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Meet the Actor: Bruce Marchiano Print Email
Written by Production   
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 11:15 AM America/New_York

Best known for his portrayal of Jesus in the Visual Bible Series: Matthew, Bruce Marchiano reprises the role in Encounter, released on DVD this month by PureFlix Entertainment.


What’s Encounter all about? 


Well, you have a handful of people on a lonely stretch of highway in a terrible storm and they seek refuge in a roadside café. It’s very mysterious; it’s almost Twilight Zone-ish that this café would be out there in the middle of nowhere. Little do they know that the sole proprietor and the waiter and the cook—the one guy in the café—is Jesus in present-day life. He meets them in the middle of all of their struggles—in the middle of all of their life questions.  


How did you come to be a part of the project? 

I just received a phone call from the director/producer, David A.R. White. After reading the script, I had a couple of questions and I explained to him, “Look, if you want me to play Jesus, which I would love to do, the thing that’s very, very deeply important to me and—I’ll say this humbly—I think to the Lord, is that everything that’s done—every conversation, every answer to every question—must be done in fullness of love. The people have to see that the heart of God breaks over their pain. They have to see it in every glance; they have to hear it between the lines.” He just smiled, he understood that, and he said, “Yeah, let’s go for it.” The next thing I knew, we were on the set shooting. 


What was the shoot like?

It was equally exciting and grueling. It’s been said that making movies is a little bit like going to war. You’re thrown in with this group of people and they more or less become your family. You’re with them around the clock in a very intense situation. We started shooting at 6 p.m. and we ended our days at about 6 a.m., sometimes 8 a.m. We did that straight through—I think the shoot was a solid seven days. You can imagine by the end of that everybody was pretty depleted and pretty exhausted. At the same time, it was remarkably exciting because we’re dealing with the heart of the living God in this film.

What was it like playing a modern-day Jesus?

 For me, the only thing that changed was the costume. I basically did the same thing I did in Matthew, which is basically just love the people, desperately love the people, just feel heartbreak over their pain—deal with them hands-on, face-to-face, eye-to-eye, intimately, involved in their life and speaking truth even when it hurts.

You’re inextricably linked with playing the person of Jesus: Is that ever a burden? 

Yeah, there are times—only in the sense that I’m a guy who loves making movies. I’m an actor who loves creating characters, and once you play Jesus, it’s hard for the movie world to see you in any other capacity. So many Christian films have been made, and I’ve often been asked, “How come they didn’t ask you to play that part?” A lot of times the answer is that they just can’t imagine me outside of the robe and sandals and the beard. So there are times when it’s a burden, but it’s a very tiny, tiny burden because it truly is the honor of honors, the privilege of privileges. I say this and really I mean it. If I never play another character as long as I live, I’m the happiest guy in the world.


Listen to the complete conversation at