Killing Jesus, a three-hour television movie, will premiere on Palm Sunday, March 29, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on National Geographic Channel in the United States, globally in 171 countries in 45 languages and in Spanish on Nat Geo Mundo. The film is the third collaboration between NGC, Scott Free and Bill O’Reilly, whose first two projects together, Emmy-nominated Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln are respectively the two most-watched programs in the network’s history
The movie is based off Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s best seller of the same name, and was brought to life by executive producer Ridley Scott. Combining epic cinematography with intimate storytelling, Killing Jesus was shot entirely in the Moroccan desert with a crew of 250 and more than 4,500 extras. The 93 speaking roles are brought to life by an incredibly diverse cast, with actors representing Lebanon, Morocco, Czech Republic, Ireland, Great Britain, Israel, Canada, Syria, Australia and the United States. The massive production, unlike anything undertaken by National Geographic Channel before, puts familiar Biblical characters under a new lens to give them layers of meaning rarely explored before.
Watch trailer below:
Killing Jesus begins in the era of Jesus’ birth, with King Herod the Great ruling Judea, but feeling uneasy about potential threats to his power. This uneasiness leads Herod to order the murder of all boys under age 2, but a young Jesus and his family have already escaped. Moving 26 years into the future, we follow Jesus as he starts to develop and spread his message and begins to amass a following of devout believers. At the same time, new political players, including Herod’s son Antipas and Roman-appointed ruler Pontius Pilate, find themselves troubled by the growing influence of Jesus, while leaders in the Jewish Temple, Caiaphas and Annas, question his teachings and methods.
Through collusion, conspiracy and influence, Jesus is eventually arrested, in part due to the betrayal of one of his disciples, and crucified. He is buried in an unguarded tomb, and when mourners return several days later to anoint his body, the body is missing.
To this day, the body of Jesus of Nazareth has never been found.
Killing Jesus is produced by Scott Free Productions. For Scott Free, Ridley Scott, David W. Zucker and Mary Lisio are executive producers along with Bill O’Reilly and Teri Weinberg. For National Geographic Channel, executive producers are Charlie Parsons and Heather Moran. Tim Pastore is NGC president of original programming and production.