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James Caviezel

James Patrick Caviezel, Jr. (born September 26, 1968) is an American film actor, sometimes credited as Jim Caviezel. He is perhaps best known for playing the part of Jesus Christ in the 2004 film The Passion of the Christ as well as Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo and Private Witt in The Thin Red Line.


Early life

Caviezel was born in Mount Vernon, Washington, the son of Margaret 'Maggie', a housewife and stage actress, and James Patrick Caviezel, Sr., a chiropractor. He has a younger brother, Timothy, and sisters Ann, Amy, and Erin, and was raised in a tight-knit Roman Catholic family in Conway (Skagit County), Washington. Caviezel's surname is of Romansh origin; his father is of Slovak (maternal) and Swiss (paternal) descent, while his mother's ancestry is Irish. He attended Mount Vernon High School for two years and then moved to Seattle and lived with family friends in order to play basketball at the Catholic O'Dea High School. The following spring, he transferred from O'Dea to another Catholic school, Burien's John F. Kennedy Memorial High. There he starred on the basketball team and graduated in 1987. Following high school, Caviezel enrolled at Bellevue Community College where the 6 ft 3 in athlete also played basketball. A foot injury in his second year, however, put an end to his hopes of a basketball career in the NBA. He later transferred to the University of Washington where he turned his focus to acting and became a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity.


After appearances in Wyatt Earp and G.I. Jane, Caviezel scored a breakthrough performance in Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line. He was originally cast to play Cyclops/Scott Summers in X-Men (2000) but dropped out due to a scheduling conflict with his other film, Frequency.

Caviezel starred in such mainstream Hollywood films as Angel Eyes, Pay It Forward and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). In 2001, he played the lead in Madison, a film that tells the story of the hydro races in Madison, Indiana. Caviezel's character pilots Miss Madison to victory, recounting the 1971 event. The film did not appear in theatres until 2005. In addition, his work in High Crimes (2002) was highly praised by critics.

In 2002, he played a pivotal role in the film I Am David from the Danish novel known by both David and North to Freedom, written by Ann Holm. In 2004, Caviezel portrayed Jesus Christ in the Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ. During filming he was struck by lightning, accidentally whipped, dislocated his shoulder and bruised his eye. After its release, Caviezel was offered the role of spokesman for a fashion line called "Heavenly," which he refused, citing that it would be an insult to people who felt the film had something meaningful to offer.

In 2004, he expressed interest in playing the role of Superman/Clark Kent for 2006's Superman Returns, even mentioning that he would dedicate his performance to Christopher Reeve. Ultimately, he was passed over by director Bryan Singer, who felt that Caviezel was too well known after starring in The Passion of the Christ. The part went to newcomer Brandon Routh instead.

Caviezel plays a lead role in Unknown, an IFC project distributed by the Weinstein Company. Caviezel also has a role in Tony Scott's 2006 action film, Déjà Vu opposite Denzel Washington and Val Kilmer. He plays the lead role, Kainin, in the film, Outlander, which began principal photography in October 2006 in eastern Canada.

Caviezel provides the voice of Jesus on the Thomas Nelson Inc.-produced New Testament audio dramatization The Word of Promise, released in the fall of 2007.

He is currently shooting Long Weekend co-starring Claudia Karvan as directed by Jamie Blanks at Wilson's Promontory, mainland Australia's southern most tip.

Alongside Ian McKellen, Caviezel is due to star in a remake of the British science fiction TV show, The Prisoner, to be released in 2009.

Personal life

Caviezel is a devout Roman Catholic and has been a featured public speaker at religious venues since the release of The Passion. On March 19, 2005 he was the main speaker at the first Catholic Men's Conference in Boston. Caviezel stated that he chose to speak at the conference only because he liked Boston Archbishop, Sean Cardinal O'Malley. His wife Kerri, also a devout Roman Catholic, is a teacher and an accomplished flautist. The two are active in their Conejo Valley, California parish. Kerri supports a charity for single mothers and also volunteers with their church's Detention Ministry at a camp for incarcerated youth in Malibu, California. Officially, at Notre Dame, he is a non-degree student, though Associate Dean Ava Preacher was quoted by the University's newspaper as saying that Caviezel was "working on 'how to proceed'" as a student at Notre Dame.

Caviezel remains a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity, which he joined while a student at the University of Washington and is a Minnesota Vikings fan. In 2007, he and his wife adopted a baby Chinese boy with a brain tumor; the Caviezels have also adopted a second child, a young girl, from the Guangzhou region of China.

Public politics

On October 24, 2006, Caviezel was featured (along with Patricia Heaton, Kurt Warner, and Mike Sweeney) in an advertisement opposing stem-cell research. Caviezel began the advertisement by saying "Le-bar nash be-neshak", Aramaic for "You betray the Son of Man with a kiss," a reference to Judas' betraying Christ and a phrase used in the Greek version of the Gospel of Luke. The line however, did not include a translation into English. Caviezel closed the commercial with the line, "You know now. Don't do it," referring to the voting in favor of the amendment.

The advertisement was a response to a pro-stem cell research commercial featuring Michael J. Fox.

Caviezel donated $2,100 in 2006 to the unsuccessful campaign to re-elect US Senator Rick Santorum.


Year Film Role Director
1991 My Own Private Idaho Airline Clerk Gus Van Sant
1992 Diggstown Billy Hargrove Michael Ritchie
1994 Wyatt Earp Warren Earp Lawrence Kasdan
1996 Ed Dizzy Anderson Bill Couturié
The Rock Rear F/A-18 Pilot Michael Bay
1997 G.I. Jane 'Slov' Slovnik Ridley Scott
1998 The Thin Red Line Private Witt Terrence Malick
1999 Ride with the Devil Black John Ang Lee
2000 Frequency John Sullivan Gregory Hoblit
Pay It Forward Jerry Mimi Leder
Madison Jim McCormick William Bindley
2001 Angel Eyes Steven 'Catch' Lambert Luis Mandoki
2002 The Count of Monte Cristo Edmond Dantes Kevin Reynolds
High Crimes Tom Kubik Carl Franklin
2003 Highwaymen James 'Rennie' Cray Robert Harmon
I Am David Johannes Paul Feig
2004 The Final Cut Fletcher Omar Naimt
The Passion of the Christ Jesus Christ Mel Gibson
Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius Bobby Jones Rowdy Herrington
2006 Unknown Jean Jacket Simon Brand
Déjà Vu Carroll Oerstadt Tony Scott
2008 Outlander Kainan Howard McCain
Long Weekend Peter Jamie Blanks


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