By Michael Ireland, Chief Correspondent for ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net)
NASHVILLE, TN (ANS – March 11, 2018) — A nationwide church initiative launched Sunday, March 4, 2018, when churches and organizations throughout the United States and Canada hosted an interview and panel discussion recorded live at Liberty University, featuring Jim Caviezel—star of the anticipated film PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST.
Caviezel, who also portrayed Jesus in Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” fielded questions about the making of the movie that vividly brings to life Paul’s final days and the life-or-death struggle of the early church.
Caviezel was joined by some of the nation’s foremost biblical scholars and theologians discussing the life and writings of Paul. Details of the panel were announced through simulcast partner in:ciite Events at the website: www.inciiteevents.com.
Caviezel, who portrays the physician and evangelist Luke, talked with Liberty’s Vice President of Spiritual Development, David Nasser, on campus on Feb. 28, before an audience of 13,000 students. The event was recorded live and available for churches and organizations to host on successive Sundays March 4, 11, 18 and 25 to an expected audience of over 200,000. Churches and organizations can register now to host this event at www.PaulMovie.com/simulcast.
Viewers get a sneak peek at an exclusive clip from the film and a look at the film’s official trailer, as well as featurettes, which include Caviezel’s comments on the 30-day shoot on the island of Malta. Following the Q&A and trailer, Nasser leads a panel discussion on the birth of the Christian church, what life was like in Rome for persecuted believers and Paul’s conversion from persecutor of the church to its greatest proponent.
PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST stars Caviezel (THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST), James Faulkner (Downton Abbey), Olivier Martinez (S.W.A.T.), Joanne Whalley (A.D. The Bible Continues) and John Lynch (THE SECRET GARDEN).
Synopsis of the new movie
PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST is the story of two men: Luke, as a friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into the city of Rome to visit Paul, who is held captive in Nero’s darkest, bleakest prison cell. But Nero is determined to rid Rome of Christians and does not flinch from executing them in the grisliest ways possible. Before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church.
Bound in chains, Paul’s struggle is internal. He has survived so much—floggings, shipwreck, starvation, stoning, hunger and thirst, cold and exposure—yet as he waits for his appointment with death, he is haunted by the shadows of his past misdeeds. Alone in the dark, he wonders if he has been forgotten . . . and if he has the strength to finish well.
The two men struggle against a determined emperor and the frailties of the human spirit in order to live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ and spread their message to the world.
AFFIRM Films, a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company, in association with Giving Films, presents an ODB Films production in association with Mandalay Pictures. PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST is produced by T.J. Berden (FULL OF GRACE) and David Zelon (SOUL SURFER). Executive Producers are Eric Groth, Rick Jackson, Harrison Powell and Jim Caviezel.
in:ciite Events is a Nashville-based simulcast events company with a mission of helping build God’s kingdom by creating remarkable experiences through media products and events that are culturally and spiritually relevant. http://www.inciiteevents.com
ODB Films is a Catholic ministry dedicated to fostering an encounter with Christ through artfully made, spiritually rich films. Founded in 2005 with the goal of providing a Christian presence in the social reality and a digital platform to meet teenagers where they are while striving to provide a Christian response in today’s social media. In its first decade, ODB Films produced and distributed more than 200 short films reaching thousands of young people in Catholic churches, dioceses, and other Christian faith communities throughout the world. In 2016, ODB Films produced its first feature film, the award-winning FULL OF GRACE, that is distributed domestically by Cinedigm Corporation and world-wide by Mission Pictures International. www.odbfilms.com
Mandalay Pictures is a motion picture company that finances, produces and distributes motion pictures for the global marketplace. With its strong financial base, the company is known for its ability to assemble premier talent and develop properties that appeal to a global audience. Mandalay is led by an experienced and creative team of individuals with proven track records and the ability to effectively navigate the constantly evolving film marketplace.
Giving Films was established by Richard L. Jackson and Fred Bernstein as an affiliate of Astute Films, LLC to finance and produce movies that spark conversations around faith. All of Giving Films’ profits are donated to charities, with an emphasis on those serving foster care. www.givingfilms.com
AFFIRM Films produces, acquires and markets films that inspire, uplift and entertain audiences around the world. Since releasing its first theatrical film—The Kendrick Brothers’ drama FACING THE GIANTS, in 2007, AFFIRM Films has released numerous quality faith-based films including SOUL SURFER, based on the inspirational true story of surfer Bethany Hamilton; WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL, the sports drama inspired by the story of the De La Salle Spartans; WAR ROOM, which hit No. 1 on the domestic box office chart; RISEN, which followed the epic Biblical story of the Resurrection, as told through the eyes of a non-believer; and was the faith-based marketing partner with Columbia Pictures and TriStar Pictures for their films MIRACLES FRM HEAVEN and the No. 2 faith-based film of all time, HEAVEN IS FOR REAL. AFFIRM Films also released ALL SAINTS in August 2017 and the animated film, THE STAR, in partnership with Sony Pictures Animation and Columbia Pictures, in November 2017. AFFIRM will next release PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST on March 28, 2018. AFFIRM Films is a division of Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (SPWA), a Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) company. www.AFFIRMFilms.com
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., which is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition, and distribution; television production, acquisition, and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. SPE’s Motion Picture Group includes film labels Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, and Sony Pictures Classics. For additional information, visit http://www.sonypictures.com/corp/divisions.html.
