Despite actors’ strike, made-in-Utah TV series about Jesus is back in production

“The Chosen” has been granted a waiver by the actors’ union.

Hollywood actors are on strike. So are the writers. But production has resumed on “The Chosen,” which is filming its fourth season in Utah.

The series about the life of Jesus Christ has been granted an exemption by SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents actors, because the show is not being produced by one of the studios actors are striking against.

It just took a few days for that exemption to come through.

The SAG-AFTRA strike began late Thursday, and on Friday “The Chosen” suspended filming on any scenes that included actors, because those actors are members of the union.

(The show’s producers tweeted that they did “a little filming” on Friday “of everything that doesn’t require our cast. … Yes, it’s upsetting and will cost time and money … but we bring our 5 loaves & 2 fish. God handles the rest.”)

However, an exemption from the union came through on Sunday, and production on “The Chosen” resumed on Monday.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Season 4 of "The Chosen" is filming on the Jerusalem sets at the LDS Film Studios in Utah County.

Why the special treatment for the show about Jesus? It wasn’t divine intervention, it was the fact that “The Chosen” is an independent production. The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is on strike against the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents more than 350 television and film production companies. And none of those production companies has anything to do with this series.

Apparently, there was some question about “The Chosen’s” status because the first three seasons were recently licensed to The CW and episodes began airing on that network on Sunday. And Seasons One through Three episodes are (or were) available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Peacock, UPtv and the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

But the series’ producers reiterated that “Season Four is entirely independent and 100% funded by donations.” The powers that be at SAG-AFTRA have agreed and given the OK for the series’ actors/union members to return to work after the brief interruption.

That’s “Great news!” the show’s producers tweeted, adding that they’ve “agreed to all of SAG’s requests and their interim agreement.” According to the union, independent productions can “continue working during a strike provided that the producer agrees to abide by the terms that SAG-AFTRA is seeking from the AMPTP.”

The series is filming at the LDS Motion Picture Studio in Goshen, south of Provo. Producers are renting the space; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is not otherwise involved in the production.

The actors’ union went out on strike at midnight this past Thursday. They joined the Writers Guild of America, which has been on strike against the AMPTP since May 2.