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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

More on The Passion

New York Post: February 17, 2004 --

WHEN actor Jim Caviezel was called in for the audition, he was told it was for a surfing movie. "Then Mel Gibson walked into the room and started talking to me about the Gospels," recalls Caviezel.

"I said to him, 'You want me to play Jesus?' and he said, 'You've got it.' "

Caviezel leapt at the chance to work with the Oscar-winning director, but in filming the controversial "The Passion of the Christ," which hits screens next week, the actor got more than he bargained for.

During the shooting of the film, which depicts the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus, as he's beaten, tortured and crucified, the 35-year-old actor dislocated his shoulder, battled hypothermia, suffered a lung infection and pneumonia, endured eight-hour makeup sessions that left him with severe headaches and skin infections - and was struck by lightning . . .

"We were preparing to shoot the Sermon on the Mount and three seconds before, I was hit by lightning. I knew it was going to happen. People started screaming and they said I had fire on both sides of my head and a light around me. I had locked eyes with people and it was very eerie because they made a weird sound - the kind of sound people made when they saw the jet plane run into the World Trade Center. It was a sickening feeling."
But Caviezel vigorously defends the director. . . He insists the anti-Semitic charges leveled against Gibson are unjustified.

"The sad thing about it all is that I'm the most Semitic-looking Jesus in history - Mel didn't want a blue-eyed, blonde Aryan Christ on the cross," he says.

"The gal that plays Mary [actress Maia Morgenstern] is Jewish and her parents were in the Holocaust. Talk to her. There are Romanian and Jewish actors in this film who say unequivocally that this film is not anti-Semitic."

Romanian actress Morgenstern recently rejected the notion that the film would fuel anti-Semitism, telling the AP: "Mel Gibson is an artist, a director. He never imposed his religious convictions on anyone."

Despite the furor - which he says Gibson warned him may end his career - Caviezel says he has no regrets about taking the role.
Check this out, too. Roger Friedman at Fox News says that the pattern of theatres where the movie will be released "highlights black neighborhoods and poor neighborhoods" and "seems designed to keep "The Passion of Christ" out of neighborhoods that are considered Jewish, upscale or liberal."

Maybe it won't come to Boulder. Yeah, right. And maybe if I close my eyes, no one can see me.