In The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, the Academy Award-winning actor – and two-time God player – travels to some of the holiest sites in the world, from the Pyramids of Giza and Buddha’s Bodhi Tree to Mayan ruins and Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock.
He meets people of all faiths and speaks to religious leaders, scientists, historians and archaeologists in an effort to understand how religion has evolved and adapted as society has changed, and how religion has transformed the evolution of society.
But Freeman isn’t the only one who has played the big person upstairs. Here’s a guide to the actors who’ve walked in the Almighty’s shoes or given Him/Her/It a voice.
Charlton Heston, The Ten Commandments (1956)
Heston played Moses in Cecil B DeMille’s classic and provided God’s booming voice as well.
Graham Chapman, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
King Arthur (Chapman) is told to seek the Holy Grail from God (also Chapman), who can’t stand grovelling and miserable psalms.
Ralph Richardson, Time Bandits (1981)
The British stage legend appeared, looking dapper in a suit, as the "Supreme Being" in Terry Gilliam’s time-travel tale.
Gene Hackman, Two of a Kind (1983)
Hackman provided the voice of God in this rom-com that doubled as a Grease reunion. God wants to destroy mankind, but one of his angels convinces him there might be some good left on Earth, in the form of John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John – it’s B.O.N.K.E.R.S.
Harry Shearer and Phil Hartman, The Simpsons (1989-present)
God appears various times throughout the series as a bearded giant in a flowing robe who enjoys KFC. Shearer and Hartman put their grandiose voices to use as the Almighty. Keep an eye on God’s hands when he appears – all the characters in The Simpsons have four fingers but God has five.
Robert Mitchum, Les Sept Péchés Capitaux (1992)
Only a screen legend like Mitchum could play God as a cigar-chomping, macho American in this Belgian comedy.
Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves (1996)
Watson played a young woman in the Scottish Highlands who, during her frequent visits to the church, prays to God and carries on conversations with the Almighty using her own voice, believing God is responding directly through her.
Trey Parker, South Park (1997)
Only on South Park would God appear as an animal hybrid with the body of a rat and the face of a hippo. From one creator to another, God is voiced by Parker, one of the brains behind the show.
Val Kilmer, Prince of Egypt (1998)
Kilmer has the bragging rights to have played Batman, Jim Morrison and God. Like Heston, he played a dual role by providing the voices of Moses and God.
Bob Odenkirk, Mr. Show (1998)
Better call God. Odenkirk played God on the cult sketch-comedy show. In the skit, God records the audiobook version of his memoir, My Life in the Fast Lane: God’s Autobiography.
Maurice Roëves, The Acid House (1998)
In this Scottish film, God is a heavy drinking, profane thug. Classic Scotland.
Alanis Morissette, Dogma (1999)
The Almighty appears as Morissette, with a voice that makes Ben Affleck’s head explode. Genius.
Whoopi Goldberg, It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie (2002)
Knowing Goldberg is God in the Muppet universe makes perfect, wonderful sense.
Will.i.am, Joan of Arcadia (2003)
God took many forms on this show about a teenager who had his mobile number, but whoever thought to get Will.i.am to play the Almighty deserves all the promotions.
Rodney Dangerfield, Angels With Angles (2005)
A joker until the end, Dangerfield played God from a bathtub in his final onscreen performance.
Morgan Freeman, Bruce Almighty (2003) and Evan Almighty (2007)
Freeman played God so well they gave him a documentary series that airs on SBS.
Rob Zombie, Super (2010)
God’s voice offered advice to Rainn Wilson in this dark superhero comedy: “Marry her.”
Whoopi Goldberg, A Little Bit of Heaven (2011)
Freeman isn’t the only one who can play God twice! In this Kate Hudson rom-com, God appears as Goldberg only because that’s how Hudson’s character wanted to see her. Wait, does this mean Hudson is technically a Muppet?
Watch The Story of God with Morgan Freeman on Sunday 4 June at 8:40pm on SBS.
Missed the last episode? Watch it at SBS On Demand right here: