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A Compelling Interview with Christian Actor – Bruce Marchiano

bruce marchiano

Meet Bruce Marchiano, a familiar face in Christian movies. He’s best known for playing Jesus in a number of movies including The Encounter, The Lion of Judah, The Visual Bible: Acts, and The Gospel According to Matthew.

Bruce Marchiano: Glory to Jesus! It’s a blessing to be with you!

SCH: Thanks! So tell us, when did you first decide you wanted to be an actor?

Bruce Marchiano: I was 12 or 13 when I began focusing on an acting career, inspired by a Dustin Hoffman film.  I remember sitting in the theater and even at that young age I could see that he was heads and tails above the rest, and I was just totally intrigued.

I walked out of that film saying to myself, “This is what I want to do.” I remember I got the sound tracks from all these Broadway musicals and would act them all out in my room, over and over.

I got involved in high school productions and just couldn’t get enough of it.  I began acting classes… and just carried on advancing toward a real career.  Little did I know the Lord was preparing to do films for HIM! Wonderful!

Bruce Marchiano in The Encounter: Paradise Lost; Photo Courtesy of Pure Flix Entertainment

SCH: What was your first film/television role?

Bruce Marchiano: Haha! I’m always a bit embarrassed by this question because at the time it was such a major event for me but looking back it was so tiny.

But I guess a guy has to begin somewhere, haha! It was on a classic TV show, Murder, She Wrote. I had two lines, and you can’t imagine how many hours I spent rehearsing them, haha!

The funny thing is we were shooting on the Universal Studios lot. I was walking from the make-up trailer to the set and a tour bus rode by.  They all began taking pictures of me, haha!  I had lots of laughs over that one.

Bruce Marchiano runs his own ministry; Photo Courtesy of Marchiano Ministries

SCH: What impact has your faith had on your acting career?

Bruce Marchiano: I could write for pages on this one.  Needless to say, it has had a MASSIVE impact.  With my Mediterranean heritage, I was consistently cast in bad guy roles.

Then shortly after I came to Jesus my career went into a terrible slump, and I remember a friend suggesting I take this/that action.  But I looked at him and said, “No, I think the Lord wants me to start playing nice guys.”

The next role I was cast in was Jesus – the “nicest guy,” if you will, in universal history, haha! And I’ve never looked back. Today, I don’t think I’m capable of playing a bad guy even if I wanted to (which i don’t!) – the Lord has done such a wonderful work inside me that I wouldn’t be convincing – people would laugh! That is just one small example.

Bruce Marchiano has played roles in Encounter 2,Revelation Road and The Gospel According to Matthew; Photo Courtesy of Bruce Marchiano

On top of that, the kinds of films I’m interested to do has completely been transformed, and the Lord has given me a tremendous sense of responsibility about it because these films influence lives.

Yes, I’ve lost agents because of this stance and blah blah blah, but to quote Pastor Chuck Smith, “You’re either part of the problem of part of the solution.”  At the end of the day I have to stand before God for what I did with the gifts he gave me, so… Praise Jesus!

SCH: What led to you becoming the “Jesus” actor?

Bruce Marchiano: It is a long testimony but to give you the quick version – I felt the Lord asking me to join a missions team that was looking for actors for dramas to be done in high schools and all. I was mortified – I mean, here I was a professional actor and the Lord was asking me to do kiddies dramas!

I really struggled but eventually gave in and went on the trip. To cut to the chase, it was the leader of that missions team who first heard about the casting of Jesus for The Gospel of Matthew and called me about it.  And the rest is history.

Bruce Marchiano, actor is best known for playing Jesus in many films; Photo Courtesy of Visual Bible

Because of that missions trip I fought with God about, I’ve enjoyed the most remarkable privilege anyone can imagine – portraying Jesus in films that touch countless lives; bringing Him “to life” for people.

