Caviezel talks with CNA about faith after ‘The Passion’
Caviezel talks with CNA about faith after ‘The Passion’

.- Jim Caviezel, the actor who played Jesus in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”, spoke with the Catholic News Agency last week when he was here to receive the Imago Dei Award, on behalf of the filmmakers and crew of “The Passion”, from the Archdiocese of Denver. The interview follows. Q. Jim, regarding your faith, how has the movie changed your experience of suffering and what suffering means for you now?

A. I understand sacrifice so much more now than I ever have. During much of the filming I didn't know if I could make it, if I could do it because of the hypothermia. Dealing with hypothermia for one day is okay, even though it's very hard. But try dealing with it for five straight weeks on a cross with an overhang of more than 1,000 feet, and at the same time your shoulder is separated and you’re sick, you have pneumonia and you’re throwing up. At the same time, you’re getting struck by lightening. All of these things factor into when you scream out: “God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” I have said that many, many times. You don't even know if you care if you make this movie anymore. This is the human side of me, but I know He [Jesus] did care. And if I hadn't gone through the suffering I would not have delivered the performance that you saw on the screen. It forced me into the arms of God. …

Q. Your faith is something that takes a central place in your life. Have you ever found a contradiction or a conflict between living your faith and your profession as an actor?

A. When you work for a bank, you work with money.  Does that you mean you can't be Catholic and work for a bank? Can you not be Catholic and be president of the United States? Can you not be Catholic and be involved in any form of the communication world, whether it be a network reporter or whatnot? We need them [Catholics] in every mission, in every area. We need missionaries and good people.

Q. What role does your faith play in choosing films to work on?

A. [My faith] does not mean that I don't play sinful characters. That doesn't mean I will not do R-rated movies. This movie is certainly rated R. In fact, if you were to read the Bible you would give it a worse rating – NC17 to rated X. This is a very serious book full of lots of sinners and lots of holy people. I've played sinful people and characters as well as holy people. I try to find something that is redeemable in a story. I don't blaspheme Our Lord. There are things [films] that I won't do. And I just wait… God allows me to wait.  If I see a script that I really like [but which has parts that are unacceptable to me] I ask them to change a part of it and – if they really want me – they will change it.

Q. How important is your faith in your married life and your marriage in your faith?

A. It's fundamental. It's like eating food. You have to eat every day; you have to receive the Eucharist. God gave my wife to me. She's a gift. I take care of her. She takes care of me. We love the way God would want us to love. We're an example to other people. We fail sometimes but we try often and then we get back up if we fail. We stay together and love each other as much as we can. My faith feeds into everything, my acting and whatnot. It's the soul.

Q. What is your reaction to the coverage of you in the press?

A. Much of the time in the press they look for angles to taint you. For example, they continually, they say: “devout Catholic Jim Caviezel, devout Catholic Jim Caviezel, devout Catholic Jim Caviezel.” [They do this] every time they present you in the press and you think: “What's wrong with that?”

But let me ask you, do they say: “devout scientologist Tom Cruise, devout scientologist Tom Cruise, devout scientologist Tom Cruise; devout Jew Adam Sandler, devout Jew Adam Sandler, devout Jew Adam Sandler”? They understand what they're doing – trying to taint you, make you a religious zealot. There's lots of persecution like this all the time. They [the press] are not open to how you live your life. I don't go and force my faith on others. I talk about it when asked and sometimes I don't even talk about it. But I live it. It's not what you say; it's what you do. …  I can't worry about what people think. … I'll have to answer to God. I am more afraid of not doing the right thing, because I'll have to answer to Him some day. 

Q. How do you explain the success of “The Passion”? Have you learned about any spiritual fruit that people have received from watching the movie since its release?

A. You can go on Internet sites and you can read about all the spiritual fruits, they're everywhere – all over the place.  … But you'll hear [in the press] about one woman in Kansas dying of a heart attack while watching “The Passion”. They [the media] are going to find one negative thing, but there are millions and millions of good things. This film is going to help promote true peace, true peace in the world.... 

Q. Do you think this film will have some impact in people’s faith?

A. In many countries around the world, we water down our faiths to accommodate each other to bring churches together, this is wrong. I'm not asking Baptists to accept a form of Marianism and to understand what that is. That's the Holy Spirit's job….  At the end of the day, I ask you pray for my conversion and I'll pray for yours, but to water down our faith, to accommodate each other, is only accommodating one thing and that is sin. 

Q. What is your favorite scene in the film?

A. In my favorite scene in the movie, Pontius Pilate speaks to Jesus.  Jesus says: “Those that know me know the truth.” And then Pilate says: “What is the truth?” Jesus does not answer him. After that, Pilate speaks to his wife, Claudia, and he says: “What is this truth?” And she says: “If you don't know, I can't tell you.”

Much of the time, people have this idea that Jesus is a Bible thumper; he isn't. He speaks in truth. He speaks with full truth and full grace….

Q. What is your wish for Latin America and Spain after "The Passion of the Christ" is released?

A. I want the same thing for them as has happened here. That people would be open, that people would be open to the truth.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
#PAUSEforPeace Initiative
Dedicating art to San Juan de la Cruz
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon

Liturgical Calendar

July 29, 2014

Saint Martha

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 11:19-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Jer 14: 17-22
Gospel:: Jn 11: 19-27

Saint of the Day

St. Martha »


Homily of the Day

Jn 11:19-27


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: