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Jim Caviezel: Shamelessly Catholic
Catholic Exchange ^ | 03.01.04 | Nadia Pozo

Posted on 03/01/2004 5:01:54 PM PST by el_chupacabra

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by Nadia Pozo


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Jim Caviezel: Shamelessly Catholic

03/01/04


"I have been scourged, crucified, and, oh yes, struck by lightning. I know from whence I speak. That's why I came here to show this remarkable film that speaks for itself," Caviezel told the 1,400 young adults in attendance at the Fellowship of Catholic University Students conference. "I want all of you to have the courage to go out into this pagan world and shamelessly express your Catholic faith in public!"


In This Article...
Unquenchable Fire
Driven into the Arms of God
J. C. Superstar

Unquenchable Fire

Caviezel's keynote address came after conference attendees had seen a private screening of The Passion of The Christ and spent a day hearing renowned Catholic speakers commissioning the young adults to take their place ushering in the new civilization of love.


Caviezel issued a similar challenge as he shared his experiences of making the film and the events that led up to accepting the role of Jesus Christ.

"What was it like to play this role? Unquenchable fire. There was no comfort. There was no peace," the actor said. He explained how he had been whipped twice while filming the scourging scene that took seven weeks to shoot. The lashes left him breathless, in severe, shocking pain, and with a 14-inch welt that would become the model the make-up artist used to create the additional wounds on his body.

"The second strike came with such velocity that I tore the flesh on my hands and wrists, yanking them out of the chains. I tasted two lashes of the whip. Some mystics think Jesus may have endured more than 5,000 blows. This was no mere man."

During the five weeks taken to shoot the crucifixion, he experienced hypothermia from the blood-chilling November winds of Matera, Italy. The actor explained how the winds came up the canyon like "knives" as he hung on the cross, with only a loincloth for protection against the cold. The cross, which stood on the edge of the canyon, swung back and forth with the real possibility of snapping and dropping him into a nine-foot ravine, he said.

To warm him, large heaters were used. Unfortunately, the heaters burned his toes and melted the latex makeup, but if they weren't close enough, the winds just blew the hot air away from him. Caviezel would oftentimes go home and try to sleep in the makeup that otherwise took eight hours to apply. His legs cramped, his limbs convulsed, and the makeup all over his body itched. He inhaled fumes from the heater, he had one eye shut and the other hyper-focused, while the crown of thorns caused him severe migraines, he said. "You know I'm just an actor pretending this is happening to me. It helps you appreciate what Jesus actually did continuously for every one of us."

Driven into the Arms of God

In addition to the pain and the exhaustion, he recalled how waiting on the cross between takes became tedious. To fight the boredom, he listened to music on headphones. One particular song called "Above All" by Michael W. Smith helped him through his most difficult moments.

"It arrived when I was confused and angry. I didn't think I could go on. The song described how Jesus was rejected and alone. That thought took me to a place — it opened an interior door that held me while on the cross," an emotional Caviezel explained. "The experience of feeling rejected and alone as all those around me laughed while drinking their hot coffees, oblivious to what was occurring. Jesus must have felt like this — forsaken, rejected, alone, and despised. It helped me pray in a very deep way — to pray without words, to pray from the heart. The discomfort, the loneliness, the split shoulder, the raw flesh all forced me into the arms of God because I had nowhere else to go for a performance I knew I was unable to create."

Caviezel emphasizes that anything good about his performance was born out of the fasting, the prayers, and the daily Masses.

"As I hung there I thought about all the twists of providence that brought me to that cross." The truth was that Caviezel had been chosen and he knew it had not been a coincidence.


He recounted for the captivated audience how Mary had been guiding him through all the key moments of his career — a career that would lead him to her Son. He gives credit to Mary for landing the most sought-after role in The Thin Red Line, by director Terrence Malick. He remembered arriving at Malick's home for an audition in a state of panic and self-doubt. It was a moment of truth, because he had decided that if he did not get the role, he would quit acting. He could not go on wondering if he would ever work consistently as an actor. "It's 6 p.m. and I'm still in the car," he said. "I need to go in. I believe in my heart the next 10 minutes changed my life forever. I'm an emotional mess and it's 6:05. I'm in the middle of the fourth glorious mystery."

He would go on to finish the rosary and, compelled by a familiar sensation, he took the rosary with him to the meeting. He had first experienced this sensation when, at 19, he felt called to be an actor. "I had a sensation right here in my chest that I was supposed to be an actor. That this was what God had crafted me for. This is what He wanted of me. Reluctantly I went forward." The woman who opened the door for him wore a Miraculous Medal. He assumed she was Catholic and the maid. She was neither. While they were talking, he got the sensation again, stronger then ever.

