“A deliciously beautiful film, while at the same time honorable and true to Scripture.”

Actor Joseph Fiennes is talking about Affirm Films’ and Sony Pictures’ upcoming release Risen, in which he plays an agnostic centurion serving under Pontius Pilate. It was my privilege to interview Fiennes during his U.S. visit last month, and to hear firsthand from the actor who has appeared in films including the Oscar-nominated Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth.

Fiennes played the role of Clavius, a Roman military tribune who is tasked with finding the body of Christ; and he told me about how he understood Risen as a detective story. “When I read the script,” he said,

“…I marveled at the fact that I’d just digested a biblical story that came across as an extraordinary murder mystery. The script kept me turning the pages, without me really knowing how it would end, because when you see it through this fresh set of eyes, Yeshua’s resurrection really is the mother of all murder mysteries.”

Read the rest of my interview at the National Catholic Register.

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Oh–and exciting news! Joseph Fiennes and Maria Botto, the Argentinian star who plays Mary Magdalene, met Pope Francis in Vatican City on Wednesday. Fiennes and Botto were in the Eternal City, along with the show’s producers Pete Shilaiman and Mickey Liddell, to promote Risen, which opens in theaters nationwide in the U.S. on February 19. The film was screened at the Vatican, where it was met with much success.

You can watch the Vatican sizzle reel here.

And here, a peek at what you’ll in the theater on February 19. Here’s the official trailer: