Hispanics are historically religious and keen to Biblical knowledge, how do you present this film to them and their sensitivities?
Joseph: RISEN is a whole new take on the resurrection. We pick up where THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST left off and see the story through new eyes. My character, Clavius is a Roman Tribune or modern day detective and is given the task to find out what happened to Jesus after he is risen. The story is a ticking clock to gather all the information and get some answers. It’s a fresh new angle we haven’t seen before.
Did you feel any pressure to accurately depict a historical & Biblical story?
The filmmakers definitely relied on experts in History and Biblical times for accurate representation of the film’s story and dialogue. Director Kevin Reynolds really wanted to create an epic, cinematic experience set in the time of Jesus’ resurrection so the film was able to have a balance of entertainment and accuracy.
How did director Kevin Reynolds present this period piece and what were some challenges on set?
We were lucky to be able to film on location in Malta where the architecture really lent itself to the nature of the film and created some beautiful scenery. We filmed in Spain to recreate the Sea of Galilea and were blessed with multiple landscapes and a diverse cast. Our Jesus is not blonde with blue eyes, which says a lot especially in such political times in Hollywood with race.
How did you prepare for your role as Clavius?
This role was much more of a physical one, so I trained in Rome at a Gladiator school to really understand the physical demands of the real life persona. Clavius was detective so I also met with real life detectives to learn how to interrogate people with precision. Clavius had to be rigid and still deal with the inevitable truths that were presented.
Do you prefer period pieces? Stage work?
I’ve done plenty of period pieces but I don’t see them as period pieces, the human condition is all the same but the character may not be driving a car, flying in an airplane or on their smartphone. As for stage work, I found my voice in theater and had no desire to be in film until I was discovered and cast in films.
What can we expect from you after RISEN?
I’m going back to theater later this year, doing a play in Britain as Lawrence of Arabia after his mental breakdown in the Middle East.