Historic Jesus

Dressing the production called for 4,000 different costumes and 2,000 hats and headdresses, running the gamut from the armor of the temple guards at the time of Christ to the mantles and tunics of the Pharisees.

To achieve her part in the film's authenticity, costume designer Rochelle Zaltzman spent weeks in the Jerusalem Library researching clothes and armor of the period. She had previously worked in Israel as an archaeologist. She sought out the right sort of fabrics by combing small village markets and meeting with traders in Tel-Aviv's flea market, the Shuk Ha Pish Pishim.

"I had people in the flea market looking for the right materials for months on end, and when we got them we had to dye them," she recalled. "Our research showed that at the time of Christ there were 35 known shades of clothing colors used, and with some of the costumes we had to re-dye them two and three times to get the exact shade.

Every piece of material you see in the film has a distinct weave, and this is something else we had to achieve since the fabrics of the time were not machine made—they were woven on a loom."

Along with wardrobe mistress Etti Kanner and five helpers, Zaltzman organized the massive tailoring task. Small Arab workshops around Jerusalem were given the job of dyeing the fabrics, using techniques that have hardly changed for centuries.