Man on a Mission: Jim Caviezel Focuses on Film, Family and Freedom

Jim Caviezel seated on the steps of Jetset's plane

All Photography Courtesy of Dave Laus

Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seat belts because we’re about to take off on a high-altitude journey through the life of American actor Jim Caviezel. No turbulence here, just a first-class voyage through the career of a man who defies gravity, embodying roles that soar to astonishing emotional heights. From the celestial chorus of angelic voices in “The Passion of the Christ” to the echoes of human dignity in “Sound of Freedom,” Caviezel is the pilot navigating us through cinematic skies that might otherwise go unexplored.

From the basketball court to the limelight, Jim Caviezel’s pivot to acting was no accident. Well, except for the foot injury that thwarted his hoop dreams. Yet, in that very twist of fate, a calling was heard—loud and clear. Inspired by the legendary Jimmy Stewart, Jim discovered a path where he could still perform—just in front of a camera rather than on a court. “I believe God stepped in and instilled the calling to act,” Caviezel said. “I auditioned for Juilliard and got in, but never attended because I booked a job before classes started.”

Now let’s throttle to full as we veer towards an emotional rollercoaster ride courtesy of Alejandro Monteverde’s movie “Sound of Freedom.” Starring Jim Caviezel as real-life American hero Tim Ballard, the film takes on the disturbing subject of global sex trafficking. Released, appropriately enough, on America’s birthday in July 2023, this movie packs a punch, just like the fireworks you’d expect on the Fourth.

Now, let’s rewind. Picture this: the film was done and dusted in 2018 but got lost in the Hollywood shuffle when Disney swallowed up 20th Century Fox like a mouse nibbling cheese. Shelved, but not forgotten, the film was resurrected like a phoenix. The filmmakers reacquired the rights and took the bold move to go with Angel Studios for distribution. Pros? Creative freedom and a direct line to a thirsty audience. Cons? Limited theater presence and initial eyeballs.

As for the film itself, it delivers a gut-wrenching yet inspiring take on Ballard’s quest to rescue children from trafficking. It’s a heartbreaking, pulse-pounding narrative that leaves you questioning, “How is this still a thing in 2023?” Despite its distribution hiccup, the film found its audience, raking in both critical acclaim and some sweet box office numbers.

In a world that too often turns a blind eye to uncomfortable truths, “Sound of Freedom” serves as a blaring wake-up call. It tackles the underbelly of society and makes you want to stand up and do something—anything—to stop this current global menace. Go on, grab your popcorn, but don’t expect to sit back and relax; this is a film that demands your attention and your action.

But let’s not overlook that monumental role that steered Jim’s career towards the stratosphere—playing Jesus in “The Passion of the Christ.” Just like a jet breaking the sound barrier, this role shattered expectations, elevating Jim to an iconic status. The role was transformative, not just for the viewers but for Jim himself, reminding us all that acting can be a celestial calling. The film ignited conversations, broke box-office records, and even stoked the embers of controversy. But why? Because it was more than a movie; it was a mirror reflecting societal ethos and moral questions. And through it all, Caviezel’s performance was not merely acting; it was an act of dedication to a story larger than life.

Jetset asked Caviezel how portraying such an iconic figure as Jesus impacted his personal and professional life. “The Passion” made me pretty recognizable around the world,” Caviezel explained. “And with that notoriety, you end up becoming more protective of your family, your time, and that also colors your future endeavors because you’ve just starred in the most important biography ever . . . how do you top that? I do think some people in the film community had a hard time deciding how to use me after “The Passion.” But fortunately for me, afterwards I was able to make projects like “Déjà Vu” with Tony Scott and Denzel Washington and “Person of Interest” which allowed audiences to remember that prior to “The Passion,” they enjoyed me in “The Count of Monte Cristo” and “The Thin Red Line,” roles that were embraced early in my career.

Jetset asked Caviezel if he could share any memorable experiences or challenges he faced while preparing for a specific role. He described one that turned out to be life changing. “While shooting “The Passion,” not only was I struck by lightning, but I also dislocated my shoulder. So here I am, being hoisted up to hang on the cross. I’ve got to remove the sling and they’re stretching my arms, so I say, ‘Ok God, this is where I need a hug to stay up here because this hurts like crazy!’ He definitely did lift me up because there was no way my shoulder would have held up. I was a true believer before but was a confirmed one after that grueling day.”

Jim Caviezel standing in front of Jetset's plane with his hand over his heart.

Caviezel says that both “The Passion” and “Sound of Freedom” challenged him as an actor. “Both films gave me the chance to play individuals who stood for only good and who were willing to make extreme sacrifices to try to help others, literally rescuing them. It creates a humbling effect to carry the magnitude of these roles and I hope that I might have the courage in my life to make the right decisions, too, when tested.”

Jim Caviezel smokes a Cohiba Cigar.

As we cruise through Caviezel’s storied career, let’s not forget the co-pilot in his life—his loving wife Kerri Browitt Caviezel. Beneath the roles and the fame is a family man. The duo is raising three adopted kiddos, all who’ve faced the heavy diagnosis of cancer. But let’s be clear, the Caviezels are no understudies in the theater of parenthood; they’re headlining the act with relentless love and commitment.

As for what’s next on Caviezel’s radar? “I’m looking forward to making more films that tell stories that bring characters to some sense of redemption,” he says. “At this phase in my career, I want to make sure the writing is strong and the creative team is top-notch so that I continue to grow, too.” A new adventure looms on the horizon, and we can’t wait to be passengers on that thrilling ride.

Jim Caviezel seated on the steps of Jetset's plane, looking off to the side.
Jim Caviezel stands in front of Jetset's plane, rolling up his sleeve.

In a world that often demands compromise, Jim Caviezel reminds us that the route to success need not be charted by sacrificing one’s core values. He’s flying on his own terms, staying true to his course, and reminding us all that, yes, the sky’s the limit—but only if you dare to take off.

Wardrobe: All Saints | Neiman Marcus Scottsdale 

About The Author

In a world where business acumen and editorial flair collide, Tami Austin stands as a titan at the forefront of luxury publishing. As the vivacious Editor-in-Chief of Jetset Magazine, she’s a maven of the high-flying lifestyle, a curator of the finest experiences our planet has to offer. Tami's journey is a symphony of adventure, her life a passport brimming with stories, each stamp a testament to her influence on Jetset's glittering narrative. At the magazine's core pulses the essence of Tami’s vision, her editorial mastery painting each page with the kind of vibrant insights only a seasoned traveler and business guru could offer. She's not just steering the ship; she is the rhythmic pulse that keeps it afloat, guiding its course with the precision of a seasoned maestro. Under her leadership, Jetset has soared, hosting conversations with icons like Lady Gaga, Donald Trump, Patrick Dempsey, Richard Branson and diving deep into the minds of moguls such as Robert Kiyosaki. But the tale of Tami Austin goes beyond the sheen of Jetset's pages. In the sun-kissed realms of Scottsdale, Arizona, Tami is the cornerstone of her family, sharing the joys of life with her husband, Darrin Austin, the CEO/Publisher of Jetset, and their spirited children. And when the sun dips below the horizon, Tami swaps the pen for the microphone, serenading the country music world with her soul-stirring songs, a hidden gem polished in Nashville's storied studios. Need to pitch an idea that's as unique as Tami's journey? Just drop a line at editor@jetsetmag(dot)com and watch the magic happen!

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