INT: Jim Caviezel

You’d think two years of Jesus jokes would make Jim
Caviezel jaded, but it actually seems to have opened him up. The
usually solemn actor charmed the press with his performance of TOP
GUN, playing all the characters in a scene. That’s not an artiste
taking himself seriously.

, Caviezel plays Oerstadt, a terrorist who bombs a ferry
full of soldiers and their families in

New Orleans

. He’s so good, the only way the authorities can find him is by
looking into the past.

While a terrorist may be a step down from the messiah, Jim
Caviezel gave his all to the role. Oerstadt is scarily confident in
himself and his mission, prepared enough to be a threat and
charismatic enough to blend in.


you feel that your character in this film is based on Tim McVeigh?

I wasn’t very specific.
I picked up several, probably about fifteen different cases
that I watched and read and what I’ve found though, is there was a
difference between the serial killer and the Unibomber type.
One is more sexual and the other is more destiny-oriented.
The [serial killer] has sexual power of some type but both
are narcissistic none-the-less.

you a methody actor? Do you
stay in that dark place?

Absolutely. Oh, I see what you are saying. Well,
we were in a dark place and we couldn’t help it.
When you are going down to the 9th Ward and they are pulling
bodies out. I was down there five days after it hit with the 82nd
Airborne and I never smelled that kind of smell in my life, like
death. I was just blown away by the heroes I saw, the firemen coming
down. I remember one
particular occasion these guys were really in a bad situation and


firemen grabbed boats. No
one asked them. They
drove four or five days and by the time we got there, they were just
coming in. “Hey,
we’re from


We’re here to
help.” They pulled a fireman out.
It was amazing.

were you there?

I wanted to help.

do you personally feel about shooting off guns and blowing stuff up?

Personally? I look at it this way.
I look at a script. You
have to have a good guy and you have to have a bad guy.
So, if you have no bad guy, you have a good guy who becomes
‘gooder’ and ends up goodest.
Excuse my grammar.

when you are called upon to do violent stuff is it taxing or fun at

You just stick to the character and play the role.
It’s about playing the role and playing it well.

enjoyed another time travel movie you did Frequency. Did you think
about the time travel elements of that when doing this?

You stay with the character.
You do the research. You
have to be honest and tell the truth of what those kind of guys are
like. I think playing
the bad guy badly is playing him saying [Dr. Evil pinkie up to his
lip] “Oooo, I’m Dr. Evil. I
enjoy evil” versus saying “I’m the good guy here. Denzel is
the bad guy working for the government and they let us down here.”
But, at the same time you have to see through that because
this guy isn’t part of that. He
was using it.

doing Frequency help you understand time travel any better?

I didn’t even think of it.
It’s just a whole other piece.

is a powerful interrogation scene between you and Denzel.
Are your acting styles different?

Yeah, he doesn’t rehearse.
We actually began a rehearsal and Tony said it was against
Denzel’s nature to do that and felt like we shouldn’t have done
it. I thought maybe it
was significant to go through it but it ended up working
wonderfully. We kind of
got an idea where we might want to go with it.
Originally, the scene was at the beginning of the film.
Then, it got moved to the end, thank goodness.
A film should have a feeling of grapes that have been around
for fifty years. If you
can do that, the better you get in this business you can grab a role
and quickly become that character.
It’s very, very difficult when you don’t have that much
time. You go from one
film to the next and, all of a sudden, you go into this critical
scene and don’t have time to explore all the possibilities.

were a lot of physical scenes in the film.
Were you injured, like on the air boat?

Yeah, I got hurt on that pretty good.
I had about three wrecks on it.
It was hysterical. The
first time I got on that airboat machine, it was on land and I said
“Do we need a tow truck here?”
I’d never seen anything like it.
But you get out there and you’re in the water and there’s
a island there and you go over the island and you’re back in the
water and they work. But,
where they’re weak is if you have to turn.
You need about ten percent to turn it.
You’re blowing air. If
you are at full maximum, you have no excess air to turn it.
You want to go about ninety percent and always keep a reserve
there in case you have to turn it.
There’s just a handle here.
There’s nothing holding you down so if you get hit,
“Hello.. goodbye.” You just fly.

you fly off of it?

Yeah. A couple of
times I did and I got some bad wrecks on my knee.
They said my shoulder wasn’t dislocated.

it important, after The Passion to show that you could do some bad
guys also?