"I interrupt her and I say, 'This is for you Ma'am.' She is completely startled and she asks, 'Why did you do that?' Tears [are] welling up in her eyes. 'I prayed this morning that God would send me another [rosary] and in walks you.' This woman is now collapsing in tears. I'm holding the rosary between us and in walks the director [who] says, 'Honey, what's wrong?' I realize this isn't the maid! "From that day on, Terrence Malick and I began to have a close relationship that continues today. He would go on to cast me in the first major role of my career. It would be nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Something was going on, but it was still a mystery. Cut to the spring of 2000."

J. C. Superstar

Caviezel was on the set making the acclaimed Count of Monte Cristo.

The actor said it was a very difficult period for him. He wondered if his prayers were being heard. His sign came in the form of an image of the Immaculate Conception.

"While shooting a pivotal scene in the film, when the Count of Monte Cristo must decide if he [will] remain with the love of his life or leave her for his revenge, I'm looking up at the ceiling but in reality there's nothing there."

For inspiration, director Kevin Reynolds decided to have him look at a painting of the Immaculate Conception he found on the ceiling of one of the rooms. "I was in shock. It was a sign for me — a sign that the Lord and His Mother were with me. Through my trials they had been there the whole time leading me by the hand to my vocation. If you saw The Count of Monte Cristo, you know that shot did stay in the film and I'm proud to say that I shared screen time with the Mother of God."

The next thing Caviezel knows is that he is playing Jesus Christ in Gibson's newest movie, a film that no one knew he was making at the time.

Gibson wanted an actor with the initials J.C. who was 33 years of age.

Jim Caviezel fit the description.

"Was it a coincidence? I don't think so. When I was up there on that cross I learned that in His suffering was our redemption. Some of you may feel confused or uncertain about the future. This is not the time to give in. We each must carry our cross. It is time for our generation to accept that call. Young people, tear yourselves apart from this corrupt generation — be saints! Use the gifts given to you by God for good purposes. You can only reach the splendid heights He has reserved for you if you first submit to Him. Conform your will to Him."

Caviezel challenged everyone from university students to priests and bishops to resist the desire for comfort, popularity, and timidity. He challenged leaders to preach the unpopular gospel "in season and out of season." He called all Catholics to recommit to prayer, the rosary, fasting, frequenting confession and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. "Our whole world is entrenched in sin. There in the quiet of our hearts a woman is calling us, each one of us, back to her Son. Jesus is there for us in the Scriptures. How often do we ignore Him? We must shake off this indifference. Only the Faith and the wisdom of the Church can save us, but it requires men and women, warriors ready to risk their good names, even their very lives to stand up for the truth."

In a passionate rendition of Gibson's battle cry from the Oscar-winning "Braveheart," Caviezel challenged Catholics to fight for the freedom that is real — freedom from weakness and from the slavery of sin.

"You, my friends, by God, you must fight with Mary and with Christ as your sword. May you fight with St. Michael and all the angels in defending God, in sending Lucifer and his army straight back to hell where they belong!"


Nadia Pozo is a Staff Writer for the Catholic Standard & Times.

(This article originally appeared in the Catholic Standard & Times, Archdiocese of Philadelphia and is used by permission. Please visit their
Web site.)



TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; General Discusssion; Ministry/Outreach; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: catholic; catholiclist; caviezel; passion
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1 posted on 03/01/2004 5:01:54 PM PST by el_chupacabra
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To: Salvation; NYer
I've got to believe this is a duplicate -- but I searched and found nothing.

I really enjoyed this article. I've seen the movie twice now and was moved beyond my very high expectations.

I pray for many blessings to all those who participated in making this film and hope that it inspires many to learn more about Jesus, His Church and His Mother.
2 posted on 03/01/2004 5:05:03 PM PST by el_chupacabra (I'm glad you were born.)
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To: el_chupacabra
You've got mail!
3 posted on 03/01/2004 5:16:12 PM PST by still lurking
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To: el_chupacabra
This one obviously won't make it into People . . . or even Parade--unless he can get out a story that he's really dying of AIDS or something.
4 posted on 03/01/2004 5:21:50 PM PST by madprof98
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To: el_chupacabra
Very interesting article, although I think the author of the article didn't quite get this part right:

" Gibson wanted an actor with the initials J.C. who was 33 years of age. Jim Caviezel fit the description."

