Tyler Perry to narrate modern-day version of ‘The Passion’


— New Orleans is famous for its processions, but on Palm Sunday, Tyler Perry and a host of stars will take things to a new level with a live, modern-day portrayal of the last hours of Jesus’ life on Earth.

“The Passion” will be aired live March 20 on Fox.

The network says it “will follow the dramatic and inspirational story of Jesus of Nazareth, as he presides over the Last Supper, and then is betrayed by Judas, put on trial by Pontius Pilate, convicted, crucified and resurrected.”

Trish Yearwood will portray Mary, Chris Daughtry will play the role of Judas, and Seal will be Pilate while actor and singer Jencarlos Canela will portray Jesus.

Producers are also recruiting ordinary people to help carry a large illuminated cross through the city’s streets.

Perry, who will narrate, said he wanted to be a part of the project “because I was shocked to find out how many people in this country don’t know the story of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.”

“The Passion is about love, inclusion and compassion for all mankind,” he said Tuesday on Facebook. “It’s for believers and also nonbelievers. It’s for all faiths and all backgrounds. This story doesn’t just belong to one group, it belongs to humanity. Love, forgiveness and compassion, those are things that are universal to us all.”

The production was inspired by a similar one that has aired in the Netherlands for several years, producers told The Hollywood Reporter.

The show follows on a long tradition of religious spectacles on the big screen and television, from the 1959 behemoth “Ben Hur” to last year’s “The War Room.”

Perry said on Facebook that he’s hoping for more.

“I’m calling on my audience and believers all over this country to help support this show,” he said. “Please help us send a message to Hollywood that we want to see more TV shows that leave us lifted, inspired and changed. Shows that leave us hopeful.”