It’s been seven years since Jim Caviezel starred in The Passion of the Christ. Yet it seems he’s still feeling the sting of the movie’s effect on some moviegoers and industry insiders. Speaking to the First Baptist Church of Orlando in Orlando, Fla., on Saturday, the actor discussed being “rejected in my own industry” after playing Jesus in the controversial film directed by Mel Gibson, which many criticized as anti-Semitic. “[Mel] said, ‘You’ll never work in this town again,’” Caviezel told the audience. “I told him, ‘We all have to embrace our crosses.’” Caviezel, who also told the audience that it was appropriate that “in my 33rd year, I was called to play Jesus,” said the starring role affected his career negatively, but, “We have to give up our names, our reputations, our lives to speak the truth.” (The actor didn’t just address his own controversy – Caviezel touched on Gibson’s troubles post-Passion, which included a 2006 DUI arrest made famous for the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade. “Mel Gibson, he’s a horrible sinner, isn’t he?” Caviezel told the audience. “Mel Gibson doesn’t need your judgment, he needs your prayers.”)
Indeed, Caviezel’s career after Passion did not quite surge the way you’d expect an actor who starred in a $370 million movie’s would.
Since headlining the 2004 movie, the actor’s most notable credit has been 2009’s The Prisoner miniseries. Sadly, even that did not quite live up to its potential and was merely overshadowed by its British predecessor. But it’s hard to forget the role that first put us in Caviezel’s corner before Passion complicated matters: Dennis Quaid’s son in Frequency. Looking back on the 2000 film – which you can’t help but love, no matter how corny – it’s easy to wonder whether or not Passion dissenters are ready to welcome Caviezel back. Whatever intention Gibson had creating the torture-laced film, it’s undeniable that Caviezel is a good actor, and one that probably be given more comeback opportunities than, say, the man with the Beaver himself, Gibson.
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