Head of Production:
Although my own upbringing was very new age/Buddhist/philosophical, my interest in Bible Prophecy was born in the late 80s when I was involved in researching for another film about the subject. I had since kept an eye on world events in the light of the prophecies and in the last 5 years, with an acceleration in natural and man-made disasters, the rise of Iran and Turkey as world powers and the increasing conflagration in the Middle East, I saw it was time to take a hard look at the subject - before it was too late! By that I mean, before all the prophecies had come to pass without us realising it was happening. I had to seriously ask myself if such a thing was really possible. The rest of the crew at Studio Scotland were equally enthusiastic and so we began to research and develop 'The Daniel Project'.
Our first challenge was how to present it. There were plenty of (often very poor) religious attempts to do so, and others which were not religious but which, in my opinion, were either extremely biased one way or the other or very badly researched. What was also clear to us was the need to be careful of a fictional treatment as ancient biblical texts, notably the books of Genesis, Ezekiel, Daniel and Revelation have certainly been inspirational to many films dealing with alien encounters and cosmic battles. Creative director Stewart Menelaws, while keen to touch on the world of science fiction, was adamant that we keep our imaginations restrained and allow what ever facts are available to tell the story. We required an expert, but not some flaky religious nut and not a celeb presenter who knew nothing about the subject. Bible expositor James Jacob Prasch’s name came up. As somebody who does have a religious background (though not in his early years) he has an investigative approach with a deep understanding of the subject. Whilst considered controversial to some, he is well able to argue his point and welcomes open debate with scholars and sceptics alike!
Secondly, we didn’t want it to be a Big Preach. If Jacob was the expert, we required balance. We realised we were taking the viewer on a journey into places they may never had been before and although a number of famous faces had told us they were interested in being involved, we wanted a more unusual talent. Enter 'Captain Magenta' (Jeremy Hitchen), an experienced ‘voice-over man’ who had worked for us on other jobs. In contrast to Jacob, he was sacrilegious with a ready supply of off-colour jokes. Accustomed to being in front of the camera as well as behind the scenes, Jeremy was thrilled to be invited to investigate the claims that the Bible prophecies may have substance. He was very cynical, with lots of questions but also very excited to be involved.
We decided to let Jacob and Jeremy get on with it – more or less!
Jeremy had no information on the subject, other than a dossier outlining some of the main prophecies with dates and a little background material. Rather than take him with us to film Jacob, we decided to let him watch the footage – just like other viewers, and to make up his own mind and to form his own questions.
Finally, we invited Jacob to fly over to Scotland to meet with Jeremy so that he could ask his questions directly. The resulting twenty-six minute discussion can be seen on the bonus DVD where Jacob and Jeremy discuss the ‘way of escape’. This interview is best viewed after watching The Daniel Project.
But what about the in-between bit – the filming and the interviews? Finding a common window to film Jacob in Israel was very challenging to say the least but we were finally able to agree a date. This is where the production team really started to kick in. We had to arrange interviews with leading experts who could comment authoritatively on whether or not these things really have come to pass, are happening now or the likelihood of them coming to pass in the future…
Taking a full crew and kit to the Middle East requires a good deal of planning and this did not stop once we arrived in Israel as geo-political tensions affected our interview schedule. We had a wonderful fixer who gave generously of his time enabling access to restricted locations and we were accompanied by Dr Siam Bhayro, lecturer in Early Jewish Studies, who kept us entertained with historical accounts and numerous pictures of his beloved Egyptian hunting dog!
Finally, as Turkish and Iranian sabre-rattling increased, a global recession galloped and the ID debate accelerated, we completed our final interviews with further experts in Europe.