| Caviezel with actor Claire Forlani at the April premiere of Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius in New York City. (AFP)
Cannes, May 16 (Reuters): Hollywood star Jim Caviezel has gone from son of god to golfing god.
After starring in Mel Gibson’s controversial box office hit The Passion of the Christ, he then turned to playing Bobby Jones in a biopic about the golfing legend.
“I’ve gone from the King of Kings to the King of Swing,” the 35-year-old actor said at the Cannes film festival.
Caviezel got the part desp- ite never having played golf in his life.
“I said give me a chance. I didn’t know how to fence and I did The Count of Monte Cristo. I said I can do it. I also said I’d never hung on a cross before ....”
For Caviezel, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius came as an enormous relief after the gruelling rigours of playing Christ when he was struck by lightning on location and suffered hypothermia.
“It was a nice change of pace, I can tell you,” the actor said with feeling.
“I try to explain to people how hard the movie was physically. I was struck by lightning. I was lucky to be alive, plus I had hypothermia. I was so nauseous every day from the freezing weather.
“Make-up was from two until 10 in the morning. I was throwing up, I couldn’t digest properly, I was always freezing. This was for five weeks — shaking uncontrollably.”
Learning how to play golf so that he could portray Bobby Jones heightened Caviezel’s own admiration for what the sports star achieved.
Jones collected 13 titles in his short career and most memorably of all earned the title of Grand Slam champion in 1930 with his unparalleled success in landing the four top titles.
Dubbed “The Greatest Golfer in the World”, he retired at the age of 28.
Jones suffered from a debilitating disease of the spinal chord and was wheelchair-bound for the last decade of his life. He died in 1971 at the age of 69.
The producers proudly boast that theirs was the first film crew ever allowed to film on the famed St Andrews golf course in Scotland.
In the movie, Jones is pain-ted as the true American hero, not because he played for mon- ey or fame but rather out of love for the game.
Caviezel said: “He was a classy guy. Imagine being the best in the world and not taking a dollar. He didn’t. He stayed a pure amateur all the time.”
Offering a fitting epitaph for the sporting hero he brought to the screen, Caviezel said: “He just kept trying to be the best man he could be. It was more important that he left his impact as being a gentleman.”