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‘The Chosen’ Star Paras Patel Talks His Unique Role as Matthew and Promoting Autism Awareness (EXCLUSIVE)

For World Autism Awareness Month, we sat down with the star to hear about his incredible character


In honor of Autism Awareness Month, Woman’s World sat down with actor Paras Patel, who plays the disciple Matthew, one of the most unique and beloved characters in the hit TV show The Chosen, for a very special reason. Dallas Jenkins, the creator and director of the show that has captivated millions, decided to depict the Biblical character of Matthew as a person on the autism spectrum.

“When we were first choosing Matthew to be a featured character, we noticed, ‘Okay, he is a numbers guy because he’s a tax man. He’s a facts guy because the first chapter of his book is a genealogy divided into three sections of 14 names apiece, so he’s very precise,” Jenkins explains to WW.

Jenkins continues, “He chose a profession that made him an outcast. I’m very familiar with the autism community. It’s in my family. I’ve done a lot of volunteer work there, so looking at that I go, ‘Boy, these are traits of Asperger’s or someone the autism spectrum. Wouldn’t that be interesting, very human and relatable to have a character who is like that? Is it factual? I don’t know. It’s plausible, and I think one of the top things that we’ve seen people relate to most with the show is the character of Matthew.”

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Paras Patel as Matthew in The Chosen, season 3
Paras Patel as Matthew in The Chosen, Season 3‘The Chosen’ Press Center

But for The Chosen‘s Paras Patel, despite not being a person on the spectrum in his real life, playing Matthew and learning his mannerisms has been the role of a lifetime.

“When we first started the show, we only had funding to finish the first four episodes. It was near the end of the year and honestly, I was just trying to get a job to pay for my insurance,” Paras revealed to Woman’s World in an exclusive interview. “But then I got the audition and the scripts, and the writing was just so different and unique. It was one of those moments where I could memorize the line by just reading it once, I just knew the words. That’s so rare, and I just felt like it fit. So to think back where we started from — not finishing the first season — to now we’re globally released. It keeps blowing my mind.”

The Chosen cast has become globally known — (L-R) George H. Xanthis plays John, Elizabeth Tabish plays Mary Magdalene, Alaa Safi plays Simon the Zealot, Jonathan Roumie plays Jesus, Paras Patel plays Matthew, Shahar Isaac plays Simon Peter and Noah James plays Andrew attending the Global Premiere of Season 4 in London, England
The Chosen cast has become globally known — (L-R) George H. Xanthis plays John, Elizabeth Tabish plays Mary Magdalene, Alaa Safi plays Simon the Zealot, Jonathan Roumie plays Jesus, Paras Patel plays Matthew, Shahar Isaac plays Simon Peter and Noah James plays Andrew attending the Global Premiere of Season 4 in London, EnglandShane Anthony Sinclair/Getty Images

Becoming an autism advocate

Matthew’s differences have led Paras Patel to become an advocate for the autism community.

“There’s so much stigma around autism, and as we’re shining a light on it, that stigma is slowly fading,” Paras told WW on World Autism Day. “I just want my message to be positive message and one of inclusion. I just want it to feel like it’s normalized when you think of that Matthew’s story. You see how he has grown so much just in himself, and he’s found confidence. I want to do that for others. I want people to know that I see them. There’s confidence in everybody, and we can help activate it.

“When portraying Matthew, for me, it’s really about what has happened to me as Paras — as an actor and an artist,” Paras tells WW. “I feel like this show has really given me my purpose in a way. It’s not only for portraying Matthew, but also representing the autism community, as well as those that have felt that they aren’t seen, valued, included or misunderstood.

“I feel like all of us in society and as humans go through these feelings,” Paras adds. “So seeing Matthew’s journey, his obstacles, the ups and downs and how he taps into those moments of pain knowing the outcome is going to be good and it will help him grow has been very motivating to me.”

Preparing for the role of Matthew in The Chosen

Playing the role may have come naturally, but preparation was vital to Paras to ensure Matthew comes across exactly how he is meant to. “When you get a part — first of all — that’s such a big moment. Then next, comes all the nerves and the thought, I need to do this right for someone that isn’t on the spectrum,” Para says. “I just want to be an ambassador for the community to show how much I respect the autism community, and I want them to feel like I did it justice. It just goes to show that Matthew’s just one color of it. There’s varying types of people on the spectrum, and I’m glad this show is bringing attention to that.

“My biggest research was with Dallas Jenkins, our showrunner and creator of the show. He’s actually on the spectrum, and that’s why he made Matthew this way,” Paras reveals. “He felt it was plausible. The fact that he’s detailed, that he writes, that he was a former tax collector — he felt that these characteristics were plausible of someone who’s high-functioning on the spectrum. It’s really unique when you get along with your director and showrunner so well, so we would have creative conversations about it. I had notes, I watched documentaries, I watched behaviors, and for me, because for me it’s about showing it through your eyes. I feel like the eyes are the connection to the soul. It’s very important for me to convey what I feel through my eyes. I feel like that’s Matthews number one way of communicating.”

