The beauty of the new Netflix show 'Messiah' is we're completely clueless whether it's a Christian TV series or utterly blasphemous. The entirety of it remains a total mystery.
Moreover, the true identity of the lead character, Al-Masih is just as oblivious - Is he Jesus Christ, fraud or the Anti-christ? Even after completing the full season one, it's anybody's guess at the moment.
Watch: Messiah | Season 1 Official Trailer | Netflix
Although Messiah is receiving mixed reviews - mostly positive from fans and the complete opposite from the critics - it's hard to argue the plot couldn't be any more intriguing with top-notch acting from a brilliant group of the cast.
Messiah Creator Michael Petroni claims the series is supposed to be interpreted by viewers the way they wish
No matter how fascinating the show is, whenever it touches topics concerning religion, politics, and faith – there’s bound to be differing opinions amongst people. Messiah creator Michael Petroni sheds light on how they prepared for this.
I think this show was designed to create that in a way, the show in itself is really an invitation to the viewers to discuss and make their own mind up to argue about it too. So, it's not a singular experience.
Petroni believes it's a show you invite people to watch and then discuss what you saw. Every episode essentially makes you want to crave for more.
What’s the biggest misconception about the show?
As the interview goes on, the guests are asked whether there’s a misconception people might carry about the Netflix show, as in something that really stands out or something that comes right off the bat.
Michael reckons the one misconception one might have is the show's trying to tell people what to think and it's going to give people answers. He clarifies:
The show doesn't tell people what to think, and it doesn't give people answers. The show is told in a kind of style where the character, the central character that Mehdi plays is a mystery, and you only ever get to understand that character through a pastiche of their points of view.
The creator believes ultimately, you never get to see what he is, you have to make your own mind up.
Mehdi reveals the reason he took up the role of Al-Masih
Messiah boasts an impressive list of relatively unknown cast, who managed to deliver splendid performances. These include names like Fares Landoulsi, Sayyid El Alami, Tomer Sisley, Stefania LaVie Owen, and so on.
Mehdi Dehbi is one of the most appreciated cast members, who claims he did not choose the role since it was just too good an opportunity to pass up. When asked why he took the role of Al-Masih, the actor said:
Oh, it's not really about what I want or what I don't want. It felt like it was part of my journey.
Dehbi felt like everything in his life was going to prepare him for this moment, and it happened. It was like a flowing thing that came to him and he accepted the character of Al-Masih.
Michael Petroni collaborated with Mehdi Dehbi to create the role of Messiah
Messiah creator Michael Petroni and the titular star Mehdi Dehbi collaborated to bring the character to life.
Source: My Cast
Show creator Michael Petroni revealed there was lots of collaboration between himself and the lead actor Mehdi Dehbi in terms of the portrayal of the role.
Mehdi was incredibly respectful of what was written, but what's on the page is not necessarily always what you get when you go to film it. I think this was one of those very serendipitous circumstances where the script really met the perfect casting, so it kind of came together very easily.
That being said, it wasn't an easy role for Mehdi to play. Petroni reckons one of the biggest issues in the portrayal of the role is the entire character's a question mark, basically an enigma. He's a secret, and so Mehdi had to kind of keep the secret of who he was to himself.
Is this the right time for a show like Messiah?
Michael reckons the Netflix show is pretty zeitgeist. However, if the series was written ten years ago, it would feel as zeitgeist because the show concerns itself with what's going on here and now.
I think as soon as you commit to a show doing that, then the show will tap into the zeitgeist which I think the show does. So it feels relevant because it concerned itself with what's going on.
Mehdi seconds Michael’s opinions and adds the entire concept feels like people are really in the search. They wonder what's going on in the world and are really in search for the meaning.