It’s been 14 years since Jim Caviezel performed the function of Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ.”

The actor, who beforehand starred within the 1998 struggle movie “The Thin Red Line,” mentioned he didn’t know then how Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie would break him, how it will hang-out him.

He informed Religion News Service he didn’t know “it was going to be my path.”

But now that path has led him again to a narrative straight from the Scriptures, taking part in Luke, considered one of Christianity’s 4 evangelists, within the new movie “Paul, Apostle of Christ.”

So did the movie’s message of forgiveness and what Caviezel calls “ardent love.”

“It’s a very arduous task to treat someone with polar opposite views with the same dignity and respect that you would treat a friend. That is the core message of the film, and it’s what makes this film,” he mentioned.

“Even though it was a couple thousand years ago, it’s very relevant today.”



Luke (Jim Caviezel) enters Rome in secret to discover Paul in “Paul, Apostle of Christ.” (Credit: Photo by Mark Cassar, courtesy of CTMG by way of RNS.)

“Paul, Apostle of Christ” opened within the prime 10 on the field workplace final weekend, in accordance to Box Office Mojo.

It’s considered one of a number of motion pictures aimed toward Christian audiences releasing round Sunday’s Easter vacation (April 1). “I Can Only Imagine,” the story behind the favored Christian tune of the identical identify, completed third for the second straight week on the field workplace, and “Mary Magdalene,” about considered one of Jesus’ most outstanding feminine followers, releases this weekend (March 30).

The movie about Paul comes because the apostle is having one thing of a second with various new books printed about him previously few years. They embody “Paul: A Biography” by N.T. Wright and “Paul: An Apostle’s Journey” by Douglas A. Campbell, each launched earlier this yr, and “Reading Paul with the Reformers: Reconciling Old and New Perspectives” by Stephen J. Chester and “Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ” by Cynthia Long Westfall, each acknowledged in Christianity Today’s 2018 Book Awards.

I don’t know if it’s Providence that is directing us to refocus on the teachings of Paul, however it’s fairly an exquisite expertise to see all of it come collectively,” mentioned Rich Peluso, senior vice chairman of Affirm Films, a part of Sony Pictures.

Paul resonates, not solely as a result of he dominates a lot of the New Testament, however as a result of he’s a well-known determine in our present media panorama — the kind to say “‘boo’ to every goose and then say ‘boo’ to all the swans as well, just in case,” in accordance to creator and biblical scholar Wright, who mentioned earlier than the movie’s launch he hadn’t seen it however was “intrigued.”

That makes Paul in contrast to a lot of historical past’s nice thinkers — and additionally offered some problem bringing his story to the display, Peluso mentioned. It spans 60 years and 10,000 miles, a blinding encounter with Jesus, a shipwreck, imprisonments, miracles, feuds and extra.

That’s why filmmakers determined to deal with Paul’s final days in jail earlier than his execution, although a TV miniseries is a chance relying on the success of “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” Peluso mentioned.

In the movie, Luke (Caviezel) meets with Paul (James Faulkner) in jail to file his dramatic conversion and different reflections into what would turn into the Book of Acts.

Meantime, the early church struggles in opposition to persecution by the Roman authorities — and how to reply to it. “Christ called us to care for the world, not rule it,” one character protests when others talk about breaking into the jail to free Paul and overthrow the federal government.

“At this moment in our culture and in our world I think we really are starting to doubt this idea of grace and mercy and forgiveness and love, and Paul’s story is such a strong example of just the enormity of God’s grace and love, and I think it’s something that’s so needed right now,” writer-director Andrew Hyatt mentioned.

Hyatt mentioned he hoped the movie would assist viewers see biblical figures like Paul as actual folks, “not beautiful statues with halos on their heads” and books like Acts and Paul’s letters as “lived experience,” not one thing that got here from a “preachy, heady space.”

He added that he hopes the movie appeals to each Christian and non-Christian audiences — that it’s not too “preachy,” whereas additionally respecting the priority some Christians have about Scripture within the arms of Hollywood filmmakers.

“I think there’s a big hesitancy when it comes to Hollywood Bible movies, and I think there’s kind of a nervousness and a fear: ‘Oh no, did they screw it up again?’” Hyatt mentioned.

“I just want to encourage the audience this is a film by people (for whom) the story is as important to them as it is to the audience. We want people to get excited and be encouraged.”


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