So I guess the lesson is, wahtever the Lord says, rush to do it!  Because His plan for your life is WAY beyond anything you can imagine for yourself.  Glory to Jesus!

SCH: What do you do to get into character as Jesus?

Bruce Marchiano: For me it is 90% burying myself in God’s Word and burying my face in the carpet in prayer, because if He, by His Spirit, doesn’t “shine through,” then I’m just another actor in a robe/sandals.

So I approach it as a mission in full understanding that people will make eternal decisions based on what they see me (as Jesus) do.

Bruce Marchiano on set for the New Jesus Movie; Photo Courtesy of Marchiano Ministries

At the same time, there is a great deal of actor prep, which is basically a process of combing through Jesus’ actions/choices, scene by scene, and asking, “Why would He do that in this situation?  Why does He say these specific words?”

You see, a man’s heart is revealed through His actions/choices, and it is the heart that must be brought to life. I’m convinced that most people know the Gospel events – what they don’t know is the heart of Jesus.

What they don’t know is His nature and Person.  What they don’t know is the depth of His love and care.  So these are what I focus on and aim for.

Bruce Marchiano on set for the New Jesus Movie; Photo Courtesy of Marchiano Ministries

SCH: What is the biggest challenge with playing such powerful roles?

Bruce Marchiano: Off the top of my head I would say keeping it simple and not trying to over-do it.  Especially in the role of Jesus, you have to restrain this urge to make every syllable so big and impacting.

But it’s God’s Word, so you need to trust that the power is there already.  Another challenge is making it real as opposed to “religious.”

These are iconic scenes and you’re SO aware that this is God you’re representing – but 2000 years ago on the day it actually happened it was as practical as a “Man” interacting with other men and women.

So yes, I would say the huge challenge is keeping it simple and real, and not trying to over-do the work of the Words that are already packed with life-changing power.

Bruce Marchiano on set for the New Jesus Movie; Photo Courtesy of Marchiano Ministries

SCH: Tell us about your latest films being released this year.

Bruce Marchiano: I’m thrilled to see the release of For Love’s Sake, which I shot in December last year, and one of the few films that I don’t portray Jesus, haha!

It’s a story about a family torn apart by tragedy, kids being thrown into “the system,” a mom struggling with addictions and a father tragically killed… And how the Lord puts it all back together.  It’s a true testimony based on the writer/director’s life – he was one of those children.

So I’m extremely thrilled to be part of it. I play the role of a therapist who is the one guy who believes that this mother can overcome her problems and regain her family.  Together we stand against a sea of opposition.  But he knows, “With God all things are possible!” and the rest is history. Exciting!

Bruce Marchiano wants to use his ministry in a powerful way to glorify God; Photo Courtesy of Marchiano Ministries

SCH: Is there any additional projects that you are currently working on?

Bruce Marchiano: I just completed shooting another Jesus film to be released in the fall, titled Come Follow Me, and I’m developing a script that places Jesus in the midst of the darkest circumstance you could imagine (stay tuned!).

At the same time, many of your readers will know that I’m developing a major Jesus film “for a new generation,” that will be on a scale of the biggest blockbusters.  What a BLESSING to be with you!  Glory to Jesus!


Click here to learn all about Bruce Marchiano’s New Jesus Movie

Ready for another wonderful celebrity interview? Don’s miss The Lost Medallion – An Indiana Jones-type Family Adventure:  Interview with Producer Bill Muir


Sharon Wilharm is a writer and filmmaker who helps spread the word about other Christian filmmakers with her Faith Flix blog. She and her husband have been making feature films for the past decade and are currently working on The Good Book, an evangelistic silent film. Their film Flowers for Fannie will be released to stores nationwide October 15th.




As a women’s magazine, created for Christian Women, Sonoma Christian Home offers articles by bestselling authors on a variety of topics including: daily devotions, Christian reviews of movies, family movie ratings, celebrity interviews, relationship advice, interior design ideas, everyday gourmet recipes and so much more! Sign up now to get the best articles of the week delivered right to your inbox – Click Here to Subscribe – it’s free!


