Jim Caviezel is certainly an actor with range. He is best known for playing ex-CIA agent John Reese in the television show Person of Interest, as well as Jesus in the film The Passion of the Christ. With the role of Jesus on his resume, it may not come as a surprise that Caviezel is a devoted Christian. He said in an interview with Faithwire, “My gift is from God. It was a gift given to me. I didn’t give it to myself.”
Raised in a Christian family, Caviezel had a relationship with God early on. When he was 19 years old, he received a call from the Lord that would change his life forever. He had left a movie theater and, as he was sitting in his car, felt a tug on his heart to become an actor. “I felt this love that I had never felt before, this peace I never felt before,” Caviezel said in an interview with Tola Mbakwe, “I heard God say, ‘I’d like you be an actor’ … I did not know where to go. I had a call to be an actor, but it was going to take Him to teach me and bring me to the right teachers, the right films to do.”
However, Hollywood is a place that comes with obvious challenges. When asked in a Faithwire interview about being faced with temptations such as drugs, he responded, “I think it would have been a matter of time before I started that bad habit and go to the wrong places [but] I had enough wisdom from the faith I already had [to know] that’s not going to make me happy.” He added, “I came into the business [and] Jesus carried me like a little lamb.”
When he was 33 years old, Caviezel was offered the role of a lifetime: the chance to portray Jesus for the film The Passion of the Christ. Though a wonderful role, it is one that certainly comes with some pressure. One such pressure was from the Hollywood elite. According to Mbakwe, Caviezel received a call one night from the film’s director, Mel Gibson. Caviezel recalled, “[Mel told me], ‘If you take this part [of Jesus], you may not work in this town again.’ I felt fear come into me. That’s one thing about our faith. When that [fear] happens, that’s not Jesus.” Caviezel responded, “I said, ‘My initials are J.C., and I’m 33 years old,’ [Mel said], ‘You’re freaking me out,’ and he hung up the phone.”
USA Today asked Caviezel if it was difficult to be a Christian in Hollywood. He responded, “I think that in these times, of course it is. But anything that I undergo, I look at as redemptive suffering. In other words, the pain that I go through [is] for the conversion of sinners. And I ask God that he could use my suffering for that. It’s part of the cross you take up when you choose to believe in Him…we all have this desire to want to be liked…but what we should be asking God is the desire for humility.”
During filming, Caviezel suffered from a shoulder separation, hypothermia, and being hit by lighting. Although the filming process was laden with challenges, The Passion of the Christ certainly didn’t face any challenges in box office sales. The film grossed $622,341,924 in worldwide ticket sales and became the highest grossing R-rated film of all time.
Since making blockbuster history, Caviezel went on to star in several movies and television series including: Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, Déjà vu, and the incredibly popular Person of Interest. Currently, Caviezel is set to reprise his role of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection, which is currently filming.
Both Mel Gibson and Caviezel have kept details of the film quiet and a release date hasn’t been set yet. However, Caviezel did tell USA Today, “I won’t tell you how [Mel Gibson’s] going to go about it. But I’ll tell you this much: The film he’s going to do is going to be the biggest film in history. It’s that good.”
In addition to being a working actor, Jim Caviezel is also a husband and father. According to People Magazine, three of his children were adopted with severe health concerns. Caviezel said, “Two of them had brain tumors and one had cancer sarcoma. Their chance of survival wasn’t great, but I wanted to help.” He added, “They make me want to be a better man.”
Jim Caviezel’s favorite Bible verse: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me — Philippians 4:13