Caviezel in 2013
James Patrick Caviezel
September 26, 1968
Mount Vernon, Washington, U.S.
Kerri Browitt (m. 1996)
James Patrick Caviezel (; born September 26, 1968) is an American actor. Caviezel is known for his portrayal of Jesus Christ in the film The Passion of the Christ (2004) and for his starring role as John Reese on the CBS science-fiction crime drama series Person of Interest (2011-2016).
Caviezel's other notable roles include Dexter in Children of the Dust (1995); "Slov" Slovnik in G.I. Jane (1997); Private Witt in The Thin Red Line (1998); Black John in Ride with the Devil (1999); Detective John Sullivan in Frequency (2000); Jerry in Pay It Forward (2000); Tom Kubik in High Crimes (2002); Catch in Angel Eyes (2001); Johannes in I Am David (2003); Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo (2002); Carroll Oerstadt in Déjà Vu (2006); Willard Hobbes in Escape Plan (2013); Bob Ladouceur in When the Game Stands Tall (2014); Jimmy Bierce in The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017) and Luke in Paul, Apostle of Christ (2018).
Caviezel was born in Mount Vernon, Washington, the son of Margaret (née Lavery), a former stage actress and homemaker, and James Caviezel, a chiropractor. He has a younger brother, Timothy, and three sisters, Ann, Amy, and Erin. He was raised in a tightly knit Catholic family in Conway, Washington. His surname is Romansh. His father is of Slovak and Swiss descent, while his mother is Irish. His father attended UCLA and played basketball for coach John Wooden, prompting all the Caviezel siblings to play the sport.
Caviezel attended Mount Vernon High School for two years before moving to Seattle, Washington, where he lived with family friends in order to play basketball at O'Dea High School, a Catholic, all-boys high school. The following spring, he transferred from O'Dea to another Catholic school, John F. Kennedy Memorial High School in Burien, Washington, where he played basketball and graduated in 1987. He wanted to attend the United States Naval Academy but was denied three times. He then enrolled at Bellevue College, where he played college basketball. A foot injury in his second year put an end to his dream of becoming an NBA player, and he transferred to the University of Washington, where he turned his focus to acting and became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
Caviezel began acting in plays in Seattle. He earned his Screen Actors Guild card with a minor role in the 1991 film My Own Private Idaho. He then moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting. When he decided to move, "people thought I was out of my mind," he said. He was offered a scholarship to study acting at New York's Juilliard School in 1993, but he turned it down to portray Warren Earp in the 1994 film Wyatt Earp. He later appeared in episodes of Murder, She Wrote and The Wonder Years. After appearing in G.I. Jane (1997), he had a breakthrough performance in the 1998 Terrence Malick-directed World War II film The Thin Red Line. He played Black John, a Missouri bushwhacker, in Ride with the Devil (1999), an American Civil War film.
Caviezel was originally cast to play Scott Summers / Cyclops in X-Men (2000), but dropped out because of a scheduling conflict with the film Frequency (2000). He starred in the mainstream films Pay It Forward (2000), The Count of Monte Cristo (2002), and Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (2004). In 2000, he played the lead role in Madison, a film about hydroplane racing in Madison, Indiana. The film was completed in 2001, but did not appear in theaters until a limited release in 2005. In 2002, he played a pivotal role in the film I Am David.
Caviezel portrayed Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson's 2004 film The Passion of the Christ. During filming, he was struck by lightning, accidentally scourged, had his shoulder dislocated, and suffered from pneumonia and hypothermia. Prior to filming, Gibson reportedly warned Caviezel that playing Jesus would hurt his acting career. In 2011, he admitted that good roles had been hard to come by since, but stated that this movie, in particular the role of Jesus Christ, was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
He had leading roles in the 2006 films Unknown and Déjà Vu. He played Kainan in Outlander (2008) and provided the voice of Jesus on the 2007 New Testament audio dramatization The Word of Promise. In 2008, he starred in Long Weekend.
In 2009, Caviezel played French-Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam in The Stoning of Soraya M., a drama set in 1986 Iran about the execution of a young mother. When asked about how his Catholic faith was affected by this story, he said, "you don't have to go any further than the gospels to figure out what the right thing to do is, whether you should be more concerned helping someone regardless of their religion or where they're from". That same year, he reprised the role of Jesus in the latest installment of The Word of Promise. Caviezel starred in The Prisoner, a remake of the British science fiction series The Prisoner, in November 2009.
From 2011 to 2016, Caviezel starred in the CBS drama series Person of Interest as John Reese, a former CIA agent who now works for a mysterious billionaire as a vigilante. The show received the highest ratings in 15 years for a series pilot and consistently garnered over 10 million weekly viewers. Caviezel was nominated for the People's Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic TV Actor in 2014 and again in 2016 for his work on Person of Interest.
