From Calvary to Augusta:
A Different Kind of Role Model
-- Actor Jim Caviezel will probably be known from now on as
the star of Mel Gibson's blockbuster The Passion of the Christ.
Throughout that grueling film, Caviezel played the role of Jesus with
strength, dignity, and grace.
Obviously, after portraying the Savior of the world, any other role
is going to be something of a step down. But in his new movie, Caviezel
once again gets to show many of the same qualities. He has the title
role in Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius. Opening today, the film
is about a man many consider the greatest golfer of all time.
According to early press accounts, what stands out about Bobby Jones
in this movie is not so much his brilliance on the course as his strength
of character. He struggles to overcome illness, the pressures of fame,
and his own flaws, learning to choose selflessness over self-indulgence.
As Jones's biographer Sidney Matthew told the Washington Times,
"Today, the very best sportsman can go home and kick the cat
and beat his wife. We excuse that intolerable behavior because the
person is a good athlete. With Bobby Jones, he was the genuine American
hero. What you saw was what you got."
Jones's example inspired both his family and the filmmakers to resist
giving his story the typical Hollywood treatment. According to producer
Rick Eldridge, "The Jones family had turned down three deals
[prior to this one] because they wanted to maintain the integrity
of the story and the man." One movie studio, for example, suggested
"spicing up" Jones's teenage friendship with a female golfer,
since "boys will be boys." But the real Bobby Jones had
higher standards, and his family and Rick Eldridge think that those
make for a pretty good story in themselves.
Apparently, a lot of other people think so as well. Already Bobby
Jones is getting positive word-of-mouth reviews as a movie that parents
can enjoy with their kids.
It was Jones's character that caught Jim Caviezel's interest in the
first place. He put it this way: "It's a great film for young
people who are trying to find their way. Nowadays, sports stars and
other celebrities say, 'I'm not your kid's role model.' It's an excuse
to act however they want, to make huge amounts of money. But Bobby
wasn't about that. He was a guy who embraced the idea [of being a
good example], who said, 'Yes, I am a role model. I'll take that responsibility.'
His pureness drew me to him."
As a devout Catholic in Hollywood, Caviezel knows something about
the temptations that come with fame, and that's another reason Jones
appeals to him. He explains, "God says what you do in private
is who you are." And besides, he jokes, "At the end of my
life, I want to meet Bobby Jones and say, 'Hey, let's play golf.'"
It's amazing how, generations after he lived, one man's efforts to
live a life of excellence, both on and off the golf course, can inspire
so many different people. The integrity that went into the making
of this film is a tribute to the integrity of its subject, and good
news for audiences in sore need of such good examples.
From BreakPoint, Copyright 2004 Prison Fellowship
with Chuck Colson" is a radio ministry
of Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with permission of
Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500, Washington, DC, 20041-0500."
Heard on more than 1000 radio stations nationwide. For more
information on the ministry of Chuck Colson and Prison Fellowship
visit their web site at http://www.breakpoint.org.
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