Season 4 of ‘The Chosen’ Begins Streaming June 2

Backstage at The Chosen: How Playing Matthew Helped Actor Paras Patel to Be a Better Person

Paras Patel portrays St. Matthew in ‘The Chosen’
Paras Patel portrays St. Matthew in ‘The Chosen’ (photo:

Ardent fans of The Chosen may already have seen Season 4 back in February 2024, when the eight episodes were released in three groupings in theaters. For most of us, though, the story will unfold on TV, streaming via The Chosen app. The Chosen’s creator and director Dallas Jenkins has just announced that the series will begin streaming Episodes 1 and 2 on The Chosen app on June 2. Each week, two additional episodes will be available via streaming. We should expect to see wider distribution within 60 to 90 days after the series is released on the app. Among sites likely to stream Season 4, Dallas named Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Peacock and Netflix.

One notable feature of The Chosen is that while the events of the story remain true to Scripture, the characters’ personalities are expanded and enhanced. Matthew, with his propensity for writing everything down (he did, after all, produce one of the four Gospels), is often focused on small details and seems afflicted by what we today identify as Asperger’s syndrome, a type of autism.

As fans wait for streaming to begin, I had the opportunity to talk with Paras Patel, the actor who plays the idiosyncratic Matthew. He described how the series has helped him to grow personally, and how he and others of the cast have formed a deep bond as a result of working together.

Asked whether he’d been personally affected by the character he plays, Paras explained:

You know, in order to be a really authentic character and for me to pour myself into Matthew, I do bring elements of myself into the character. And I have found that the character of Matthew is really having a positive impact on me! It’s teaching me to be a better person, it’s teaching me to listen to others and also to give people some space and respect.

The character of Matthew has drawn respect and affection from the viewers; in fact, he’s perhaps the most popular character on the show — aside from Jesus, of course. Paras reported that Matthew’s growth will continue in Season 4, as he leans into things that he’s not personally comfortable with.

“He knows he will be a better person for doing that,” Paras said, “and he is teaching us, the audience, how to keep going and how to be the best version of ourselves.”

Paras explained what he meant by giving people “space.”

“By ‘space’ I mean, give them a platform,” he said, “so that they feel they are being respected. I am learning so much day-to-day as I continue to play Matthew.”

Viewers may recall that in past seasons of The Chosen, there has been a tension between Matthew and Peter. I asked Paras how he interacted personally with Shahar Isaac, who plays Peter, and with others on the set. “We hate each other!” he exclaimed, laughing. But then he went on to admit that Shahar was actually Paras’ first friend on the set, and one of his closest friends. “Any moment that we get to film with each other,” Paras reported, “I know is going to be one of my best moments.”

But he added, he feels that way about the rest of the cast, as well. “We are so close,” he said, “and we bring out the best in each other in our scenes. I think that is what the audience can see! That really translates on camera: We have this genuine chemistry that is, for lack of a better term, magical. It is really rare to have that — especially with a cast as big as ours!”

Paras acknowledged that his role will be more difficult as the series nears its end. He said:

It’s pretty difficult, because in Season 4, you’re seeing the implications of Jesus’ message, and how the political leaders and religious leaders are against him. One sees a lot of misunderstanding on the disciples’ part — of not really getting the message, and not really understanding that time is limited.
We’re filming Season 5 now; but as I always say, The Chosen family is a community, and we all will support one another when things get tough. We’re all fully committed to continuing to tell the story.

Paras felt blessed to be able to portray Matthew. “Portraying Matthew as autistic has been such a blessing and a gift to the show,” he said.

It’s really shined a light in the community, it’s given them [persons with autism] the representation they deserve. It’s also helped people to kind of normalize autism — understanding that autistic persons deserve to be included in society, that they have a place in this world. Matthew’s story is so important, because it really shows this journey of a young man who has found his calling and his purpose.

For Paras Patel, his purpose and his passion is his acting. Through his work, he hopes to influence and inspire others.

“I think that by portraying Matthew,” he said, “I’m doing just that — because I’m giving a lot of people hope and relatability that they can apply in their own lives.”

Asked what he liked about The Chosen series, Paras replied:

Honestly, I’m moved by the words and the writing. … When I got the first four episodes to audition with, I can’t tell you how beautiful it was. It was like poetry!
But you know, what was interesting was that when I was memorizing my lines … I read it just a few times, and I had memorized it. That is how you know that it’s good writing — because it felt like it was coming from my own voice.

One last thing: Paras said that he wanted to express his gratitude to the viewers. “Thank you for believing in us,” he said, “for your support, keeping us going.” As the halfway point nears for The Chosen series, viewer support is as important as ever.