On March 29th, NatGeo will unveil its three-hour adaptation of Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard’s bestselling book Killing Jesus, taking a detailed look at the religious, political, and historical circumstances surrounding the death of Jesus of Nazareth.
But before the TV event, the network and agency Mullen have launched a detailed and immersive companion site, created by the same team behind similar award-winning work on Killing Kennedy, Live From Space, and Killing Lincoln.
The site is divided into eight chapters, chronicling Jesus’ life from birth to crucifixion. But instead of a single narrative, users are able to approach the story of Jesus Christ from three different perspectives–as the son of God, the son of Man or a threat to Roman rule–by wearing one of three different “crowns” to view the story from each of these perspectives. “Thorns” represents Jesus Christ himself and his disciples and followers, “Headress” the Jewish high priests of the time, and “Laurels” the political points of view, including Pilate and Herod the Great.
The artwork is hand-drawn illustrations by Bastien Lecouffe Deharme–3,080 illustrated images, animated with 14,364 hand-placed keyframes, across 72 interactive scenes–in parallax responsive web design. And Mullen is clearly building on technical lessons learned from both Killing Lincoln and Killing Kennedy experiences, as this newest project contains a 290,094 lines of code, four times the size of those previous works combined.
Given its size and scope, one could spend as much time tooling around the site as it would take to watch the entire TV show. This is far more than window dressing to help market a network broadcast, but a legitimate storytelling partner that only deepens the overall experience.