‘God Friended Me’: Why Joe Morton Used Meghan Markle’s Bishop as Inspiration for Arthur Finer

God Friended Me follows atheist Miles Finer (Brandon Micheal Hall) after God friends him on social media in order to suggest him people to help. Miles is the son of a reverend named Arthur Finer played by Joe Morton and this also affects their relationship.

The Cheat Sheet talked to Joe Morton about preparing for his God Friended Me role at the Paley Center on Feb. 26. He revealed his surprising inspiration behind his role that is tied to the royal wedding.

Brandon Micheal Hall as Miles Finer and Joe Morton as Rev. Arthur Finer
Brandon Micheal Hall as Miles Finer and Joe Morton as Rev. Arthur Finer | Jonathan Wenk/CBS via Getty Images

Joe Morton talks about what Arthur Finer and Rowan Pope have in common

The actor’s new role is very different from his previous one. Joe Morton once played a father named Rowan Pope who was the head of a secret organization in Scandal. It wasn’t uncommon for his character to plan someone’s murder, or even murder someone himself.

Arthur Finer would never do that being a man of faith. He also seems to be a much kinder person. However, the actor revealed that there is one thing that ties the two together.

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“Well this guy has the same sort of basis to him in that he loves his children,” Morton told The Cheat Sheet. “The difference between him and Rowan is that Rowan would kill for his children and this guy won’t [laughs.]”

The God Friended Me character also has very different struggles with his children. “Here I am, a reverend of a very large Harlem church and my son is an atheist. How did that happen?” asked Morton. “My daughter is gay and that goes against the church so how did that happen and what do I need to do about it?”

He went on to say “I think acceptance then becomes a big issue for you because if you are a man of the cloth and you’re supposed to take everyone in you can’t then turn around and say ‘I can’t because you’re gay’ and you have to find a way to that spot where you can accept them.”

Morton researched before going into the role. He revealed that was inspired by Bishop Michael Curry, who spoke at Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding.

Morton watched the royal wedding and was inspired by Bishop Michael Curry

The actor revealed what kind of research he did in order to play Arthur Finer. Some of it was just studying religion, but also studying a real man.

Morton told The Cheat Sheet that he “spent a little bit of time looking at episcopal sort of religion” and “spent an awful a lot of time watching Bishop Curry when he was in London for the royal wedding.” He added, “so that was kind of what I was using as the basis for this guy.”

He revealed why he was so moved by the bishop. “I was surprised that he was as baptist as he was,” explained Morton “you know you kind of think of the episcopal as being very somber and so forth and he was just out there with a lot of energy, big smile, knocked the queen off her feet. She had no idea what he was. I was taken by that.”

That approach seemed to be very effective to Morton. “That actually it really is about exerting yourself to reach other people,” he continued. “That being sometimes a somber, even though a truthful pastor or reverend, sometimes leaves people out in the dark, and that the more you spend trying to reach them and actually making an effort to reach them, the easier it becomes.”

Fans will be able to see more of Joe Morton and the rest of the cast of God Friended Me on CBS on Sundays at 8/7c. The new show was also renewed for a second season.

Read more: Bishop Micheal Curry Reveals the 1 Thing Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Gave Him That Inspired His Sermon

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