SCH Interview with Guy Noland

Guy Noland prepares to direct an interview with UFC Lightweight Champion Benson Henderson

SCH Contributor, Phil Cooke sat down to get to know Salvation Army Vision Network Executive Producer, Guy Noland. Noland is responsible for launching and leading the new video driven web initiative for one of the best known ministries in the world. Phil asked him about the remarkable journey that’s been his life and career in the industry:

SCH:  I understand you’re second generation Salvation Army. Tell me about your family’s ties to the corps.
Guy: Actually, I’m not a second generation Salvationist, I’m FIFTH generation. My great, great grandparents, on my mother’s side, were Salvationists during the origins of the church back in Victorian England. In fact, my grandmother remembered attending the funeral procession of William Booth (founder of The Salvation Army) as a child around the turn of the century.

SCH:  How did you get from the Salvation Army to the media and entertainment industry?
Guy: My parents are considered mavericks in The Salvation Army world. Aside from serving as ministers, my mother is a fantastic musician and artist, my father is a talented writer and speaker. As far back as I can remember, they were inventing all kinds of creative ministries in order to grow their congregation (which they did). When I was six, they wrote a musical to be performed at a combined church council meeting consisting of around 1,000 audience members. For whatever reason, they decided I needed to make my stage debut and wrote in a part for me. I’ll spare you the details of how I forgot all my lines during the premier performance, but that was basically my introduction into the entertainment industry. I was bitten by the acting bug. I continued performing, moved into writing and directing, and eventually discovered the art of filmmaking which led to film school and a masters degree in screenwriting.

SCH:  At one point you hit a wall when you realized that addiction was a serious obstacle in your life. How did you come to that realization?
Guy: Every story you’ve ever heard about preacher’s kids being the worst of the worst is absolutely true. For me, my parents’ position meant I lived under a microscope. EVERYBODY examined every move I made and somehow held me to a higher standard than other kids. When I became a teenager, I basically snapped. Cigarettes, booze, drugs, and rock and roll all topped my ‘to do’ list. At the age of 18 I ran off to Hollywood. That’s when my partying kicked into over-drive and alcoholism followed in short order. I hit bottom a few times and had several bouts with self-inflicted sobriety over the next 14 years, but nothing worked. It wasn’t until I walked into the rooms of AA that I was finally able to admit that I had a problem and my life had become unmanageable.

SCH:  How did you get your life back on track?
Guy: One day at a time.

SCH:  You’ve spent most of your career as an actor, writer, and director. Which do you think is your greatest strength?
Guy: That’s a tough one… I love them all equally. Acting is my first love. I’ve been at it the longest and spent most of my life perfecting it as an art form. That said, I’m most in my element while directing, yet would be quiet content working as a writer for the rest of my life. Truth be told, I often consider myself more a producer at heart, but I’ve always professed that a great filmmaker must excel in all these aspects. At the end of the day, I’d have to say my greatest strength lay in whatever I’m doing at the moment.

SCH:  How did your media career merge with the new online Salvation Army Vision Network?
Guy: I wish I could take full credit for SAVN, but that would be dishonest. SAVN is the brain-child of Commissioner Jim Knaggs, Territorial leader of The Salvation Army, West. A couple years back, shortly after Commissioner Knaggs took the helm of The Salvation Army in the Western Territory, he called me up and pitched the idea of an online media ministry. Naturally, he had my full support and we got to work right away.

