The Passion of the Christ
Washington-born actor James Caviezel is best known for portraying Jesus Christ in the box-office smash The Passion of the Christ (2004), for director Mel Gibson. In the late 1990s, he gained critical recognition after playing optimist Private Witt in Terrence Malick's high profile film The Thin Red Line (1998) and renegade Civil War combatant Black John in Ang Lee's Ride with the Devil (1999). Caviezel also dotted his resume with such films as The Rock (1996), G.I. Jane (1997), Frequency (2000), Angel Eyes (2001), High Crimes (2002), The Count of Monte Cristo (2004) and Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004). Fans should not miss his performance in the upcoming Simon Brand project (2006)
Off screen, The Passion of the Christ star James Caviezel has strong religious beliefs and is unbending in expressing his Roman Catholic faith. On March 19, 2005, he became the spokesperson for the first Catholic Men's Conference in Boston. He is also the main speaker for the conservative and Christian counterpart of “Rock the Vote,” “Redeem the Vote.” Additionally, the Irish descendant Caviezel is a part of the Sigma Chi Fraternity and is also a Minnesota Vikings enthusiast. He prays with a Rosary daily and has a strong faith in the Blessed Virgin Mary. As for his private life, Caviezel, who shares the same birthday with actress Julie London and actor Kent McCord, tied the knot with devoted Roman Catholic Kerri Caviezel (teacher) in 1997 and is the father of their adopted son Bo.
Childhood and Family:
In Mount Vernon, Washington, James Patrick Caviezel was born on September 26, 1968, to Jim and Maggie Caviezel. Along with his sisters Ann, Amy, and Erin, and his brother Tim, James was raised in a Catholic family.
Aside from religion, James developed an early interest in sports. He was an excelled basketball player and wanted to play in the NBA. At age 16, he enrolled at Mount Vernon High School, but two years later moved to O'Dea High School in Seattle. He transferred again, however, to Burien Kennedy High School, where he actively participated in the basketball team until he graduated in 1987. James went on to play basketball while studying at Bellevue Community College, but during his sophomore year he was forced to abandon his dreams of a professional career because of a foot injury. James then turned his attention to acting.
29-year-old James married English teacher and accomplished flutist Kerri Browitt in 1997. He first met Kerri on a blind date four years before. James and his wife adopted 3-year-old Chinese-born Bo and are both active in charity programs in their rural community in the Conejo Valley in California.
The Thin Red Line
With hopes of becoming a basketball player for the NBA, James Caviezel (sometimes credited as Jim Caviezel) had to change his career choice after suffering a foot injury. James began acting on stage and appeared in several Seattle Productions, including "The Matchmaker" and "Come Blow Your Horn." Declining the offer to study at Juilliard, Caviezel opted to fully focus on his acting career and landed his first screen role as a foreign airline clerk in the independent movie My Own Private Idaho (1991, directed by Gus Van Sant). Following his debut, he flew to Los Angeles in 1992 to read for more roles in television and films.
A series of small parts knocked on Caviezel’s door in his early career. He guest starred in an episode of the ABC sitcom "The Wonder Years" (1992), appeared as one of the ten boxers in Michael Ritchie's Diggstown (1992), played the supporting role of Kevin Costner's youngest brother Warren in Lawrence Kasdan's disappointing Wyatt Earp (1994), was featured in the made-for-television Children of the Dust (1995) and landed a larger role in the box-office bomb Ed (1996). In subsequent years, Caviezel had the opportunity to team with Hollywood noted directors in big movies like Michael Bay's The Rock (1996) and Ridley Scott's G.I. Jane (1997, starring Demi Moore), but these didn’t help boost his career.
Almost dropping out of acting, Caviezel eventually had his breakthrough role in Terrence Malick's Oscar-nominated The Thin Red Line (1998), joining the ensemble cast of Ben Chaplin, Sean Penn, George Clooney and Nick Nolte. Delivering a good performance as idealist Private Witt, Caviezel won praise and positive reviews from film critics. In the following year, he gained extra credits with his impressive performance as defector Civil War soldier Black John in Ang Lee's Western Ride with the Devil (1999).
With his acclaimed performances under his belt, Caviezel’s career began to take off. He won the starring role of John Sullivan, the son of a long-dead man (Dennis Quaid) with whom he can talk with over a ham radio, in the supernatural thriller Frequency (2000), found himself acting with Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt in Mimi Leder's Pay It Forward (2000), starred as boating fan Jim McCormick in William Bindley’s Madison (2001) and played the leading man, opposite Jennifer Lopez, in Angel Eyes (2001). His portrayal as Lopez’ sweetheart in the romantic drama helped give the actor a reputation as a leading male and a versatile actor. Unfortunately, the film was a blockbuster flop.
In the following year, he tried to attract audiences by taking the title character in the period adventure The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), but his performance failed to earn positive reviews. Caviezel then portrayed a mysterious ex-Marine, Tom Kubik/Ron Chapman, along side Ashley Jude and Morgan Freeman, in High Crimes (2002), where he also began to make his strong Catholic beliefs known by rejecting to do any loves scenes. He then starred in Robert Harmon action-thriller Highwaymen (2003) and had a bit part in Paul Feig drama I Am David (2003).
After completing The Final Cut (2004), Caviezel’s big breakthrough arrived when Mel Gibson cast him as Jesus Christ in the controversial film The Passion of the Christ (2004). The film was a huge hit and became one of the highest grossing movies of all-time. As a result, Caviezel became a household name and was put on the Hollywood A-List.
In 2004, James also portrayed the golf icon Bobby Jones, who withdrew from competition at the age of 28, in Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004) and starred as Ethan Allen in David L. Cunningham’s Rebels (2004). Caviezel is set to play a role opposite Wilmer Calderon, Kevin Chapman and Clayne Crawford in director Simon Brand’s upcoming 2006 project.