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It's an old complaint that in film and television, Jesus has always been portrayed by a whiter-than-white actor to give more appeal to the Western audience - never mind the fact that of course Jesus was a Middle-Eastern Jew.

This ongoing tradition is continued in the now airing 'The Bible', which casts former soap opera star and model Diogo Morgado as Christ - Morgado is actually Portugeuse with dark hair, but if you compare his past photos with him in 'The Bible', you'll note they lightened his hair considerably, and gave him that 'surfer Jesus' bleached by the surf and sand look.


One of the most famous examples was Jeffrey Hunter in 'King of Kings' (soon to go on to the original failed 'Star Trek' pilot as Captain Christopher Pike, first Captain of the Enterprise.) Was Jesus wearing a red shirt under his robe? (Star Trek inside joke)


And of course there was Max Von Sydow in 'The Greatest Story Ever Told'. Who better to play Jesus than a Swede?


One of my favorite portrayals was by Ted Neely in 'Jesus Christ Superstar', a really underrated film which is actually one of my favorites. Ted went on to have a long career playing Jesus in stage versions of the musical, and may still be touring. If you watch the movie, remember that the bus the cast rides on at the beginning and the end, was Ted's band's tour bus.


Then there was Robert Powell in 'Jesus of Nazareth', who gave in my opinion the best portrayal of Jesus on film, and his weird blue eyes actually WORKED with the character. (Fun Fact; HE NEVER BLINKS during the entire film - this was a conscious decision made by him and Zifferelli). After this mini-series, there was really no reason to go on making films about Jesus - it was that good. Are you listening Mark Burnett?


A very interesting 'take' on Jesus was done by Willem Dafoe in 'The Last Temptation of Christ', which is a very underrated movie about the final torture of Christ by Satan on the cross. We screened this movie for a group of my friends a few years ago, and my friend Bob was amazed by it - "I felt like I was on acid the whole time watching it, but I was completely sober!". Truly a critique most filmmakers hope for.


There are plenty of others, but you get the point. If I've forgotten any great, classic blue-eyed Jesuses, please forgive me - you were all fine actors and giving it your all!

Originally posted to Fordmandalay on Sun Mar 31, 2013 at 02:43 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets .


Who's YOUR favorite blue-eyed Jesus?

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