With his new role as a Roman tribune in “Risen,” Joseph Fiennes joins Charlton Heston, Richard Burton and Max von Sydow in the long list of actors who have starred in biblical films.

Films like “Ben-Hur,” ‘’The Robe” and “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” have perennial appeal during the Easter season, so Fiennes now belongs to a special club. “It’s great to be a part of that legacy,” Fiennes recently said.

Over the years, many films have dealt with the life of Jesus Christ and the crucifixion, but not many go beyond the resurrection. “Risen” plays more like a detective story as Fiennes’ character heads up an investigation into the disappearance of the body of Christ.

“I loved ‘The Robe’ — and this isn’t too dissimilar — with Richard Burton as a Roman that has contact with the robe of Christ,” Fiennes said. His character in “Risen” is part of the death squad that oversees the crucifixion of Christ.

He feels “Risen,” also picks up the plot of a more recent film. “ ‘The Passion of the Christ,’ phenomenal film, left us at the cross, and this is where we pick up from,” Fiennes said.

Fiennes cites actors Robert Powell and Ted Neeley as some of his favorites who have played Jesus.

Powell starred in the Franco Zeffirelli film “Jesus of Nazareth,” and Neeley had the title role in the film version of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

Associated Press