It’s been 14 years since Jim Caviezel played the role of Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ.”
The actor, who previously starred in the 1998 war movie “The Thin Red Line,” said he did not know then how Mel Gibson’s 2004 film would break him, how it would infect him.
He advised Religion News Service he did not understand “it was definitely going to be my path.”
But now that path has led him back to a story straight from the Scriptures, playing with Luke, among Christianity’s four evangelists, at the new movie “Paul, Apostle of Christ.”
Box Office Mojo.
It’s among several movies aimed at Christian audiences publishing about Sunday’s Easter vacation (April 1). “I Can Only Imagine,” the story behind the popular Christian song of the identical title, finished third for the second straight week in the box office, and “Mary Magdalene,” about among Jesus’ most prominent female celebrities, releases this weekend (March 30).
As the apostle is getting something of a minute with several new books published about him in the previous few 28, the movie about Paul comes. They include “Paul: A Biography” by N.T. Wright along with “Paul: A Apostle’s Journey” by Douglas A. Campbell, both released earlier this season, and also “Reading Paul together with all the Reformers: Reconciling Old and New Perspectives” by Stephen J. Chester and also “Paul and Sex: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for both Men and Women in Christ” by Cynthia Long Westfall, both realized in Christianity Today’s 2018 Book Awards.
“I don’t know if it’s Providence that is directing us to shun the teachings of Paul, however it’s quite a wonderful experience to see it come together,” said Rich Peluso, senior vice president of Affirm Films, a part of Sony Pictures.
Paul resonates, not just because he dominates so much of the New Testament, but because he is a familiar figure in our existing media landscape — the type to convey “`boo’ to each goose and then say ‘boo’ to each of the swans as well, just in case,” according to author and biblical scholar Wright, who said before the movie’s release he hadn’t seen it had been “intrigued.”
That makes Paul and also presented some trouble attracting his story to the monitor, Peluso said. It spans 60 decades and 10,000 kilometers, a experience with feuds, a shipwreck, imprisonments, miracles, Jesus and more.
That’s why filmmakers decided to concentrate on Paul’s last days in prison before his execution, though a TV miniseries is a possibility depending on the success of “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” Peluso said.
In the movie, Luke (Caviezel) meets with Paul (James Faulkner) in prison to record his remarkable transformation and other reflections into what could become the Book of Acts.
Meantime, the church struggles against persecution by the Roman authorities — and to respond to it. “Christ called us to care for the world, not rule,” one personality protests when others talk breaking into the prison to free Paul and overthrow the government.
“At this time in our culture and in our world I believe we really are beginning to doubt this concept of joy and mercy and love and forgiveness, and Paul’s story is such a strong instance of simply the enormity of God’s grace and love, and I think that it’s something which’s so needed at this time,” writer-director Andrew Hyatt said.
Hyatt said he hoped the movie would help viewers see biblical characters like Paul as actual individuals, “not amazing statues with halos in their minds” and novels like Acts and Paul’s letters as “lived experience,” not anything which came from a “preachy, heady space.”
He added he hopes the movie appeals to both Christian and non-Christian crowds — which it’s not too “preachy,” while also respecting the concern several Christians have about Scripture at the hands of Hollywood filmmakers.
“I believe there is a big hesitancy when it comes to Hollywood Bible movies, and I believe there is sort of a nervousness and a fear: ‘Oh, did they really screw it up again? ”’ Hyatt said.
“I just want to promote the audience this is a movie by people (for whom) the story is as important to them as it is to this viewers. We want people to get excited and also be invited.”