I have heard this story told by both Jim Caviezel and Mel Gibson in different interviews. Just after Jim got the part, he said, "by the way, my intials are J.C. [well, I assume Mel could see that, lol] and I'm 33 years old." Mel reportedly joked, "you're freakin' me out kid" or words to that effect.

When Caviezel was interviewed on the Tonight show, he told Leno how Mel had seen him in the movie, "The Thin Red Line" and it was Jim's performance in that role that prompted Mel to choose him to portray Christ. Mel has been quoted as saying that he saw in Jim both a "childlike innocence" and "other world" quality (I'm paraphrasing). I would imagine that all those things played a part.

5 posted on 03/01/2004 5:29:09 PM PST by formerDem
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To: el_chupacabra
Wow, awesome article, so much to think about, thanks:)
6 posted on 03/01/2004 5:45:38 PM PST by OMalley
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To: el_chupacabra
Another freep-mail!
7 posted on 03/01/2004 6:26:26 PM PST by still lurking
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: el_chupacabra
Wonderful, beautiful article! I'm going to print out a copy for my 17-yr old son. From time to time, they have to bring in articles about their faith to discuss in theology class. Thanks for posting it!
9 posted on 03/01/2004 10:11:45 PM PST by Ohioan from Florida (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.- Edmund Burke)
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To: el_chupacabra
Great article and 1400 young adults.

I noticed quite a few young adults like 16 to 25 who attended a 4 PM Sat. Unheard of time for young people to go to a movie. And the majority were guys.
10 posted on 03/01/2004 10:14:40 PM PST by franky (Pray for the souls of the faithful departed. Pray for our own souls to receive the grace of a happy)
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To: el_chupacabra; *Catholic_list; father_elijah; nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; Siobhan; Lady In Blue; ..
Catholic Discussion Ping!

Please notify me via Freepmail if you would like to be added to or removed from the Catholic Discussion Ping list.

11 posted on 03/01/2004 10:32:43 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: el_chupacabra
Bumpus ad summum
12 posted on 03/01/2004 10:45:08 PM PST by Dajjal
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To: franky
My 17-yr old went with about 10 of his friends, and afterwards my husband and I had the privilege of entertaining them afterwards at our house. It was a wonderful time of discussion! I still haven't seen it yet, but will soon. Have a few other concerns I have to take care of first (sick child). I will get to go when the time is right.
13 posted on 03/01/2004 10:56:58 PM PST by Ohioan from Florida (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.- Edmund Burke)
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To: sandyeggo; NYer; Domestic Church; american colleen; Desdemona; saradippity; Siobhan
**"I want all of you to have the courage to go out into this pagan world and shamelessly express your Catholic faith in public!"**

Fantastic evangelization vehicle.
14 posted on 03/01/2004 11:14:43 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: el_chupacabra
I watched Jim Caviezel on the Tonight Show the other night. He is so funny, handsome and radiates a pure soul. I hope he is not corrupted by worldly success.
15 posted on 03/01/2004 11:23:08 PM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: el_chupacabra
Just sent a copy of this to our youth minister.
16 posted on 03/01/2004 11:29:23 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
I watched him on it, too. He did a hilarious Mel Gibson impression, didn't he? I understood what Mel meant about a certain "childlike innocence". I am going to add these two men to my prayer list. Satan usually likes to get in the way right about now. Hopefully they are being surrounded by angels to protect them.
17 posted on 03/01/2004 11:44:33 PM PST by Ohioan from Florida (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.- Edmund Burke)
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To: Ohioan from Florida
I watched him on it, too. He did a hilarious Mel Gibson impression, didn't he?

I was in love. He's such a cutie ;-)

18 posted on 03/02/2004 12:09:29 AM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
Agreed. You know he's married, and I'll bet his wife is a wonderful gal, too! Rats! LOL.
19 posted on 03/02/2004 12:23:05 AM PST by Ohioan from Florida (The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.- Edmund Burke)
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To: Victoria Delsoul; kstewskis; GirlShortstop; Dr. Scarpetta; MozartLover; Iowa Granny; Miss Marple; ..
Ping!
20 posted on 03/02/2004 4:11:39 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Freedom needs a soldier...)
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To: Canticle_of_Deborah
These guys are on a mission (from God). Great article which I will print out and have my 15 year old read.

