Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Two veteran producers of the global phenomenon The Chosen say they have seen God’s hand at work multiple times on the set, including during moments when the cast and crew were tired and stressed, ready to give up and go home for the day.

Producers Chad Gundersen and Chris Juen say the moments – which they call miraculous – serve as a reminder of the series’ subject: the power of Jesus.

  1. Season 2, Lake Scene
    Gundersen, who has worked on such faith-based projects as the National Bible Bee Game Show and Owlegories, said he saw God’s hand at work during a scene in Season 2 that was scheduled to be filmed on a lake. Heavy fog across the water, though, was preventing the scene from being shot.

“We sat around for hours and hours,” Gundersen told Christian Headlines and other media members. “… And [finally] we’re like, ‘Okay, we just need to call it a day.’ So everybody kind of starts packing up their stuff.”

A handful of crew members even made it to their cars and began driving away.

But God had other plans, Gundersen said.

“And all of a sudden, I looked across the lake … and you literally just see this fog [lift] – and it didn’t just slowly dissipate. I mean, it just was gone,” Gundersen said, motioning his hands for emphasis.

Even so, filmmakers weren’t certain they could make the shot work in the three or four hours remaining before sunset. (A typical workday on the set spans about 12 hours.)

“It was like, ‘There’s no way we’re gonna get this done,'” Gundersen said. “It was complicated. There’s two actors in a boat, water, all these different kinds of things. [But] the two actors got in the boat and not only killed the scene, [but] they knocked it out in about three or four hours. So it was just one of those things where we were just like: You could not explain this. Logistically it didn’t make any sense.

“I can’t explain it,” Gundersen added. “Maybe it’s just one of those: How much are we relying on Him?”

  1. Season 1, Miraculous Catch
    Juen, who has 20 years of experience working in high-end visual effects – including on the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs films – said God’s hand also was at work during a Season 1 scene involving the disciples’ miraculous catch of the fish. The scene required CGI effects.

“I have 20 years inside high-end visual effects, and to pull that off in CGI normally takes three and a half to four months of planning. We had four days,” Juen said.

The visual effects supervisor in charge of creating the shot, though, was having a tough time getting it done at such a rapid pace. He told Juen: “I’ve tried everything.”

“So Chad and I were just praying for him,” Juen said.

The next day, the man called Juen, saying, “Ok, I was woken up in the middle of the night. It’s a concept I haven’t done in 20 years. And it worked. I’m gonna send you something.”

The concept worked, and the scene remains one of the most popular ones among fans, even though no real-live fish were used to film it.

  1. Season 2, ‘Long Shot’
    Juen said he also saw God’s hand at work in one of the series’ most difficult scenes to shoot, which involved a 14-minute continuous “oner” or “long shot” to open Episode 3 of Season 2. It was filmed outdoors late in the day.

“They did a lot of rehearsing because it’s really like a 14-minute play. Literally, the camera guy is participating in it because he’s got to be exactly in the position every which time, all the actors have to hit their marks. I mean, it’s crazy,” Juen said.

The first time they tried it, there was a flub in the lines.

The second time they tried it, the cameraman’s shadows could be seen on camera.

Not wanting to battle the sun, the crew chose to wait until after sunset to try again.

“So now we’ve got a very limited window [before night],” Juen said.

With the sun now below the horizon, though, the third and fourth takes also involved a flub in the lines, all by the same actor.

“[He was] having a hard time,” Juen said.

With only one more attempt to film the shot before calling it a day, the actor – and everyone else – nailed the shot.

“It was perfect,” Juen said. “The interesting thing is it was God’s timing because as soon as it ended, the sun had [completely] set. So literally what we did is we captured the sun setting during that entire 14 minutes.”

Director Dallas Jenkins was nearly in tears, telling others, “I can’t believe this just happened,” Gundersen said.

If we had gotten the shot earlier in the day when the sun was high or whatever, it would have been good,” Gundersen said. “But the fact that it is literally the last possible thing of the day, the sun’s going down – literally, you feel the scene get darker as we watch it.”

Season 3 of The Chosen launches in theaters on Nov. 18 with the first two episodes.