Dennis Haysbert’s unmistakable voice may be as well-known as his face. That’s what happens when your voice is heard on popular Allstate ads and shows like Meet the Press.
It’s also a reason the creators of a new TBN series, Inexplicable: How Christianity Spread to the Ends of the Earth, wanted him as the narrator.
Haysbert – who played President David Palmer in 24 and more recently a medical doctor in the faith-based film Breakthrough – told Christian Headlines he was “blessed” with a memorable voice.
“Everybody has a great voice in my family,” he said, laughing, while referencing his eight siblings and father.
The six-part Inexplicable series opens in the first century and examines the spread of Christianity across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It includes interviews with historians, faith leaders and other experts. Haysbert narrates it.
The series, Haysbert said, doesn’t use “kid gloves” when telling the story of Christianity’s history. Some of the episodes, he said, are “bloody” and even “scary.”
“There are billions of Christians out there. This is a story they need to see,” said Haysbert, who calls himself a lover of history. “... We absolutely have to learn [history] in order to get through this life. What you forget – or what you don’t know – you’re doomed to repeat.”
Viewers aren’t the only ones learning, though. Haysbert, too, said he learned a lot about Christian history while recording the narration. On more than one occasion, he became overwhelmed by what he was reading.
“I had to pause a couple of times and tell the guys, ‘Hold on, stop for a second. Let me consume this and let me feel this for a second before I continue on.’ There were points where I got emotional about the things I’m reading,” Haysbert told Christian Headlines. “… You start narrating, and you’re bringing life to it.”
Inexplicable, he said, has plenty of stories about female heroes.
“For all the people who say that women are underrepresented in history, that's not true with this,” he said. “A lot of women were involved.”
Haysbert will always want to act but is “coming to an age” where narration is “more and more important to me,” he said.
“It's informative,” he said. “It's teaching.”
Asked what roles he enjoys most, Haysbert said, “if the story is good … and has truth to it, I’m going to be interested.”
“I like to be able to blow a whole group of people's minds based on truth and based on a great story,” he told Christian Headlines. “That's why I'm in this business – to tell stories and to tell stories that are going to entertain and inform.”
Watch it, for free, at TheStateofFaith.com.
Photo courtesy: ©Fox
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.