I was in love. He's such a cutie ;-)

C O D, all this time I thought you were a guy!!! Honest! (you aren't right??? ;-)

21 posted on 03/02/2004 4:25:21 AM PST by american colleen
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To: el_chupacabra
"I want all of you to have the courage to go out into this pagan world and shamelessly express your Catholic faith in public!"

Hey Jim, over here! My daughters will be eligible for marriage in just ten more years...

22 posted on 03/02/2004 4:48:43 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Northern Yankee
That Rosary story is amazing!
23 posted on 03/02/2004 4:52:40 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: el_chupacabra
YES!!!
24 posted on 03/02/2004 5:01:43 AM PST by Mr. Thorne ("But iron, cold iron, shall be master of them all..." Kipling)
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To: Aquinasfan
Hey! No fair! My daughter is 15!

Actually I saw his wife, Kerri Caviezel, on "On the Rock" about a month ago. She is as beautiful inside as she is beautiful outside. She counsels girls who are considering abortion, says the rosary outside of clinics and speaks at high schools on the abortion subject.

25 posted on 03/02/2004 5:07:11 AM PST by american colleen
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To: Northern Yankee
"I want all of you to have the courage to go out into this pagan world and shamelessly express your Catholic faith in public!"

PAGAN------Another word for DEMOCRAT!

26 posted on 03/02/2004 5:18:59 AM PST by Dr. Scarpetta
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To: Truelove; Servus Suus
BUMP and PING
27 posted on 03/02/2004 5:39:03 AM PST by MudPuppy (Oh My Jesus forgive us our sins and save us from the fires of hell...........)
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To: american colleen
Actually I saw his wife, Kerri Caviezel, on "On the Rock" about a month ago. She is as beautiful inside as she is beautiful outside. She counsels girls who are considering abortion, says the rosary outside of clinics and speaks at high schools on the abortion subject.

There aren't any coincidences, are there? How refreshing to have someone like this doing TV and radio interviews instead of J-Lo.

28 posted on 03/02/2004 5:56:25 AM PST by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Salvation; el_chupacabra; Canticle_of_Deborah; Aquinasfan; Ohioan from Florida
I am happy to say that I had the honour of talking to Jim Caviezel last spring at a party (he and Raymond Arroyo were speaking at our Right-to-Life fundraiser the next day). There is something "other-worldly" and innocent about him. He is the polar opposite from what I expect a successful actor to be - he is extremely humble, pious, intense, wise, and courageous. He asked all of us to pray for him and for Mel and the others who worked on the film; he told us that there would be a lot of difficulty surrounding this film. He begged everyone to pray the Rosary every day. And yes, he is the most attractive person I have ever met (wow!). It was an incredible experience and we are hoping and praying that he will be our keynote speaker this spring.
29 posted on 03/02/2004 6:47:24 AM PST by Joan912 (look for signs...)
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To: Ohioan from Florida
You know he's married,

Yes :-(

My second hope is that no matter how famous he gets he will always treat his wife well.

30 posted on 03/02/2004 11:09:26 AM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: american colleen
C O D, all this time I thought you were a guy!!! Honest! (you aren't right??? ;-)

No??!! My screenname is female! I'm female!!

My name is actually Debbie :-)

31 posted on 03/02/2004 11:12:54 AM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: american colleen
She is as beautiful inside as she is beautiful outside

Figures! Seriously, I'm happy for both of them. Do they have any kids?

32 posted on 03/02/2004 11:14:43 AM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: Joan912
That's wonderful. Maybe he'll bring Mel along this year?
33 posted on 03/02/2004 11:17:36 AM PST by Canticle_of_Deborah
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To: el_chupacabra
Bookmarked! Thank you.
34 posted on 03/02/2004 11:46:38 AM PST by BlueAngel
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To: Salvation
Wow! Thank you for the flag.
35 posted on 03/02/2004 12:04:22 PM PST by Bigg Red (Never again trust Democrats with national security!)
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To: Salvation; All
Salvation, I hope you can help me. I am looking for an article posted yesterday. It was a review of "The Passion" I believe. The author, at the end of the article, asks Mel Gibson not to submit "The Passion" to the academy awards because it is too great for that. It made so much sense. Do you remember such an article? Thanks.
36 posted on 03/02/2004 12:26:16 PM PST by BlueAngel
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To: Salvation
Never mind, I found it. It is "The (Perfect) Passion, Three Reviews and a Letter". It is very good. Thanks.
37 posted on 03/02/2004 12:59:11 PM PST by BlueAngel
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To: BlueAngel
I knew I had read it, but I had no idea what the name of the thread was. Glad you found it.
38 posted on 03/02/2004 3:13:05 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: sneakers
bump!!
39 posted on 03/02/2004 4:05:18 PM PST by sneakers
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To: Aquinasfan
Loved the Rosary story myself.

