Jim Caviezel talks about his new film, The Final Cut

Jim Caviezel is open about his religious beliefs. It wasn’t just playing Jesus Christ in The Passion of the Christ. He talks about Catholicism freely. In fact, you sometimes have to be careful lest you inadvertently get into a religious debate while talking to him. His new movie, The Final Cut is about the dangers of a technology where microchips in the brain record people’s entire life. That leaves the door open for commentary on current technology.

“I think we’re already there,” Caviezel said. “I think you see it every day. For example, nuclear technology can be a good thing. It can give you energy. It can supply a lot of energy for enormous amounts and save a lot of costs. But when we start enriching uranium and dropping warheads and the potential of terrorists getting a hold of them and dropping them in cities, there are numerous things that can go on right now. Medical research, stem cell research, good and also bad. Using embryos, using something like that, a technology that could justify a means for more abortions, where I don’t see that helping women at all. It’s not helping them at all. And I’m for helping women. I don’t see that helping women, and you can use that to abuse it. And saying well, stem cell research is a good thing, and it is a good thing, but it also can be used out of stem cells out of you, out of me, out of placenta from the used placenta after the child is born, but not to destroy life to help others. This is not a good thing.”

Indeed, the film has religious undertones. Robin Williams, who plays an editor of people’s lifelong memories, considers himself a sineater, deleting all the bad parts. But surprisingly, that is not what Caviezel saw in the film. “I saw an allegory in the story to science and technology. And I see a lot of things in society, things meaning the technology. When we see technology, we think, ‘Oh, this will be great for society,’ but who along the way do you crush? It doesn’t really help the greater good. And there is this mind of necessary evils. Steal from Peter and give to Paul. And wrong isn’t wrong if you’re not caught. And wrong isn’t wrong if done by a nice guy like me. And so that’s what I thought there was an allegory to society.”

Adding to the religious metaphor, Caviezel wears a beard in the film that looks like a trimmed down version of Jesus Christ’s. Even he saw the resemblance. “I guess it’s like The Passion. I wear one there too.” The beard, however, was fake.

“This one, when you have to control it and take it back or what not, they didn’t know what they wanted to do. So when we came in, it was let’s try some ideas and that’s what was great about working with our director. We finally got to really meet and talk, and it was developing a character in a matter of [weeks]. [It was] something I had going on in my head for weeks but since he wrote the screenplay, it was very valuable to me to talk to him about how he really saw Fletcher and I just kind of was molded into that.”

As the film deals with preserving lifelong memories, actors like Caviezel are in the unique position to have some of their memories preserved for eternity through their films. Caviezel feels it’s like creating a time capsule. “When I was in Washington, they had this time capsule. In 200 years they were going to open it up. [Buried] in 1776, I guess, it represented 200 years of our independence. So they sealed this time capsule and in 200 years opened it up again. These films kind of do that. You kind of see where society was in the styles and the ideology along the way.”

Recent rumor has it that Caviezel is in the lead for consideration in the role of Superman. But to hear him recount it, nothing is certain. “There’s a process and right now that process hasn’t happened yet, but I won’t say yes and I won’t say no. We’ll just see what happens. I met Bryan Singer on another film, X-Men. I think he’s an excellent choice for that film and he’s an excellent choice for this film, Superman, and very, very brilliant guy. I think that we’ll have to wait and see, but I know this much. My manager who has spoken to associated press, said that when the script is there, the material is there and everything has to come together.”

What may be the next logical step for Caviezel would be to do comedy, as he has almost exhausted the well of juicy dramatic parts. But casting directors don’t tend to see his lighter side. “They don’t think of me as a comedy actor. It’s just not there yet. There’s a lot of dramatic films. Look, when you do The Passion, then you’re getting offered St. Peter. When you do whatever that you’re great at, you come out and show what you can do, that’s what you get offered. I like to vary the roles. Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t play another saint. I wanted to play Darth Vader. I thought that was a very fascinating character. Somebody who goes from good to completely evil and at least holds a bit of goodness inside him because eventually he comes back. But that to me was very, very fascinating. And this character is fascinating, Fletcher because of the rationalization, the circular logic.”

One can only imagine what a Jim Caviezel comedy would be like, but something about his straight deadpan gives us a clue. “I know you look at me and you probably think, ‘God, you’re a pretty serious guy.’ But I gotta tell you. I’m absolutely funny. I am.”

The Final Cut is now playing in select cities.