Jim Caviezel, born James Patrick Caviezel, was born and raised in the town of Conway, WA. Born on September 26, 1968, to James and Margaret Caviezel, Jim was one of five children (3 sisters-Ann, Amy, Erin 1 brother-Tim) born to the close knit-Catholic family.
As a child, Jim dreamed of playing for the NBA. All through school, he played for various basketball teams. In 1984, he went to Mount Vernon High School but transferred to O'Dea High School after two years. The following spring, he transferred again to Burien's, Kennedy High School in Seattle where he starred on the basketball team until graduating in 1987. After high school, Jim attended Bellevue Community College and played basketball for the school, until a foot injury put an end to his game.
Acting was never a career ambition for Caviezel, but, as he was so good at mimicking his classmates and teachers throughout school, he soon turned to acting (recommended by his coach). Soon after a talent agent saw Jim do a monologue, it was off to Hollywood.
In 1990, Jim auditioned for a role in the film 'My Own Private Idaho'. He landed the role of an Italian airline clerk after fooling casting agents into believing he was a recent Italian immigrant. When calling to award him the part, agents thought they had the wrong number after Caviezel answered the phone in his natural accent.
Jim moved to L.A. and landed numerous small roles in films, including 'Diggstown', 'Children of the Dust' and 'Wyatt Earp'. He even passed up going to Julliard School of the Performing Arts for the role of Warren Earp. He had every intention of attending the school after his next few films flopped. But then came his "big break".
In 1998, Terrence Malick had returned to the movie scene and cast Caviezel as Private Witt in his new film, The Thin Red Line. The movie originally was set to be Adrien Brody's "breaking performance", but after seeing Caviezel's work as Witt, they cut Brody's scenes down to a minimum. Even after the critical acclaim he received for his role in the film, Jim still went relatively unheard of in Hollywood (even though he was playing lead roles in new films).
Early in his Hollywood acting career, many people told Caviezel to change his name, "because no one will be able to pronounce it". His response to this? "Well, you've learned to say Schwarzenegger."
In 2002, two films were released that gave Jim more recognition, and people began to learn his name. The main focus of that year though, was his role as Edmund Dantes, in the newest version of 'The Count of Monte Cristo'.
Not being private about his religious beliefs has made Jim Caviezel a loner in Hollywood. While working on 'The Thin Red Line', he was told, "You won't survive in this industry" by his co-stars. He has survived, and his religious beliefs are what perked up Mel Gibson’s interests in the actor while searching for his 'Jesus Christ' for his Bible epic, 'The Passion of the Christ'. Jim refused the role more than once, but after some heavy persuading, Mel got his actor, and Jim got his true "big break" in Hollywood.
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