For this installment of Getting Back to Filming, we’re featuring an actor currently shooting in a production location that hasn’t yet been covered by the series. Jonathan Roumie is known for his work on shows like Chicago Med, The Mindy Project, and Ballers, and now he’s filming in Utah for season two of The Chosen. During a day off from shooting, Roumie virtually sat down with Casting Networks® to talk about getting back to working on set in times of COVID-19, as well as his experience with playing Jesus Christ.
Can you tell us about your current on-set experience in light of the COVID-19 protocols now in place?
I think The Chosen is very fortunate in that we’ve adopted an approach to filming during COVID-19 that ensures we are working within a sort of bubble. Rather than having A and B zones, we’ve upgraded the entire cast and crew to all be in Zone A. Everyone is tested three to five times a week and wears masks and face shields. And when actors take off their masks for scenes, it makes it more comfortable to know that every person on set is at the same level of being tested. I think the approach helps us move steadily through the flow of our workday so that we can still get all the shots we need and meet the schedule. We have our own little production cocoon.
I like how you put that. Has all the time together affected your relationships with other cast members?
Definitely. The general COVID-19 regulations are different in Utah than in California. For example, they allow in-house dining at restaurants here. But we don’t want to risk exposure so we get takeout and bring it back to the hotel, which is kind of our safety zone, and eat together. It’s built our bond as cast members, and we’ve become more like a little family. On the weekends when we’re off, our little pod tends to just stay inside, and we’ve had a lot of in-room parties together so it’s still fun.
That’s great to hear how the precautions that come with filming right now have had a really positive effect on the cast’s camaraderie. So overall, how would you describe the feeling of being back on set?
First of all, it’s incredibly humbling to even have the opportunity to work at this time in history. And this series has been one of the most rewarding projects I’ve ever been a part of. It’s been life-changing — and I mean that quite literally — but not just for me. Recently I was told about someone who was suicidal, who after watching the show was so impacted by its message and the character I play [Jesus Christ] that they decided to continue living. They found hope and meaning in their life. We’ve had thousands of messages from people all over the world regarding the power of this story, from people who believe in Christ and from people who don’t. It’s been a profound journey and demonstrates to me that God is using this show to do good in the world at a time when we most need it. I’ve never experienced anything like it.
During his interview, Roumie also spoke to his experience of working on a series that’s broken records for crowdfunding. “At this point, we’ve crowdfunded over $20 million,” Roumie noted of The Chosen, which The Hollywood Reporter quoted last year as having the largest-ever crowdfunding campaign. And the actor leaves us with one last thought about the series that got him back to filming in times of COVID-19. “There’s just something extra special about this one,” Roumie asserted.
This interview has been edited and condensed.