Caviezel starred in the 2014 football film When the Game Stands Tall as De La Salle High School coach Bob Ladouceur, whose Concord, California Spartans prep team had a 151-game winning streak from 1992 to 2003, an American sporting record. He appeared in the 2013 film Escape Plan, playing a warden who maintains order in the world's most secret and secure prison.
Caviezel narrated the 2016 documentary Liberating a Continent: John Paul II and the Fall of Communism, stating that "A single Polish crushed the communism. ... With love" in an interview. He portrayed the Apostle Luke in the film Paul, Apostle of Christ, which opened in theaters on March 23, 2018. It was announced in January 2018 that Caviezel would reprise his role as Jesus Christ in the Passion of the Christ sequel, The Resurrection of the Christ, once again directed by Gibson. Caviezel has signed on to portray Tim Ballard, a former special agent for the Department of Homeland Security, in the movie The Sound of Freedom. The movie tells the story of the organization Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.) and its mission to save children from sex trafficking and slavery. Caviezel states, "This is the second most important film I have ever done since 'The Passion of the Christ'.... "It's going to affect the saving of a lot of children and the changing of lives. It will also bring a lot of light into the darkness."
In 1996, Caviezel married Kerri Browitt, a high school English teacher. They have adopted three children from China who had cancer. They are both devout Catholics who oppose abortion. Caviezel has been a featured public speaker at religious venues since the release of The Passion of the Christ. On March 19, 2005, he was the spokesman for the first Catholic Men's Conference in Boston. Caviezel's wife is the sister-in-law of former St. Louis Rams head coach Scott Linehan. She and Linehan's wife, Kristen, are sisters.
On October 24, 2006, Caviezel was featured with Patricia Heaton, Kurt Warner, and Mike Sweeney in an advertisement opposing Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2, which allowed any form of embryonic stem cell research and therapy in Missouri that is otherwise legal under federal law. He began the advertisement by saying, "Le-bar nash be-neshak" (Aramaic for "You betray the Son of Man with a kiss"), a reference to Judas' betrayal of Jesus Christ and a phrase used in the Greek version of the Gospel of Luke. (The line did not include a translation into English.) Caviezel closed the commercial with the line, "You know now. Don't do it. Vote no on 2." The advertisement was a response to a commercial featuring Michael J. Fox, who favored embryonic stem cell research.
Out of respect for his wife, Caviezel requested that he wear a shirt and that Jennifer Lopez wear a top during a love scene in the film Angel Eyes, and he refused to strip in a love scene with Ashley Judd in High Crimes. He said, "I do love scenes--but not ones with gratuitous sex. . . . And it's not just about my wife, although that's important. It's sin, pure and simple. I mean, it's wrong. . . . It's awkward."
|Denotes films that have not yet been released|
|1991||My Own Private Idaho||Airline Clerk|
|1994||Wyatt Earp||Warren Earp|
|1996||The Rock||FA-18 Pilot|
|1997||G.I. Jane||"Slov" Slovnik|
|1998||The Thin Red Line||Private Witt|
|1999||Ride with the Devil||Black John|
|2000||Pay It Forward||Jerry|
|2002||The Count of Monte Cristo||Edmond Dantès|
|2002||High Crimes||Tom Kubik|
|2003||Highwaymen||James "Rennie" Cray|
|2003||I Am David||Johannes||CAMIE Award|
|2004||The Passion of the Christ||Jesus Christ||MovieGuide Grace Award|
|2004||The Final Cut||Fletcher|
|2004||Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius||Bobby Jones|
|2006||Déjà Vu||Carroll Oerstadt|
|2008||The Stoning of Soraya M.||Freidoune|
|2013||Escape Plan||Willard Hobbes|
|2014||When the Game Stands Tall||Bob Ladouceur|
|2017||The Ballad of Lefty Brown||Jimmy Bierce|
|2017||Jo, Medicine Runner||Reyes|
|2018||Paul, Apostle of Christ||Luke|
|2018||Onyx, Kings of the Grail||Narrator|
|2018||Running for Grace||Doctor Reyes|
|2020||The Sound of Freedom||Timothy Ballard||Completed|
|2021||The Resurrection of the Christ||Jesus Christ||In production|
|1992||The Wonder Years||Bobby Riddle||Episode: "Hero"|
|1995||Murder, She Wrote||Darryl Harding||Episode "Film Flam"|
|1995||Children of the Dust||Dexter||Miniseries|
|2009||The Prisoner||Michael / Six||Miniseries|
|2011-2016||Person of Interest||John Reese||103 episodes|
Nominated - People's Choice Award for Favorite TV Dramatic Actor (2014, 2015)
One of five children, he grew up as part of a devout Roman Catholic family.