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Matthew and Mother Mary at Sermon on The Mount in Season 3
Matthew and Mother Mary at Sermon on The Mount in Season 3The Chosen Press Center

Paras Patel on drawing inspiration from Matthew

The character of Matthew in The Chosen is detail-oriented, excellent with numbers, a great listener and a good friend. Paras has since drawn inspiration from Matthew in his own life.

“Being an actor, you want to bring some yourself to the role, but I didn’t realize until Season 2 that I actually was very similar to Matthew already,” Paras says with a laugh. “I also pay really close attention to detail, and to get into the mindset of the character, I started doing Sudoku puzzles to practice focusing, and I actually ended up really liking it. So now, I have all these books of Sudoku puzzles. There’s just so many things that I have in common with Matthew, and I think that’s what makes him so relatable to people who are on the spectrum — and aren’t.”

Throughout the show, Matthew is often shown quoting scripture, which Paras says was intentional. “I use that as a way to ground him when he’s about to do something that he’s anxious about or something that he doesn’t like but knows he has to do,” he explains. “I imagine Matthew back then was looking back on his writings at what Jesus was teaching. It was his way of finding strength in himself to get ready to do those things. What I love about him is his faith, his devotion and how he is always trying to be the best version of himself. I think a lot of us can learn from him.”

Matthew and John writing down Jesus' word that would soon become their books of the Bible
Paras Patel as Matthew (left) and John (right) writing down Jesus’ words that would soon become their recorded books of the BibleDallas Jenkins/The Chosen

Becoming a family

The cast is back together as-we-speak hitting the ground running with the filming of Season 5. With Dallas Jenkins having previously noted that there would only be 7 seasons of the show, Paras and the others recognize that the special moments they have together now won’t last forever.

“We’re passed that halfway mark. We only have two more seasons left after this. My favorite memories on set will always be when we do a group scene,” says Paras. “But there was this one time in Season 3 when we were filming a feast. Jesus and the disciples and followers were eating, and it was just like a simple scene. But we were shooting it at 3:00 in the morning. So you imagine the delirium that ensued, right?

Paras continues, “Jesus was at one end of the table, and then Mary was all the way at another end. It got to a point where no one could hear each other. Mary had lines and Jesus just cut her off. All of us start snort laughing. I had to look down, and I’m crying. When one person giggles, that is game over. Those are the moments I’m going to remember beyond this show. It’s our cast, our camaraderie and our bond that really helps make the show and elevates our characters.”

The actors who play Jesus and the disciples have become like family — Simon, Jesus, John, and Matthew during Season 2
The actors who play Jesus and the disciples have become like family — Simon, Jesus, John, and Matthew (Paras Patel) during Season 2The Chosen Press Center

Paras Patel making an impact on the world

It’s no secret that The Chosen is taking the world by storm, but what could never have been anticipated was the reaction of so many fans towards the cast. Many of which are finding comfort in the character of Matthew.

“One of the earliest moments was when a parent came up to me, and shared a story of how their child was watching Matthew in Season 1. They were in front of the TV said, ‘Matthew! He’s like me!’ The parents had a moment where something unlocked in them where they realized, Maybe my child is special needs. Now, how can I equip them with tools? How can I communicate effectively with them?” Paras says.

“Just to see a child feel like they’re seeing themselves was very moving. When the parents shared that with me, I was in tears. And from then on, I got countless stories that are similar. To hear the impact that this show is having — this is my purpose. It’s unique. I hope lightning strikes twice, but I don’t think moments like this or a show like this will ever happen again. We are blessed to be able to go around the world with this show, and see the smiles and joy we bring to people. It’s more important now than ever.

“My biggest hope that people take away from Matthew is just a better way to communicate with those that we will easily just write off,” Paras says. “I hope, through Matthew, people see how all it took was one person to see something in him and he was activated. I hope that we can continue to push that message forward. Let’s treat each other with respect. Let’s learn to be more patient with others. Especially those that have special needs and those who are just unique. Let’s elevate them because that’s what we should be doing as a community. Matthew just goes to show that there’s a place for everyone in this world!”

3 ways to watch The Chosen

First: Watch all episodes of the first three seasons for free in The Chosen app — available for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, iOS, and Android. Just search “The Chosen” wherever you download apps or channels for your streaming player or device.

Second: Check your favorite streaming service. Most seasons are currently available on Amazon Prime Video, Peacock, Netflix, Roku, Apple TV, and more.

Third: Watch for free at

Season 4 will hit streaming services soon. Keep up with Dallas Jenkins on Instagram or follow The Chosen on Instagram and Facebook for updates!

For more stories about The Chosen and the cast, keep reading…

10 Stars of ‘The Chosen’ Get Candid About Their Characters & Dish on Season 4 (VIDEO)

Stars of ‘The Chosen’ Dish On Season 4, Plus All You Need To Know Before The Premiere

Want more of The Chosen? For an up-close and personal look into the show and beloved characters, pick up The Chosen special collector’s edition magazine from the editors of TV Guide with insights into all four seasons, episode recaps and stunning photos!

Buy The Chosen Special Collector’s Edition here!

The Chosen Special issue
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