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Any discussion of actor Jim Caviezel would likely reference his sensitive portrayal of Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson's controversial "The Passion of the Christ" (2004), though the actor's resume included dozens of other memorable dramatic performances in blockbusters and indie films alike. From his earliest supporting roles in films like Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line" (1998), Caviezel was often cast as brooding, deeply pained men like the mourning firefighter who communicates with his dead father in "Frequency" (2000) or the vengeful military reject in "Déjà vu" (2006). With his compelling screen presence and dashing, vintage Hollywood looks, he carried off a successful remake of "The Count of Monte Cristo" (2002), likewise making an excellent showing in the remake of the television series "The Prisoner" (AMC, 2009- ), which showcased the actor's forte for playing introspective but imperiled protagonists.
Born Sept. 26, 1968, Caviezel spent his formative years in the Pacific Northwest where he hoped to one day play basketball at the University of Washington. While working towards that goal with a spot on the basketball team at Bellevue Community College, Caviezel's professional sports dreams ended with a sidelining injury. His interests soon drifted elsewhere, including "discovering" the school's acting program. He went on to appear in Seattle-area stage productions and transferred to the theater program at the University of Washington before landing his first film role as an airline clerk in Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho" (1991).
Moving to Los Angeles, he found acting work on stage, in guest spots on television series, and with a sizable role as Warren Earp in Lawrence Kasdan's "Wyatt Earp" (1994). Caviezel was a teammate of Matt Le Blanc's in the dreadful "Ed" (1996) before appearing as a recruit training for the Navy SEALs alongside Demi Moore's "G.I. Jane" (1997). The actor's profile and stock in Hollywood rose significantly with his next two projects, Ang Lee's Civil War epic "Ride with the Devil" (1999) and Terrence Malick's WWII ensemble drama "The Thin Red Line" (1998). The latter earned Caviezel the title of Most Promising Actor from the Chicago Critic's Association for his role as a philosophically minded soldier.
Caviezel got his breakout role when he was cast in the novel, engaging thriller "Frequency" (2000), playing a New York City firefighter who can communicate via short-wave radio with his long-dead father (Dennis Quaid), prompting him to try to prevent his father's tragic death in a warehouse fire. After that intense and emotional performance, he was also effective as the homeless man Hayley Joel Osment takes into his mother's home in the otherwise preachy "Pay It Forward" (2000). Caviezel's next turn was opposite Jennifer Lopez in the noir-ish thriller "Angel Eyes" (2001), as a mysterious, melancholy amnesiac drawn to a streetwise police officer (Lopez).
In a more swashbuckling mode, the dashing actor took on the role of Alexander Dumas' hero Edmond Dantes who, after being falsely imprisoned, escapes to extract his revenge in the guise of "The Count of Monte Cristo" in the 2002 remake of the familiar tale. After this string of haunted and tormented heroes, Caviezel assumed a supporting role playing Ashley Judd's identity-switching husband who is charged with murder in the thriller "High Crimes" (2002). The challenging role was followed by another lesser-seen performance as a man who embarks on a high-octane cat-and-mouse game to avenge the death of his wife in "Highwaymen" (2003).
Caviezel found himself at the center of one of the most talked-about films of the year in 2004 when he took on the role of Jesus Christ in director Mel Gibson's much-debated, much-ridiculed "The Passion of the Christ." While the film sparked much heated speculation and discussion regarding Gibson's intended agenda, it became an unexpected box office phenomenon as curious filmgoers of all religious backgrounds turned out to sample its brutal, hyper-realistic, yet compelling look at the torturous savagery of Christ's crucifixion. Caviezel was well-cast for the sensitive role; one part hero and one part victim, providing an anchor for the audience and providing Christ with a human face that earned the audience's empathy. After surviving the "Passion" controversy, Caviezel went on to portray another mythic character in "Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius" (2004), where he offered a rather uncompelling performance as enigmatic golfer Bobby Jones, the only player ever to win the Grand Slam, as well as the U.S., British, and Amateur Opens.
In another limited release, Caviezel played one of a group of hostages trying to piece together the events that led to their kidnapping in the ensemble "Unknown" (2005) before he was cast as a dangerous and unbalanced criminal in "Déjà vu" (2006), Tony Scott's non-linear terrorism thriller starring a heroic Denzel Washington. He went on to portray real-life French journalist Freidoune Sahebjam in "The Stoning of Soraya M." (2008), an adaptation of Sahebjam's book about a victim of the cruel practice of "stoning" accused criminals to death. The chilling film was well-received on the festival circuit and Caviezel returned to the multiplex in the entertaining sci-fi offering "Outlander" (2009), which did well with audiences, despite that its broadly painted characters did not offer the actor much opportunity to showcase his strengths.
The same could not be said about Caviezel's entry into series television in 2009, when he was cast as the lead in American Movie Classics revival of the 1960s drama "The Prisoner" (AMC, 2009- ). With its blend of psychological drama and mystery, the show was a perfect outlet for the actor's brooding intensity and he was well received in the title role of a former government agent held hostage in a mysterious village.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made film debut as an airline clerk in Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho"
First TV role was on an episode of the ABC sitcom "The Wonder Years"
Appeared as Warren Earp in Lawrence Kasdan's biopic "Wyatt Earp"
Had featured role in the CBS miniseries "Children of the Dust"
Appeared alongside Demi Moore in "G.I. Jane"
Continued with the military as part of the ensemble of Terrence Malick's "The Thin Red Line"
Appeared in Ang Lee's Civil War drama "Ride With the Devil"
Co-starred with Dennis Quaid in "Frequency"
Played a homeless junkie in "Pay It Forward"
Played leading male role opposite Jennifer Lopez in "Angel Eyes"
Played a boating enthusiast who gets a chance to compete in a race in "Madison" (released theatrically in 2002)
Had title role in the remake of "The Count of Monte Cristo"
Played a career military officer who is accused of war crimes and is defend by his wife (played by Ashley Judd) in "High Crimes"
Portrayed Jesus Christ in the controversial film "The Passion of the Christ," directed and produced by Mel Gibson
Starred as golf legend Bobby Jones, the icon who retired from competition at the tender age of 28, in "Bobby Jones, Stroke of Genius"
Played a terrorist in Tony Scott's "Deja Vu"
Co-starred with Shohreh Aghdashloo in "The Stoning of Soraya M."
Starred on AMC's remake of cult favorite "The Prisoner"
Played a former CIA agent who teams up with an eccentric billionaire (Michael Emerson) on the CBS mystery drama "Person of Interest"
Cast as the apostle Luke in "Paul, Apostle of Christ"
Appeared in "Running for Grace"