Diogo Morgado, the guy who played Jesus of Nazareth in Son of God (as well as in the History Channel mini-series The Bible), is from Portgual, but he basically looks American….like a nice big friendly professional football player or a juice-slurping, doobie-toking hippie farmer from Oregon or Washington. This is how conservative Christians, the audience for Son of God, like to think of their savior — as an ESPN anchor with a beard and cloak. The same syndrome prevailed in Nicholas Ray‘s King of Kings, of course, in which Jesus was played by the all-American, honey-haired, square-jawed Jeffrey Hunter with the freakish ice-blue eyes. That was in 1961, of course, when average Americans were even more caught up in self-reflecting mythology than today’s Christians. For what it’s worth I always presumed Hunter was chosen because of his peepers, which were meant to be perceived as a metaphor for inner divinity. My favorite Jesus is still The Last Temptation of Christ‘s Willem Dafoe, closely followed by The Gospel According to St. Matthew‘s Enrique Irazoqui.

(l.) Son of God star Diogo Morgado as Jesus of Nazareth; (r.) King of Kings star Jeffrey Hunter.