Little and big things we don't know about the series-phenomenon "Jesus of Nazareth"

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Easter without Robert Powell, Franco Tzefireli and "Jesus of Nazareth" is not Easter!

And there's definitely a good reason that the landmark series is played and re-played every year, raising generations and generations of viewers.

A classic accompaniment to Holy Week, the top religious production ever made for television lives and lives again on our television receivers, as if its myth cannot be paid for by its many repetitions!

Imposing cinematically and magnificently dramatically, the series captivates with the interpretations and representation of the divine drama even the unbelievers, composing an all-encompassing atmosphere that follows you forever.

As if not a day had passed since that March 27, 1977, when it premiered on Italian television RAI 1 and gave humanity scenes of anthology. By the time Easter became the most popular television show and nothing could stand against it, "Jesus of Nazareth" had already set several television viewing records in the countries shown (like the more than 90 million viewers in the United States alone! ), in the four corners of the universe that is, and bring back the 16-18 million dollars of its production.

So let's see what else we don't know about these 371 minutes that changed the course of television and enthused Robert Powell in the place of the most recognizable Christ of all time.

How can the crew not be crucified at every meeting with him on set?

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Rarely do the actors who embody Jesus open and close their eyes. This was Jeffreyli's trick to create a visual mysticism around the character that would not only differentiate him from everyone else, but would also give him a superhuman element. The child Jesus opens and closes his eyes only twice in the Temple and the adult Christ only once in the whole series.

Jeffreyli wanted to play the role of Jesus or Dustin Hoffman or Al Pacino. Robert Powell was destined for Judas!

Seven Oscar winners are in the series: Christopher Plummer (later), Lawrence Olivier, Peter Ustinov, Anne Bancroft, Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger and Ernest Borgnain. But there are also six Oscar nominees: James Mason, Ian Holm, Ian Bannon, James Earl Jones, Valentina Cortez and Ralph Richardson.

The series was banned in Egypt as religious leaders did not appreciate its content.

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Peter O'Toole had secured the role of Judas, but was forced to give up production due to illness.

Our George Vogiatzis impersonates Joseph and you can see his mouth speaking English, although in the end his voice was dubbed by an infamous actor. Nevertheless, he was excellent in the all star cast.

Cefireli fervently wanted Marcello Mastroianni for the role of Pilate, but the two sides did not find it financially. In the end, however, he was justified in his choice of Rod Steiger, saying that he was a "wonderful Pilat".

The screenwriter relied mainly on the Gospel of John and kept as many dialogues as possible faithful to the original scripture of the New Testament, leaving even errors in Aramaic.

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Robert Powell was so similar to the representation of Jesus that every time he came out of the rehearsal room everyone was crucified. In fact, the crew cut insults and insults in respect of His face!

Elizabeth Taylor was eager to play Maria Magdalene, but was replaced by Anne Bancroft.

Jeffreyli wanted to recreate the life of Jesus in the glass in an "ecumenical way", a television series that would be appreciated by everyone, even non-Christians. And so he consulted with experts from the Vatican, the Rabbinic School of London and the Koran School of Morocco. The director wanted the young Jesus to read an excerpt from the Pentateuch on the feast of his religious adulthood, but the little boy did not do well in Hebrew and was replaced in English at the last minute.

As for the idea of ​​creating a television series that would faithfully portray the life of Jesus according to the four Gospels, it was that of Pope Paul VI himself.

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Robert Powell has admitted that before playing in the series, he had little to do with religion. Then, of course, all that changed, as Powell was somehow "haunted" by the role.

Christian television, of course, was rocked by Christian groups because they lived "immersed in sin" with their partner, a dancer. And so, in order to escape the criticism of the released life, the couple got married quickly before the shooting of the series began.

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When the emblematic scene of the crucifixion was filmed, Powell fasted for twelve days to look skeletal. In fact, on the days when the crucifixion was filmed, it was very cold. So during the workshop breaks, instead of raising and lowering Powell from the cross, they wrapped him in a blanket and supplied him with cigarettes and cognac.

Although they never admitted it, "Jesus of Nazareth" inspired Monty Python to make their own spartan version, the unique "Brian's Life" (1979). Jeffreyli's series had left the scenes untouched in Morocco and Tunisia and they were eventually used by the terrible British for their film.