National Geographic Channel has tapped BAFTA Award-winning director Christopher Menaul to helm the three-hour telepic Killing Jesus from Scott Free Productions, slated to air in 2015. Law & Order veteran Walon Green wrote and executive produces the project, based on the book Killing Jesus: A History by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. The film chronicles the life and death of Jesus of Nazareth, who lived at a time when the Roman Empire dominated the Western world. He made powerful enemies while preaching a philosophy of peace and love. The project is expected to premiere globally on Nat Geo in 171 countries and 45 languages, and in Spanish on Nat Geo Mundo.
Killing Jesus is from the same team behind Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln, including executive producers O’Reilly, Ridley Scott, David Zucker, Mary Lisio, Teri Weinberg and Charlie Parsons. Moran also exec produces for Nat Geo Channel. In November, Nat Geo aired the Scott Free production of O’Reilly’s Killing Kennedy, a 2014 Emmy nominee for best television movie and the most-watched program in the channel’s history. Killing Lincoln, which aired over Presidents Day weekend in February 2013, is the network’s second most-watched program.
“We’re already hard at work in preproduction and feel confident we can repeat the incredible worldwide success of the previous two films in this franchise,” Menaul said.
“Telling the story of Jesus is an extraordinary opportunity that we do not take lightly,” said Heather Moran, EVP Programming and Strategy at National Geographic Channel. “With the addition of Christopher, we believe we have the best team in place to tell this story in an authentic, balanced and innovative way that will also entertain and engage viewers and provoke discussion.”
Menaul’s credits include the BAFTA-winning first original Prime Suspect; The Forsyte Saga, which starred Homeland’s Damian Lewis; See No Evil: The Moors Murders, which earned him the second of his two BAFTA TV Awards; and the TV movies Fatherland and The Passion Of Ayn Rand.