Nat Geo ’s third scripted film in the “Killing” series is “Killing Jesus” (premieres Mar 29, 8pm), adapted from the book by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard of the same name. Like the films about Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy before it, this story has been told countless times by others. So what’s different about this particular telling? It’s about a man, not a myth. Previous iterations have been told from the point of view of Jesus, screenwriter Walon Green said at the Television Critics Association press tour last Jan. This tale, on the other hand, is “placing a man in his times… You realize that a critical stage is coming in this person’s life, that he cannot do what he is doing without political and other religious forces coalescing against him,” he explained. Since the film humanizes the story of Christ, according to Kelsey Grammar, who plays Herod, he believes Christian audiences will appreciate the modern take. “I think it will win praise from every part of the Christian world basically because I think they find that increased modern relevance is desirable,” he said. For Green, it was important to portray Jesus as a real person: “somebody who, while we now come to accept him or don’t accept him as a messianic figure, he, himself, was a person who was a human being confronted by what that meant,” he said. “It wasn’t a welcomed choice necessarily. It often was a choice that frightened him and disturbed him, but there wasn’t something he could do about it.” The humanist bent on the story informed casting as well—most notably in the case of Jesus. Executive producer David Zucker said they chose actor Haaz Sleiman for the “soulfulness” he portrayed from the very first distorted transmission from his native country of Lebanon. “There was incredible soulfulness and an incredible truth to his reading, and I think, as Walon spoke of, the humanity that he sought to find in that part we felt just exuded out of Haaz… and that’s sort of the magic.” – Kaylee Hultgren

“Impress Me,” Wed, 10:30p, Pop. Actor Rainn Wilson is exec prod of this clever take on the struggling actor theme. Here it’s struggling impressionists Ross Marquand and Jim Meskimen who want to exit humor and become serious thespians. Tonight’s amusing ep has the boys trying a 12-step method to kick the impression habit. Things are going well until they’re tempted… by an impression. — “Noah’s Ark,” premiere, Sun, 7p ET, UP. It’s slightly different in the bible—the emphasis is on faith—but this BBC co-prod is well told and looks impressive, except for Noah ( David Threlfall), whose disheveled appearance seems out of place. — “America’s Most Badass,” premiere, Tues, 10, AHC. With tongue mostly in cheek, this entertaining 6-parter pits American history’s toughest against each other to find the nastiest. Ep 1’s competitors attracted us and the competition is tight. We knew Al Capone was trouble, especially with gun in hand. As was thrill-seeking Ernest Hemingway, who survived plane crashes, wars and was the first American to use the word cojones. But who knew Abe Lincoln was in the Wrestling Hall of Fame? Or Ben Franklin threw fate to the wind, literally, as he chased storms? — Notable: C-SPAN3, Sat, 9a-4:30p, has live coverage of a day-long forum on the life of noted badass Abraham Lincoln, from Ford’s Theater. – Seth Arenstein

The Daily


Senate Approves Rosenworcel to Chair FCC

No more questions over whether Jessica Rosenworcel will have to leave the FCC when her current term expires at the end of the year.

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