What potentially seemed like the role of a lifetime and the ultimate career boost, portraying one of the world's most revered religious figures did not work out as well as one Hollywood actor had imagined.
Jim Caviezel infamously portrayed Jesus Christ in 2004's The Passion of the Christ, a film that made headlines for its controversial subject matter and portrayal of the last day of Christ’s life. Evidently, such issues were not crippling factors as the film went on to become the highest grossing non-English speaking film of all time, as it was filmed entirely in Christ's native tongue of Aramaic.
Despite the film’s notoriety and success, Caviezel recently spoke out against the effects the film and his lead role has had on his career, seven years after its release. In an interview with Scott Ross, Caviezel states that director Mel Gibson had initially warned him that the film could end his career as a Hollywood leading man, but accepted the role in light of his own religious beliefs.
Caviezel added "I told him, 'Mel...We all have a cross to carry. I have to carry my own cross. If we don't carry our crosses, we are going to be crushed under the weight of it.'"
Caviezel also pointed out the eerie coincidences that led him to accept the role at 33 years old, as his initials were J.C. and he was the same age Jesus was at the time of his crucifixion.
A lot of the criticism the film garnered revolved around the portrayal of Jews as being principally responsible for Christ's death. Caviezel responded to the accusations saying "we are all culpable in the death of Christ. My sins, your sins put Him on that cross. I want my Jewish brothers to see this film. I want people in my own faith who think it's anti-Semitic to see this film."
Though Caviezel praises the film for its portrayal of the last moments in Christ's life, he admits that it has hindered his career in many respects. Despite the negative effects, he asserts that he would do it again if given the chance: "This is what I feel. I believe I was called to play this role...I'm still an actor. I'll always be one, whether I get another job or not."