Jim Caviezel talks with Peter Wooding of ASSIST News
Peter Wooding, younger son of author, broadcaster and journalist Dan Wooding, who provides video for Global News Alliance and also writes for ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net) recently interviewed Caviezel for ASSIST News.
Wooding asked Caviezel what inspired him to take on this role and how did the Passion of the Christ prepare him for taking on another hugely Biblical role?
Caviezel said: “I didn’t think that I was going to be playing Jesus in The Passion of the Christ when it occurred. I just found it a hard time turning down Mel Gibson and a phenomenal script! It just always came down to the material to me. I think it’s harder in this day and age to make those kinds of films. I think gone are the days of Charlton Heston and making a film that Christians as a whole are going to find fantastic. I think that a lot of times my industry (reacts negatively)…for example in this film, the performances are really strong, but the words are still stronger. I don’t think we need to get in the way of that. It’s always been, as far as the secular society whether it be in the Roman time or in this time now, it’s contrary. But I love the Scripture and the way where it’s very provocative. My industry likes provocativeness in a different way. The greatest — whether it be The Passion of the Christ or this movie — is the message of love which I think is just stellar, man! And I’m lucky that I get to be the guy that gets to do it. I just want to make sure it’s executed properly.”
Responding to what Caviezel hopes will be the impact of the movie, because it deals with the issues of fear and persecution which are very much relevant today, and his desire this film will inspire and encourage people, Caviezel said: “Forgiveness it is the greatest controversy of this film because it’s forgiveness at all costs. It does not mean weakness, it does not mean passivity, but it means forgiving despite the situation that you can look evil in the face without an off glance – straight, straight in the face, and we need that now. It is very easy to love people who think like you think. It is very difficult to treat someone who has polar opposite views with the same dignity and respect that you would treat a friend. That’s the core message of this movie, and that is the reason why I wanted to be a part of it — because it has an edge to it. Especially in these times, when people are talking about civil war, do you have any idea what you’re asking? We need to start listening to each other, and it starts from one side. It starts from – and that’s why it’s very hard to be a Christian – (but) you have to be the one to do it. You’re the one that’s going to be Christ(like). You’re going to have to die to yourself to be able to do that. And I think that once people start listening to each other, that it takes that first person to do that until — when I hear cynical Christians claiming they’re Christian — and they’re using cynical language, be very wary of that. It’s not from Him.”
Wooding asked Caviezel how important is it for young men to have role models in their lives?
“I had three basketball coaches — I had some really bad ones too! And the bad ones were just as helpful because I learned what not to be. I also saw some bad fathers with them, and I also had good parenting from my father. My parents were not perfect — but they continued, as we all do, to try to be better. My role models? I love Charlton Heston. I love a lot of what I saw early on with Kevin Costner when I was around him and how generous he was to me. As far as Mel Gibson as a filmmaker and his work ethic — I take pieces of it, but that doesn’t mean that I’m working with people that are perfect across the board or that are not sinful. I myself occasionally make a sin you know but, umm well if you know you’re Jesus, you know you can’t possibly (well) you know! But I love Jimmy Stewart. And I got to meet him on many occasions; and I knew quite a bit about him. He was a great role model, he was a great American. He served our country very bravely. He flew 26 missions in the Liberator over Germany. I still can’t watch It’s A Wonderful Life without crying every Christmas. That film has great power in it. I think that, for example, the message that without you this world would be a different place. And I think that’s how God speaks to me. And when I talk to young people I say ‘if you thought that from the small town that I came from that I ever thought that I was going to be known as the man who played Jesus, I’d say you got the wrong guy.’ But you know I was asked, I did it, and the same thing with Paul the Apostle of Christ. I just say ‘guys if we’re going to do this movie we’ve got to make something that’s going to last forever. Certainly, my industry media won’t like this film, but if the film has a great power they should really hate it.”
Asked about a follow-up to The Passion, looking at the Resurrection of Christ, Caviezel said: “Yes, I will tell you that, as I said before, it will be the biggest film in history!”
PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST premieres in theaters across North America on Friday, March 23, 2018. Follow PAUL, APOSTLE OF CHRIST on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram at www.PaulMovie.com
Note: ANS would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.
Photo captions: 1) Actor Jim Caviezel (imdb). 2) Caviezel as Luke. 3) Paul, The Apostle movie poster. 4) Journalist Michael Ireland.
**About the Writer: Michael Ireland is a volunteer internet journalist serving as Chief Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as an Ordained Minister, and an award-winning local cable-TV program host/producer who has served with ASSIST Ministries and written for ANS since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. You may follow Michael on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MichaelIrelandMediaMissionary , and on Twitter at @Michael_ASSIST. Please consider helping Michael cover his expenses in bringing news of the Persecuted Church, by logging-on to: https://actintl.givingfuel.com/ireland-michael
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