MIDLOTHIAN, Texas — Before becoming the president of production with the series “The Chosen,” Mark Sourian was an executive at DreamWorks and Universal.

Sourian has worked on projects with Steven Spielberg, Tim Burton, Scott Rudin, Mark Boal and other big names in Hollywood. He’s overseen production on films like “The Ring” and “The Fate of the Furious.” As a producer, he’s worked on “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Delivery Man” and more recently, the series “Echo 3.”

Spielberg once said to The Hollywood Reporter, “Mark’s passion for our projects has been unflagging and, as a director, that’s something you always want in your producer.”

From high school teacher to Hollywood: how a former MGM content head joined ‘The Chosen’

Sourian’s storied career has allowed him to observe firsthand what it’s like to work with “the greats” of Hollywood. It’s an experience that he said primed him to see a strong vision behind the series “The Chosen.”

On the set of “The Chosen” in Midlothian, Texas, Sourian sat down with the Deseret News to talk about what’s it been like since he’s joined the series.

One of the things Sourian said surprised him the most was how “The Chosen” wasn’t any different than working on other productions. “The laws of physics apply no matter what project you’re doing,” he said.

“The Chosen” is a series about the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. When Sourian was first introduced to the project by the agency representing Dallas Jenkins (the creator and director of the show) and Jonathan Roumie (the actor who plays Jesus), he told Deadline he had some skepticism about the project.

That quickly changed when he talked to Jenkins.

“And the more that I got to know Dallas and the more that he talked rather secularly, frankly, about the show, referencing shows like ‘The Wire’ and ‘West Wing,’ that really intrigued me in terms of making me feel like, ‘Wow. Really, truly, this is a guy who has a vision, and this is a show that is an elevated show, and a show that isn’t trying to proselytize, and is something different than what’s been out there before,” Sourian told Deadline.

If you asked Sourian 10 or 15 years ago if he thought he’d be at “The Chosen,” he said he wouldn’t have thought he’d end up here. “Because I think back then, I had a very narrow definition of what I would have thought my life would have been in terms of what defines success.”

What changed was Hollywood, Sourian said. “I think the business of Hollywood has in many ways fractured. It’s less confident in terms of what it is.” Since Hollywood has changed, “The Chosen” has become more viable, he said.

Since joining the show, Sourian told the Deseret News he’s seen moments where he saw something special in Jenkins and the show. “I think it’s becoming a phenomenon,” he said.

During Season 3, there is a scene where Jesus is walking down the main boulevard in Capernaum. People start to recognize who Jesus really is and the disciples become afraid Jesus will get hurt.

In the heat of the Texas sun, hundreds of extras were crowded into an alleyway with smoke machines going. Three cameras were set up to capture the scene. “There’s all this chaos, but it’s controlled chaos and it’s all working.”

While watching that scene come together, Sourian said he remembered thinking to himself, “Wow, I feel like I’m working with Cecil B. DeMille in this moment.” He acknowledged “that may be a slight overstatement,” but said he recalled “feeling like I’m in a moment of greatness.”

Sourian said he also appreciates the location of the production. Midlothian has a population of about 37,000. It’s a town known for its cement industry and steel mine, but is now also the production hub of “The Chosen.”

As a veteran Hollywood industry figure, Sourian also said he thinks it’s great to have a center of production not based in some of the more typical locations, like Hollywood or New York City. “I just love that we’re in a place where there isn’t a lot of production, so that we’re spreading the opportunity for work to a different place in the country.”

Sourian also said the responsibility he feels “is no joke.” This sense of responsibility he feels is one he said is felt by many other crew members.

Millions of people find Jesus’ story in the Bible “incredibly meaningful,” he said. The impact on people who watch the show and the meaning of the show instills in Sourian a real sense of responsibility.

“For some people, for many people, it’s a source of salvation. It’s a source of guiding light, and we just don’t want to mess it up,” he said.