Jim Caviezel, the star of “The Passion of the Christ” spoke this past weekend at First Baptist Church in Orlando about being “rejected in my own industry” after playing Jesus.
During the Saturday night service, about 750 people showed up to hear what the Catholic star had to say about his experiences while filming and working with Mel Gibson on one of the most controversial movies about Jesus. The movie went on to become one of the highest grossing films ever.
He shared that before working on the role, he was warned by Gibson that he might “never work in this town again” if he decided to go forward with the film. But Caviezel simply told him, “We all have to embrace our crosses.”
According to him, Gibson’s advice wasn’t far from the truth because after the film he had difficulty finding a job in Hollywood. But he was able to lend his talent to films with religious subtexts like “The Stoning of Soraya M.,” “I am David” and “Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius,” among other films.
"We have to give up our names, our reputations, our lives to speak the truth," Caviezel said.
During the 20-minute evening event, Caviezel also mentioned, jokingly, that Gibson had occasional profane tirades during the production of the film. He recalled having to calm down the director when he gave credit to himself for the movie when, according to Caviezel, there was a higher power in charge.
He offered some advice to Christians about how to respond to the troubled star, who has been labeled as an anti-Semite and was caught cursing out his ex-wife and mother to his youngest child.
"Mel Gibson, he's a horrible sinner, isn't he?" Caviezel shared. "Mel Gibson doesn't need your judgment, he needs your prayers."
Caviezel highlighted that his faith plays an important part in his personal and professional life. He feels that there was a divine reason why he played Jesus when he was 33 years old (Jesus was estimated to be 33 when he was crucified) and why even his initials are J.C. – something that even freaked Gibson out a little, he said.
He and his wife adopted children from China with special needs and one has cancer. He said, "Maybe God, through my son's death, is going to teach me something."
Caviezel is currently promoting the audio Bible “The Word of Promise,” which features a celebrity cast including Marisa Tomei, Rebecca St. James, Michael W. Smith, Luke Perry and others.