The fervent prayers of "The Chosen" fans have been answered as news broke that the beloved Jesus of Nazareth series has been granted a waiver from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) to continue filming despite the ongoing strike.
On Sunday, July 16, the series' official Twitter account shared the exciting update: "Great news! We just received word from SAG that we have been approved for a waiver. We'll continue shooting on Monday."
Update: Great news! We just received word from SAG that we have been approved for a waiver. We'll continue shooting on Monday.— The Chosen (@thechosentv) July 16, 2023
Sources close to the project have since confirmed that the series has resumed filming today with the full cast. The Utah-shot series managed to avoid major disruptions, only missing a day or two of filming without the cast. Notably, "The Chosen" includes multiple SAG actors, with Jonathan Roumie in the lead role of Jesus.
Creator Dallas Jenkins recently took to Instagram, imploring SAG for an exemption, stating, "We've submitted all the requested paperwork immediately. We fit all qualifications for an exemption. Every day that goes by without your response costs us hundreds of thousands of dollars while your actors are stuck in Utah. We're the good guys. We've treated your actors well."
"The Chosen" makes history as the first known TV series to be granted an exemption during the strike and the first known film or TV production to resume filming after being halted by the labor dispute.
The waivers are being granted to "truly independent producers" not affiliated with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. These producers agree to be bound retroactively to the contract terms achieved with the AMPTP once the strike is settled.
However, SAG's process for granting exemptions is not without complexities. "The Chosen" recently announced a distribution deal with Lionsgate, and previous seasons have been sold to CW, Netflix, Amazon and Peacock. Although the deals are believed to apply to seasons one to three, the status of season four remains uncertain.
"The Chosen" stands out as a historical drama that tells the story of Jesus from the perspective of those who knew Him, tracing His teachings and miracles as He sets out to change the world through His ministry. The series boasts indie roots and is recognized as one of the most successful crowdfunded TV shows, with viewers contributing $40 million toward its production two years ago.
Despite the challenges, "The Chosen" remains steadfast in its commitment to bring the story of Jesus to its dedicated audience, demonstrating resilience amid industry disruptions. The fans' anticipation for the upcoming season grows, and the production forges ahead, making history in more ways than one.
James Lasher is Staff Writer for Charisma Media.
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