SCH:  What’s the purpose of SAVN?
Guy: Ultimately, the long term goal is to deliver the Gospel message and win the world for Christ. Our short term goals are twofold:

1. To tell The Salvation Army’s story.
2. To encourage people to get involved with a cause. Most people are not familiar with the Army’s work and only associate us with the recognizable thrift stores and Christmas kettles. We’re so much more than that. The Salvation Army is a church, a ministry dedicated to meeting people at their point of need, offering relief, then delivering the message of Jesus Christ. We literally have hundreds of different social services opportunities: homelessness, disaster relief, addiction recovery, human sex trafficking, rest home ministries, prison ministries, overseas orphanages, schools for the blind, fair-trade coffee, clean water initiatives, and the list goes on and on. Ultimately, we want people to come to our site, watch our videos, and share them within their social networking circles. The hope is that their friends will see our causes and be moved enough to get involved, whereby eventually hearing the gospel message. SAVN offers a simple, non threatening way to witness to people with little risk of rejection. We invite everyone to jump on board and champion a cause!

SCH:  What are you most excited about in the next few years?
Guy: We’ve been up and running for less than a year and have come a long way. The next couple of years have some exciting things in store. We’re currently in the midst of a user experience upgrade that promises to be a great boost for the site. We just launched a live chat and are developing a more advanced Bible study program to be launched in the next month or two. We’ve also been making some great headway in partnerships with fantastic ministries like YouVersion, BGEA, Back to the Bible, Jesus Film, as well as several feature films hitting the Christian market. SAVN is presently wrapping principle photography on its first feature documentary about our fight against the sex industry. An app and social game are also on our radar. Very exciting stuff!

SCH:  If you could say something to encourage less experienced filmmakers, what would it be?
Guy: Figure out what you want to do and do it poorly with pride. In other words, if you want to be an actor, get involved in your local community theater. If you want to be a director, grab a camera and get out there and direct! If you want to be a writer, you need to write. Don’t expect to create a masterpiece out of the gate, instead be prepared to fail a few times. Remember, failure is okay. It’s to be expected. Don’t get frustrated. Do what you want to do, and do it poorly with pride. Above all else: Study, study, study!



Would you like to learn more about developing Christian leadership in your workplace? You might also enjoy Phil Cooke’s Being Best is Better Than Being First.




For more than 30 years, Phil Cooke has helped nonprofits find their purpose and is now applying this experience to individuals: “During a long career in the media business I’ve talked to hundreds of writers, producers, directors, designers, executives, and other professionals and discovered that in most cases, one thing is all it takes to launch a project or dream.”

Learn more about the writer Phil Cooke








As a womens magazine, created for Christian Women, Sonoma Christian Home offers relevant articles by bestselling authors on a variety of topics including: relationship advice, Christian marriage, Christian leadership, interior design ideas, everyday gourmet recipes, Christian movie reviews and so much more! Sign up today to get the best articles of the week delivered right to your inbox – Subscribe – it’s free!







11th Annual 168 Film Festival Nominees Announced


168 Film Project Founder and Director, John David Ware announced the nominations today for the 11th Annual 168 Film Festival, to be held August 8 - 10, at the Performing Arts Center in Glendale, CA.
For the contest, filmmakers got seven days (168 hours) to shoot and edit a 10-minute-or-less short, based on scripture.
The field was reduced from 152 entries to the remaining seven (7) 'Best Film' Nominees eligible for a filmmaker's dream, the Grand Prize is a feature film production budget up to $1 Million from Presenting Sponsor - EchoLight Studios.



Sue Detweiler Doesn’t Bottle Healing Rain – She Pours It

Sue-Detweiler headshot SCH v

People on radio and television are quite the diverse assortment and most media personalities fiercely guard their privacy… that is, until they are ready to share a well crafted, public relations spun story about some special prism in their lives.

Then, it becomes “prudent” to disclose a very personal detail about themselves to their audience.



Our Nation’s Heritage Through The Eyes of Historian William Federer

William Federer on Capitol steps Featured Image

William J. Federer is a nationally known speaker, best-selling author of 20 books and president of Amerisearch, Inc., a publishing company dedicated to researching America’s Christian heritage. He is a brilliant man who is able to assimilate both the big picture and historical details of what America once was, and where she is headed.

As a former U.