Small screen, big role: UK actor's take on playing Samson in THE BIBLE TV series
London-born Game of Thrones actor Nonso Anozie talks about his strong man role and how he hopes the series can help people re-engage with the Bible ...
London-born actor Nonso Anozie is a rising star on the big and the small screen. He’s appeared in blockbusters such as Conan the Barbarian (2011) and Ender’s Game (2013), and in the popular television series Game of Thrones. He talks to SOPHIE LISTER about a new role close to his heart: playing Samson in THE BIBLE series, which after taking America by storm, is arriving on Channel 5 this winter.
What prompted you to take on the role of Samson?
“For me, as a Christian, playing any character in the Bible is fascinating. But Samson, he’s like the biblical superhero. When I was younger, I used to watch this ‘Samson’ TV show, and I loved the way that he used his strength and powers for good.
“Any role where my career meets my faith is a good thing. It was wonderful to be chosen: this role was offered to me, there was no audition. Just before I got the call, I was at my family church, and was asked to do the Bible reading – it was the story of Samson. That wasn’t a coincidence, God’s hand was on this. ”
What would you say is the message of Samson’s story?
“That there are temptations in life, and we need to make good choices. But even if we fail, as Samson did, God will always be there and never turn his back. Samson gave in to temptation, but at the last minute God still came through for him.”
How has playing the role – and the message of Samson’s story – inspired you in your own life and faith?
“There are times when we all lose faith and forget about God, and maybe go to places we shouldn’t go. But this role has helped to remind me that no matter how away far you go from him, God is always there.”
How does THE BIBLE series go about breaking down prejudices and preconceptions people in our culture might have about engaging with the Bible?
“People in our culture have moved away from the Bible. Many may have negative memories of last encountering it during boring school RE lessons, but this series presents the stories in a fresh, dynamic way. Even something as simple as Samson being portrayed by a black guy is an example. This is the Bible for new generation, done in the style of the shows everybody’s watching, like Game of Thrones.
“Our viewing figures in the States were huge. But I’m hopeful, regardless of our British pessimism, that the series could do even more in the UK than the US.”
What do you think of the recent Hollywood trend for Biblical epics? Noah is coming out next year, and there are Moses and Job films in the works.
“For whatever reason, people are rediscovering the Bible. I’m all for it, we’re due a revival of faith in the world. Film has been one of the biggest influences in the world in the past 100 years, and if that can help reawaken people to the Bible, to God, to faith, I’m all for that.”
You’re someone who has been known in part for ‘tough guy’ roles (eg left, as Artus in Conan the Barbarian). The Church in our culture is often accused of failing to engage with men. How will THE BIBLE help?
“There are so many wives leaving their husbands at home when they go to church, and maybe in a small way, this series could make a difference. There are elements which will surely draw in men … we portray angels as soldiers, there’s even one who’s a Kung Fu master! Maybe wives will watch first and draw their husbands in. Men may actually end up being the biggest viewers.”
This series will be broadcast on Channel 5 then released on Blu-ray/DVD – what do you hope this will achieve?
“It’s fantastic that Christians are getting so involved in the broadcast of the series, and praying for it. But it’s my hope that non-Christians will watch too, and ask questions. Pick up the Bible for themselves, and maybe say ‘This isn’t what I remember from R.E!’”
LATEST NEWS: the first episode of THE BIBLE TV mini-series will be broadcast on Channel 5 at 9pm on Saturday 30 November, followed by four further two-hour episodes.
BIBLE souvenir guides
You can pick up 24-page souvenir guides (right) from CPO for as little as 80p each in bulk – great for giving away during the Christmas period.
These groundbreaking guides are integrated with state-of-the-art Augmented Reality so readers can watch video features and clips from the series on the pages of the book (when viewed through a smartphone or tablet using the Aurasma app available for free download).
It can also be used in small group settings for use with the UK DVD launch early next year.