Another Special Life in Christ
These testimony lives are not stories of "role models". Jesus is the
These are lives wonderfully touched & changed by Jesus!
He was born 26 September 1968 in Mt. Vernon,
Washington into a devout Catholic family and is a devout Roman Catholic. The oldest son
in a family of five children, Caviezel grew up in rural Washington and settled on an acting
career after a foot injury ended his college basketball days. His last name is pronounced
Kav-EE-zel. Concerning the movie (below), "It's the story I grew up with. I felt this is what we
believe in the Roman Catholic faith and in Christianity as a whole."
After moving to Los Angeles, Caviezel worked his
way up from bit parts in "My Own Private Idaho," "Wyatt Earp" and "The Rock" in the early to
mid 1990s, eventually landing a solid supporting role in "G.I. Jane." Jim lives near Los
Angeles with his wife, Kerri, an English teacher (they married in 1996). I don't know the
real story of his coming to belief.
Playing Jesus meant a world of torment for Jim
Caviezel, who stars in Mel Gibson's ferociously violent "The Passion of the Christ", released
on Ash Wednesday, 25 February 2004. "We didn't take any money up front-neither Gibson
nor me nor any of us. I didn't do this for money but because I love my
Caviezel dangled nearly naked on a cross in
bone-chilling winds through weeks of filming. He was struck by lightning during a recreation
of the Sermon on the Mount. An actor playing a Roman torturer cut a 14-inch gash in
Caviezel's back during scenes of Christ's scourging.
He dislocated his shoulder carrying the cross,
caught pneumonia and a lung infection, endured cuts, scrapes and backaches from the chains he
He previously had turned down the role of Jesus in
a play and two TV projects but accepted this time because he sensed Gibson's commitment to
telling the story without restraint.
"I didn't look at it and go, ‘Gee, I'm Catholic,
and I'm going to play Jesus,’” Caviezel said. "The other times, I said no, not interested.
Not unless you're really going to go there. That's where Mel and I both share the same common
denominator. I want the absolute fullness of the truth, or I don't want to do it at
Gibson's approach to that truth is a gory
rendering that will test the emotional stamina of moviegoers as Roman soldiers sadistically
carry out the lashing and execution while Christ quietly endures.
Many days, Caviezel rose at 2 a.m. and spent eight
hours in makeup to simulate the wounds: an eye swollen shut from a beating, the crown of
thorns, welts and torn flesh from head to toe.
The prolonged scourging sequence is as agonizing
to watch as the Crucifixion, when nails are driven through Jesus’ hands and feet. Caviezel
was chained to a post with a board set up behind him to absorb the blows.
At one point, Gibson instructed the two actors
inflicting the beating to hurl their lashes overhand as if throwing a baseball. Caviezel took
a blow to his back after one of the actors aimed poorly.
"It just extended over the board and hit me with
such a velocity that I couldn't breathe," Caviezel said. "It's like getting the wind knocked
out of you. The stinging is so horrific that you can't get air.
"I turned around and looked at the guy, and I tell
you, I may be playing Jesus, but I felt like Satan at that moment. I turned to him, a couple
of expletives came out of my mouth."
Moments later, Caviezel was struck again, the lash
slicing the gash in his back.
A lot to suffer, considering Gibson's camp
originally approached Caviezel about doing a surfing movie. Caviezel turned up for a meeting
with Gibson's producing partner, Stephen McEveety, and talked awhile about the surfing
Caviezel defends the extremes to which Gibson went
on the violence, saying it was necessary to authentically portray Christ's suffering.
Likewise, shooting the dialogue in Aramaic, the language of Jesus, and Latin lends a visceral
effect that heightens the sense that viewers are eavesdropping on the Crucifixion rather than
watching a cinematic restaging, Caviezel said.
The actor also defends Gibson over criticism from
some Jewish and Christian leaders that the movie could provoke anti-Semitism and revive the
notion that Jews collectively were responsible for Christ's death.
"The Passion" depicts Jewish elders, backed by a
screaming mob, pleading with Roman governor Pontius Pilate to crucify Christ. It also shows
Jewish sympathizers of Jesus: Mary Magdalene, Christ's disciples and Simon of Cyrene, who
helps carry the cross and is identified in the film's dialogue as a Jew.
"There's no broad brush applied here to any
particular group. Mel says this quite frequently, that this film does not play the blame
game," Caviezel said. "That crowd standing before Pilate does not condemn an entire race for
the death of Christ any more than the heinous acts of Mussolini condemn all Italians or the
vicious acts of Stalin condemn all Russians. We're all culpable in the death of Christ. My
sins, your sins, all of our sins put him up on that cross. ...
"If anti-Semitism was in any way at play here, I
would have said, ‘I'm not doing this, Mel. I don't care who you are.’”
The intense scrutiny the film is receiving is a
new experience for Caviezel, who has quietly built a solid list of credits in lower-profile
movies, mostly with supporting or ensemble roles.
Terrence Malick then cast him in a pivotal role in
1998's war epic "The Thin Red Line," with the little known Caviezel holding his own in an
ensemble that included Sean Penn, George Clooney, Nick Nolte and John
The exposure helped Caviezel land major roles in
the thrillers "Frequency," co-starring Dennis Quaid, "Angel Eyes," with Jennifer Lopez, and
"High Crimes," starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman. Caviezel had the title role in the
2002 update of "The Count of Monte Cristo."
Upcoming films for Caviezel include the
science fiction thriller "The Final Cut," starring Robin Williams, and the golfing film
biography "Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius," in which he plays the lead. Caviezel also stars in
the murder thriller "Highwaymen," playing in limited release.
bloody, controversial Christ", by David Germain (AP writer), The State (newspaper), 20 February
various other articles appearing prior to 25 February 2004 opening
and some internet websites.
***give me your comments about this
(posted 21 February 2004)
You have just read a very brief example of the
powerful, supernatural transformation of a person's life which is possible through the
acceptance of Jesus as your savior. Are you tired of life as it now is for you? He will
accept you just as you are right this second! Consider accepting Jesus now