Catholic Actor Jim Caviezel Discusses Faith, Fame and His Latest
Film: The Count of Monte Cristo
CINCINNATI—In his relatively short career, 33-year-old actor Jim
Caviezel has worked with some of the finest directors in the business.
He has shared scenes with such high-powered actors as Nick Nolte,
Helen Hunt and Sean Penn. And, opening nationwide on January 25,
Jim’s latest film, The Count of Monte Cristo, costarring
Guy Pearce and Richard Harris, may catapult him to even greater
heights. But every ounce of fame and acclaim pale in comparison
to the top priority in his life: an enduring faith in God.
Jim’s roadway to stardom and his deep-seated faith are featured
in the February cover story of St. Anthony Messenger. Assistant
Editor Christopher Heffron examines the journey of this devout
young actor, who uses his faith as a compass to navigate through
his life and career. The story can also be found, on January 26,
Born in 1968 to a close-knit Catholic family in Mount Vernon,
Washington, Jim dreamed of playing basketball in the NBA. But
a foot injury permanently benched those plans. Armed with a talent
in mimicry and a determination to succeed in acting, Jim packed
his bags and headed for Hollywood in 1992. But significant work
was hard to come by. After years of auditions and bit parts, Jim
finally landed his breakthrough role, as Private Witt in Director
Terrence Malick’s 1997 film The Thin Red Line. Jim won
critical acclaim for his performance, as did the film, which garnered
seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
More noteworthy roles followed, such as Frequency co-starring
Dennis Quaid, Pay It Forward with Helen Hunt and
Haley Joel Osment and Angel Eyes alongside Jennifer Lopez.
When approaching a character, Jim turns to his religious faith
for guidance. “I always come to a place of complete vulnerability…and
prayer becomes a major part of allowing God above to do any kind
of work he wants me to do,” he says.
Jim’s faith would prove essential for his latest role, that of
Edmond Dantes/the Count of Monte Cristo, in Director Kevin Reynolds’s
adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s classic story. Cruelly betrayed
by his friends, Edmond, a pious young sailor, is wrongfully imprisoned
for 13 years. When Edmond escapes his captors and becomes the
Count of Monte Cristo, he
enacts revenge upon those who betrayed him. That fall from faith,
plunge into vengeance and struggle to reestablish a relationship
with God was a challenge for Jim and an evolution that he feels
was guided by a higher power.
“I have no doubt that God’s hand had a part in this film. I feel
there was something divine going on when we were making this,”
he says. Jim Caviezel feels his career has been a calling to serve
as well as to entertain. He’s also quick to give credit to God
for his success. “As an actor, I have to take it upon myself to
serve the people. That will help check your ego at the door. People
say to me ‘Wow, that’s a great film. My response is: ‘Hey—I’ll
give glory to God for that one.’”
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national Catholic magazine can be found by searching AmericanCatholic.org.
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