NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - FOX has tapped actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry to host and narrate a live two-hour special from New Orleans on the final hours of Jesus Christ's life.
"The Passion" will air on Palm Sunday, March 20. Producers say it will feature a cast of stars (still to be announced) performing a variety of popular music, arranged by executive producer and hit music producer Adam Anders ("Glee," "Rock of Ages").
The special will follow the 2,000-year-old story of Jesus of Nazareth, and will chronicle the Last Supper and Judas' betrayal of Jesus, and the trial by Pontius Pilate that led to his crucifixion and resurrection.
New Orleanians will notice some iconic locations in the production. The story will feature a procession of hundreds of people carrying a 20-foot, illuminated cross from Champions Square outside the Superdome to a live stage at Woldenburg Park along the river.
"This Palm Sunday television event is a modern-day production of the most famous story of all time, full of universal themes, which we hope provides a unifying experience, bringing the sacred and secular together," said Mark Bracco, EVP of Programming and Development for Dick Clark Productions.
FOX teamed up with Dick Clark Productions, Eye2Eye Media and Anders Media Inc. to produce the event.
"The Passion is both wonderfully entertaining and genuinely inspirational," said David Madden, President, Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Company. "We are so thrilled to have the multi-talented Tyler Perry join us for this epic music production. He is the perfect host to lead the cast – and viewers – through the streets of New Orleans in this contemporary re-telling of a timeless story."
New Orleans native Perry started his career writing plays, many of which later became the inspiration for his film projects and included the introduction of the character Madea. Perry's first feature film, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman," debuted at No. 1 nationwide in 2005. In the 10 years since, the 16 films directed by Perry have all been met with massive commercial success and grossed nearly $2 billion. screen in the sequel to "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," and in "Brain on Fire," opposite Chloe Grace Moretz.
According to our partners at NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune, paperwork filed with the state shows "The Passion" will cost an estimated $11.2 million to produce. Of that, $9.4 million will be spent in Louisiana, with $1.8 million going toward in-state payroll for 768 temporary jobs.
"The Passion" will air at 8 p.m. March 20 on FOX 8.