It is difficult to portray Jesus Christ and the 5 actors who played the Messiah would agree there is a lot more to the role than meets the eye. The television and stage actors taking up this challenge run the gambit from the serious to the bizarre, but there are some crowd pleasers. However, there are some oddballs you would never guess actually once donned a robe and sandals for the portrayal of the king of kings.
Shigekatsu Katsuda Case in point is Japanese actor Shigekatsu Katsuda. You might know him better under his stage name Takeshi Kaga. If this still does not ring a bell, think back to the good old days of kitchen stadium and the original “Iron Chef.” Yes, before he became famous as the chairman of kitchen stadium, he was the first Japanese actor to portray the Messiah in the 1973 version of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Willem Dafoe Now here's a controversial Jesus Christ. Those who played the son of God did not always stick to the gospels. In fact, Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ” opened to protests from Christian groups. Dafoe portrays the savior who almost wasn’t. His role explores what would have happened had Christ refused to go with the plan.
Kenneth Colley From musical to controversial, there is no end to the various depictions of Jesus Christ. Depictors of the Messiah also include Kenneth Colley. Truth be told, his role is minor. In fact, you might say it is a mere cameo appearance. Acting as Christ in the irreverent “Life of Brian,” he is little more than feet and arms. The other cast characters of "Monty Python" eclipse this role. What else do you expect from the poor schmuck born on Christmas but “in the stable next door?”
Phil Caracas What do you get when you combine the Messiah, vampires and kung-fu fighting? The answer is simple: “Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter.” Caracas plays the son of God during the second coming. Before he can get down to judgment, this Christ must rid the world of vampires. Rather than zapping or smiting them, he takes them on with good old-fashioned kung-fu. Oh, and it is a musical, too.
Bruce Marchiano In spite of the irreverent and cheeky portrayals, there is also the serious Christ. Bruce Marchiano plays him by the book. This adaptation focuses on the Gospel of Matthew and is simply entitled “The Visual Bible: Matthew.” Following the Bible to the letter, Marchiano succeeds in depicting a gentle, loving and empathetic Messiah. As such, it is most likely this depiction that is most suitable for a Sunday afternoon with the extended family.
Enjoy the various fictional faces of Jesus Christ; the five actors who played the Messiah went to great lengths in their depictions. Just keep in mind that some folks find a few of these examples disrespectful—to put it mildly.