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'Bible,' 'Son of God' star Diogo Morgado 'freaked out' about playing Jesus

Few, if any, acting roles come with higher audience expectations than the part Diogo Morgado took on in the History Channel miniseries "The Bible." As he explained on TODAY Tuesday morning, he panicked when he first pondered playing Jesus.

"I freaked out!" Morgado, who reprises the part in the film version, "Son of God," admitted. "I was in shock; I was in panic because I knew the responsibility. I mean, I went to Jerusalem and while I was there, I felt on my own the importance of the story. (It's) so alive."

And while it's a story that's been told on the big and small screen many times before, it will seem even more alive this time, according to the star.

"Today we have the technology to, you know, fulfill it in visual ways people are actually going to be blown (away) by," Morgado explained. "Fifty years ago, we didn't have that that technology to visualize this wonderful miracle."

But the film, which follows Jesus from nativity to resurrection, doesn't rely on big effects alone — just as it doesn't rely on biblical text alone.

"People tend to grab onto the words (of the bible)," Morgado said. "Words were exactly that. … Sometimes they forget about the wider message of those words. It was all about love and compassion and altruism. So I really invested everything that I am."

See how Morgado's investment plays in theaters when "Son of God" opens nationwide Friday.