"Jesus" is a Brazilian religious telenovela created by Paula Richard for RecordTV. It's an original story based on the Bible and it started airing on July 24, 2018. The main stars are Dudu Azevedo, Day Mesquita and Guilherme Winter.
After receiving the annunciation that the son of God was on the way, Maria gives birth to the chosen one and, together with her husband José, creates with values and good principles the chosen young man Jesus. The prophecy of the chosen man troubles King Herod, who goes on to persecute the family, forcing Maria and José to sway Jesus far from his mission. Over the years, however, the boy understands his role in the world and traverses the peoples taking the teachings of peace and equality along with his twelve apostles: Pedro, Mateus, Judas Tadeu, Tiago Menor, Tiago Maior, Natanael, Tomé, Filipe, Simão Zelote, João and André, besides the envious and characterless Judas Iscariotes, who waits for the right moment to betray him. They are joined by the greatest devotee of the chosen one, Maria Madalena, a Hellenistic Jewish widow of a Roman man who believed she was secure in the arms of the Roman centurion Petronius. He abandons her because he considers her impure, so Maria Madalena finds in Jesus the real liberation and becomes his most faithful disciple.
Attracting a range of followers, Jesus returns to Jerusalem acclaimed as the King of the Jews, but has to deal with the wrath of many people, such as Herod Antipas, son of Herod, and Pontius Pilate who condemns the son of God, releasing the condemned Barabbas in his place, even with the lenient requests of his wife Claudia, who prophesied in her dreams the horrors of the world if he was considered a forger, and of the daughter Helena, the greatest opponent of her father, who values justice and helps the poor. Along with them in the fight against the chosen one is Caifás, an unscrupulous priest who craves power above all and who despises his own wife Judith, for never having given him an heir, doing with which she needs to deal with his affair with the servant Livona. Jesus still has to deal with the temptations of Lucifer, who undermines his path and his neighbors, besides the wrath of his own brothers, Tiago Justo, Eliseba, Simas, José Filho and Judas, who hate him for the attention he receives. Only his younger sister, Yona, will be a good friend and advocate.
At the same time there are other stories, such as the ambitious Herodiade, who had separated from the first husband to marry his brother-in-law, Herod Antipas, and uses the ingenuity of his daughter Salome to manipulate the spouse. Adela abandoned her two newborn children Dimas and Gestas, and became a prostitute to escape poverty, returning years later to try to regain their love. The widow Mirian, the mother of José Minor, always followed Jesus and defended her friend Maria against the slanders of the poisonous Asisa and the synagogue chief of Nazareth, Efraim. Laila is humiliated constantly by the arrogant husband Simão Fariseu, but will find the true love in the arms of Jairo. Brother of Jesus, Tiago Justo has always been despised by Deborah, who only has eyes for the vicious Caius, a disguised Roman soldier, who coerces Longinus to his orders to know his deepest secret. At the end the Chuza couple, Chuza and Joana live in a humorous relationship with the servant Hélio, who is more cultured and in better ways than the bosses.
- Seeking an actor free of controversy and good image, RecordTV invited Rodrigo Santoro to star as the protagonist, offering $ 8 million a month for work, a salary that would be considered the largest ever paid in the history of Brazilian television, but consistent with the status of the actor which he had conquered. The actor, however, declined the invitation as he would have to spend months away from the United States, implying a denial of international film roles for eight months and the withdrawal of the 'Westworld' television series from which he was a part. In addition, the actor stated that he no longer wanted to make a full-length telenovela because they were too long - the last one had been in Globo's 'Mulheres apaixonadas' in 2003. Petrônio Gontijo was considered for the part, but the direction preferred not to relate the image of Jesus to the same actor who interpreted the owner of the transmitter Edir Macedo in the film 'Nada a perder' to avoid controversies, shifting Gontijo to the role of Pedro. Igor Rickli was the most desired option for the production, both because he had already lived the character in the theatre play of the Passion of Christ of New Jerusalem, and because he had the image similar to that of Jesus in Western culture, but the actor had already amended three telenovelas in a row and had no vacation since 2016 and was with the image saturated, Record TV decided to spare him.
- In April of 2018, André Bankoff and Dudu Azevedo performed the tests to interpret Jesus. Although Andre was taken for granted by some media outlets for the image most similar to that of the character, Dudu was eventually chosen for doing better on the issue of interpretation.
- Camila Rodrigues came to be confirmed as Maria Madalena, but was replaced by Day Mesquita after the good repercussion of the actress in the movie 'Nada a perder'.
- Guilherme Winter, Beth Goulart, Larissa Maciel, Ricky Tavares, Raphael Montagner and several other actors who were confirmed in 'Topíssima' cast were relocated to 'Jesus' after the first telenovela was postponed to 2019.
- Fernando Pavão was dismissed by the station after twelve years of work, but ended up having the contract renewed and being cast to play Petronius.
- Cláudia Assunção was originally cast in the role of Maria, mother of the protagonist, but was replaced by Cláudia Mauro.
- Maurício Mattar was confirmed as José, but was eventually downgraded to special participation in the first phase as Joaquim, changing roles with Michel Bercovitch.
- Theo Becker made tests to play Herodes Arquelau, but the role went to Alexandre Slaviero. Theo even said that he had given up the character, but the real information had already been disclosed by the management.