Between Mel and JC

On Sunday, August 1, James Caviezel, star of the 2004 film The Passion of the Christ, was the guest speaker at The Rock Church in Point Loma. The Oscar nominee shared his story of what it was like to play Jesus Christ in the Mel Gibson-directed blockbuster film.

To land the role on Gibson’s project, Caviezel reminded him that he, like Jesus Christ, also had the initials "JC" and was 33 years old; according to Cavaziel, that was enough to finally convince him.

During filming, Caviezel said he suffered a dislocated shoulder, cuts, and bruises from the whippings; and hypothermia eventually turned into a case of pneumonia. He said taking the role resulted in typecasting, and that he was shunned by people he had considered his friends.

The actor spoke of the spiritual challenge of the role he played. Asked how anyone can prepare to play the son of God, his answer was, "Through unquenchable fire." He said he prayed a lot and read the Bible, asking that "people don't see me; I just want them to see Jesus. And through that, conversions will happen.... That's what I wanted more than anything, that people would have a visceral effect to finally make a decision whether to follow Him or not."

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