I gave 4 copies of this out today at school!

40 posted on 03/02/2004 6:11:30 PM PST by Northern Yankee ( Freedom needs a soldier...)
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To: Northern Yankee
Wow, what an amazing story. Thanks for the ping.
41 posted on 03/02/2004 6:47:58 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul (Despite intense and violent criticism against the Passion, the public has spoken at the box office)
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To: Victoria Delsoul
Thought you'd like it.

Just talked to my mom tonight, and she ordered 10 more copies of 100 Questions and Answers on The Passion of the Christ. Have you seen it? (Catholic Exchange website.)

Tremendous book.

I Also have been talking to a colleague at school who has gotten away from the church, and she spent Sunday crying during the Mass she decided to attend.

If nothing else this movie has sure opened up a lot of people to the sacrifice of Jesus.

I am so tickled to be helping out others who may be searching.

BTW... Have you gotten The Passion of the Christ soundtrack? Amazing. Get it if you haven't.

Have a blessed night my friend!

42 posted on 03/02/2004 7:06:37 PM PST by Northern Yankee ( Freedom needs a soldier...)
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To: Northern Yankee
I am so tickled to be helping out others who may be searching.

Wonderful, Jay.

BTW... Have you gotten The Passion of the Christ soundtrack? Amazing. Get it if you haven't.

I haven't. Thanks, it's an excellent idea. Nighty night.

43 posted on 03/02/2004 7:11:17 PM PST by Victoria Delsoul (Despite intense and violent criticism against the Passion, the public has spoken at the box office)
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To: el_chupacabra
You know...I'd love it if either Mr. Caviezel or Mr. Gibson could come to my kids' school and give a talk about their experiences and their faith.

Perhaps I'll write to them and ask. What's the worst that could happen?

Regards,
44 posted on 03/02/2004 7:15:44 PM PST by VermiciousKnid
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To: Northern Yankee
Did you know Mel Gibson sings in some of the vocal parts? Look for his name in the credits.

I got the soundtrack right away and played it in the car on my way home from the movie. Even my daughter liked it (well, she didn't complain, anyway!).

45 posted on 03/02/2004 8:42:43 PM PST by american colleen
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To: formerDem
I saw an interview with Jim Caviezel saying the same thing.

It was on Leno, I think. I remember how well he imitated Gibson's slightly hyper way of talking!
46 posted on 03/03/2004 1:51:28 AM PST by texasflower (in the event of the rapture.......the Bush White House will be unmanned)
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To: Joan912
How nice for you to have met him. I was glad to read your description, because I was hoping he was that type of person.
47 posted on 03/03/2004 1:54:35 AM PST by texasflower (in the event of the rapture.......the Bush White House will be unmanned)
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To: american colleen; kstewskis; Victoria Delsoul; GirlShortstop; lonevoice; Dr. Scarpetta; ...
I noticed that he was listed in the credits. Still trying to find him in the CD. (How do you lose a director in a Compact Disc?) Any idea what track he might be on?

I also believe I heard his voice at one point in the movie. (It may have occured while Jesus was carrying the cross.) I heard the voice, among many, and thought, "Where have I heard that voice before?" It dawned on me a few minutes later that it sounded like Mel's voice.

48 posted on 03/03/2004 4:05:35 AM PST by Northern Yankee ( Freedom needs a soldier...)
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To: el_chupacabra; Northern Yankee; *Catholic_list; father_elijah; nickcarraway; SMEDLEYBUTLER; ...
BTW Jim is Jewish!

Listen to Rush...
(...take a call from Jim Caviezel, Jesus in "The Passion of the Christ")
http://mfile.akamai.com/5020/wma/rushlimb.download.akamai.com/5020/clips/04/02/022704_16_caviezelI.asx

(...wrap up by praising Mr. Caviezel for getting out there on this film)

http://mfile.akamai.com/5020/wma/rushlimb.download.akamai.com/5020/clips/04/02/022704_17_caviezelII.asx
49 posted on 03/03/2004 6:24:46 AM PST by restornu ( "Faith...is daring the soul to go beyond what the eyes refuse to see."J.R.R. Tolkien)
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To: restornu
No, he is not. Where did you get that from? He's half Irish and the rest Swiss and Slovak.
50 posted on 03/03/2004 7:36:29 AM PST by bluebunny
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