The casting of Brian Deacon to play Jesus happened only after the screen testing of 263 other actors. Says Heyman, "Brian was chosen because he so simply and effortlessly portrayed the picture of the man Luke has handed down to us. Also, his magnificent use of English was an important factor. We felt that an accented English could detract from the language of the Bible we are so accustomed to."
Deacon sees "Jesus" as the most important role of his career, and recognizes in it a tremendous responsibility. "I know that I am just an actor playing a part," he says. "But there has never been another part like this." In describing his goal for the characterization of Jesus, John Heyman stated, "Jesus and the Apostles did not walk around in pristine robes with haloes over their heads. When you see Christ in this film you can believe that He is a man who spent 18 years of His life in a carpenter's shop before he started His ministry. None of the reverence and respect have been sacrificed, but we are dealing with a Jesus who is strong and has muscles. He is a man who can smile and laugh and share His emotions with people."