time from working on TBX, but we do know a couple of things. Firstly, Steve bought himself a Martin electro-acoustic guitar from Cranes Music store in Cardiff, the capital of Wales. And secondly, Steve filled a long term desire by spending many an hour or more likely, just a few clicks of his laptop keys and changed his Twitter handle from @_smoyer to the more user friendly @smoyer.
Rock on, Steve!
Killing Jesus debuts on National Geographic Channel on Sunday, March 29th at 8:00 p.m. But you don’t have to wait until then to gain more insight into the production, as there is a Killing Jesus website! Check out the features that take you on the journey from the birth of Jesus Christ to his crucifixion. You are also given the option of following specific perspectives of the story: The Crown of Thorns (Jesus and his followers), Priests’ Headdress (The Sanhedrin, religious leaders of Judea), or Crown of Laurels (Roman Political Powers).
By clicking on Crown of Laurels, you will have the opportunity to hear a bit of Steve as Pontius Pilate. A mini biography is also provided.
Don’t forget, in a little over three weeks, our television screens will be graced with Steve’s presence once again!
HBO and CASM Films are in negotiations for Madame X, a period miniseries based on Kate Manning’s book, My Notorious Life. Not only would Anna Paquin be starring in this film, but she and Steve will be executive producing alongside Jack Black’s production company, Electric Dynamite.
Written by Julia Hart (The Keeping Room) and to be directed by Lynn Shelton (Your Sister’s Sister), Madame X, which will go through development, is set in Victorian New York City. Described as “a love story, a family saga, and the confessions of a charismatic and passionate woman who changed the lives of countless others”, it centers on Axie Muldoon (Paquin), one of the wealthiest and controversial women of her day. Inspired by the story of an infamous female physician, Axie helped her husband build a thriving midwife business and defied the law in the name of women’s reproductive rights.