It’s really about the great role.
I look for great roles and great stories.
First of all, it’s the script, then the role and where it
fits in. I remember, I did a film with Ang Lee one time and I was
talking about all these things, about the character and what it
might do. The star of
the film was Tobey Maguire and he said, “Jim, I don’t have time
to go into all the things about your character.
Those moments are great if you were the main guy but you are
the color red and that’s it. Find
me red. I need red on
this.” So, that’s
the art. That’s the piece.

When you are the main guy, you can be more introspective.
This guy, what is interesting is I kept thinking he was like
the hurricane but the eye of the storm which is absolutely calm.
In him is a massive storm but everything had to be against
the norm which is yelling, screaming, putting all that out there.
Denzel, who obviously is an unbelievable actor, one of the
rare ones that can be both character and leading man, he elevated my
work. We got down to the
end of that scene where [he says], “There’s a difference between
you and I” and my character is like, “Okay, fine.
You figured all that out but I’m willing to exchange my
life. Are you?”
There you go.

you spoken to Mel Gibson since all this controversy?

I had one contact from him and I have not heard from him.

you wanted to talk to him?

My thing, I think he’s a brilliant director and no
question he’s a great actor but I don’t agree with his comments
or his statements. Let’s
just say it’s as simple as that.

your character in this feel that he’s a misunderstood patriot?

I felt like he had a sense that there was a time window, a
destiny and where there’s just this much time left and it had to
be accomplished and he had a sixth sense to him. So, if Denzel was
the good guy, this guy was the reverse but still had that gift, a
sense. And, a guy like
him is not just a bomber. I
thought he was more than that. He
had that gift of understanding, not just the criminal mind but how
cops think and, to have that gift, and when they came up with this Déjà
Vu technology, it kind of backfired on him.
I think, in a way, he was aware of something going on and so
that scene plays out in some form where he let’s [Denzel] know.
“I’m ahead of you. I
know what you’re up to. I
don’t really know what it is but I know there’s something

do you think of the whole string theory of time or parallel
universes? Does that sort of thing intrigue you?

Sure it does. Tony
Scott came to me and said, “It’s not science fiction, Jim.
It’s science fact.” Then he gave me this cornucopia of
magazines and said, “Here you go.”
Wow! I started
going through it thinking, “How are they going to figure this
out?” Then I thought, “20 years ago, who would have ever thought
of the internet?” They’d think the guy was crazy.
Technology should be used for good but sometimes we don’t
think about where it could be used for bad.
Should you stop it? I
don’t think so but I think we have to be responsible and
understand that, even without technology, if a man had a gift of
understanding and having a sixth sense like Denzel’s and abusing
it, what could he get away with how many people could he kill? In
his mind it’s all good. In his mind, it’s all good and Denzel is
the evil, the bad guy, the government.

you had a Déjà vu moment?

Yes I did. I
remember the first one I had in my whole life.
I was eight years old and I was coming home from school and I
remember this vividly because Fridays were my favorite moment after
school because it was the beginning of free time and, after cartoons
on Saturday morning, I hated that. I remember walking outside,
slamming down my foot and saying “Cartoons is over.”
That was back in the days when you got up early and never
slept in because you wanted your Saturday morning cartoons.
That was before VCR and what not.
We were out playing this game called snake in the grass.
I didn’t have to do my homework that night and we were out
playing for hours. I
walked up this hill and it hit me and I knew that moment I would
never forget. I didn’t
know what it was but, later on the phenomenon kept coming up. Other
people have experience it so I think Jerry Bruckheimer made a great
call putting that on his film.

what did you get a flash of in your déjà vu moment?

I was going up the hill and I knew that night we were going
to have popcorn and Brady Bunch and Partridge Family back before
VCR, another technology, right.
Those were the days of Magnavox and Pong.
We had that game but I was walking up the hill thinking I’m
going to go home and watch Brady Bunch and all of a sudden it hit
and bam, “I’ve been here before, I’ve been walking up this
hill before.” Like all
this had happened before even though it never had.

you tell us a little bit about Outlander and Unknown?

Just go see them both. The Outlander one is gonna be big.
Unknown is great. It’s
done incredible in



and several countries in the film festivals, a smaller film.
Outlander a lot bigger, kind of like Braveheart and Highlander mixed
and really not.

the Top Gun impression for us.

Mitchell, I’m sorry about Goose. Everyone liked him. I’m
sorry. What’s your
problem, Kozanski? You’re everyone’s problem.
That’s because you’re unsafe. I don’t like you because
you’re dangerous.