By Maureen Smith
JACKSON – Actor, producer and philanthropist Jim Caviezel knew when he accepted the role of Jesus in the Passion of the Christ, that his career would be impacted by the decision, but he wanted to use his life’s work to honor God. “My talent came from God, not from man,” he told Dave Cooper in an online interview for the show Christus Rex.
Caviezel is bringing his testimony to Jackson for an evening fundraiser for Catholic Charities on Friday, Sept. 7, at Thalia Mara Hall starting at 7:30 p.m.
Caviezel grew up in Washington State in a devout Catholic family. He first pursued a career in baseball until an injury sidelined him. He discovered acting instead.
In 1992 Caviezel landed a small role as an Italian ticket agent in Gus Van Sant’s My Private Idaho which earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award. To further his career Caviezel moved to Los Angeles in the early 1980’s and while making his round of auditions, Caviezel found small roles on popular TV shows Murder She Wrote, The Wonder Years and the CBS miniseries, Children of the Dust. Caviezel geared toward the big screen and accepted a role in Michael Ritchie’s drama Diggstown, followed by Lawrence Kasdan’s action film Wyatt Earp and in the action drama G.I Jane opposite actress Demi Moore.
Caviezel’s breakthrough role came in 1998 when he was casted in Terrence Malick’s Oscar nominated film The Thin Red Line, a dramatic adaption of a popular book about World War II alongside Sean Penn and Adrien Brody. Directors were drawn to Caviezel as he continuously demonstrated his powerful ability to fuse soulful introspection with physicality.
That generated quality and mainstream roles in films such as Ang Lee’s Civil War drama Ride with the Devil, Mimi Leders dramatic romance Pay it Forward and Luis Mandoki’s romantic thriller Angel Eyes. In 2002, Caviezel played the lead in an adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo based on the classic novel by Alexander Dumas. His next two roles included High Crimes opposite Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman and in Robert Harmon’s crime thriller in film Highwaymen.
Caviezel was recognized for his intense preparations for film roles and his role as Jesus in Passion of the Christ earned him a Grace Award from the Movie Guide Awards for the Most Inspired Movie Acting. Next, Caviezel played the character of Bobby Jones in the biographical drama Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius. In 2006, Caviezel played opposite Denzel Washington in the sci-fi thriller Déjà vu. Caviezel’s role on the mini TV-series The Prisoner for six episodes allowed him to prepare for his biggest TV role. In 2012, Caviezel appeared in the drama thriller Transit, alongside James Frain and Elisabeth Rohm. Premiering in 2011 Caviezel starred as ex-CIA special operations agent Jon Reese in CBS’s critically lauded drama, Person of Interest for all five seasons.
His second spiritual role was in Paul, Apostle of Christ, which was released earlier this year. When he speaks he challenges his audiences. In the Christus Rex interview he asked the attendees to “set yourselves apart from this corrupt generation my brothers and sisters, you weren’t made to fit in, you were born to stand out,” but he also warned that being a Christian and seeking salvation takes work. “Everyone wants resurrection. No one wants suffering,” said Caviezel.
“For any person, Christian or fan of the Passion or Caviezel’s other films, they are in for a treat. We are even more excited to bring his message to people of all faiths and denominations,” said John Lunardini, COO of Catholic Charities. He said he hopes people of all denominations will attend this inspiring evening.
Sponsors and VIP ticket holders will have access to the pre-show Meet and Greet with Jim Caviezel. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster online and in person at the box office.
Ticket prices range from $100 to $25 and group discounts are available. For more information about tickets and sponsorships contact Julie O’Brien at 601-326-3758, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.catholiccharitiesjackson.org
(Julie O’Brien contributed to this story.)