A few months before “The Chosen” creator Dallas Jenkins reached out to Jonathan Roumie, the actor was broke. But his life changed when he was cast as Jesus in the series.

“The Chosen” is a hit series about the life, ministry and death of Jesus. The cast and crew recently completed filming the fourth season of the show in Goshen, Utah. Season 4 has an expected release date of January or February 2024, according to Jenkins.

Roumie recently spoke to The New Yorker about the call from Jenkins that would change his life and career.

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“After two decades struggling in the industry (bit parts on ‘All My Children,’ sitcoms and video games), Roumie was broke. He fell to his knees in his tiny apartment, surrendered to God, and had a mystical experience. Unburdened, he spent his last twenty dollars on a big breakfast, and, when he got home, he found in his mailbox four unexpected checks,” The New Yorker reported.

And then, just shortly after this experience, Jenkins called him. Now Roumie is the lead actor in “The Chosen.”

Since landing the role as Jesus, “The Chosen” has been streamed more than 500 million times, per The New Yorker.

For Roumie, playing the role of Jesus is an honor.

“I love Jesus and it is the honor of my life to get to portray him. As long as God keeps bringing me stories that I can honor him with, to me, it doesn’t matter what genre they may or may not fall into. It just happens to be that at this stage, there is a lot for me to mine and relate to that are in sort of the faith-minded genre,” he said to the Deseret News.

Playing the role is a tall order. “Jesus is the only character who I would hope to stay in character as all the time. But some people want a spiritual encounter, and that can be hard to live up to. I’m not Jesus,” Roumie told Gideon Jacobs for The New Yorker.

“The Chosen” isn’t the only faith-conscious project he’s been involved with recently.

In between filming seasons of “The Chosen,” he also recently starred as a hippie preacher by the name of Lonnie Frisbee in the film “Jesus Revolution,” which is now streaming on Netflix. The film follows pastor Chuck Smith (Kelsey Grammar) who teams up with Frisbee to start the Jesus movement.

“I think Lonnie’s heart was to serve God in the best way possible. ... It was a real honor for me to be able to step into his shoes and hopefully I did him some justice,” Roumie told the Deseret News.

Why the actor who portrays Jesus in ‘The Chosen’ turned hippie preacher in ‘Jesus Revolution’

Roumie’s faith-based content extends beyond the entertainment sphere into the social media world. As Gideon Jacobs put it in The New Yorker, off screen, Roumie is something of a Christian influencer. He’s a devout Roman Catholic whose Instagram account features posts about the Catholic meditation and prayer app Hallow and his partnerships with Ghirelli, an Italian jewelry brand which sells rosaries.

Along with fellow actors Jim Caviezel and Mark Wahlberg, Roumie can be found leading meditation challenges, like one they did during Lent where they meditated on “The Imitation of Christ.”

The actor who portrays Jesus in ‘The Chosen’ spoke at the March for Life this year

Roumie has also become a public anti-abortion advocate. “The Chosen” actor has also been a keynote speaker at the March for Life in 2023, per the Deseret News.

“The light of world, who is Jesus Christ, the author of life, his light has burned so very brightly within each and every one of you, irrespective of your specific beliefs, compelling you forward for one reason or another to stand together today to fight for the worthiest and noblest cause possible — which is to allow the unborn the right to enter into the world, and defeat those earthy forces who seek to destroy the very evidence of them,” he said during his speech.

Now that filming of “The Chosen” Season 4 has wrapped up, what’s next for Roumie?

“I’m ready to be on a break,” Roumie said in a livestream. He also headed to Portugal for World Youth Day.

“The Chosen” will run through Season 7 and then after that, he plans on resting and evaluating where the business is. “I would love to do a really well-made exorcist film, kind of like a throwback to the original,” he said. He also indicated he’d like to do a Western or sci-fi film.

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