‘Risen’ Actor Cliff Curtis, Typecasted as Villain, Says It’s Miracle He Got Role of Jesus


Risen (Photo: Sony Pictures)

Christian Post Report – Film still for “Risen” (2016).

Cliff Curtis used to be recognized for the villainous characters he played in movies, but now, people are recognizing him for his portrayal of Jesus Christ.

The 47-year-old actor from New Zealand starred as Jesus in “Risen” earlier this year, which tells a story about the events that took place after the Messiah’s resurrection. The film is told from the perspective of a fictional Roman military official named Clavius who is charged with the task of disproving the fact that Jesus actually did rise from the dead.

While a number of people recognize him as a gangster named Smiley from the 2001 film “Training Day,” or drug dealer Pablo Escobar from “Blow,” Curtis has now received recognition for playing the son of God.

“Some people call me ‘Smiley,’ other people call me ‘Pablo Escobar.’ I had my first person call me ‘Jesus’ the other day,” Curtis told Enstarz. “I was just in the hotel and there was a whole family and they stopped and one of them is like ‘Are you Jesus? It was hilarious.”

Curtis told Enstarz that he enjoys taking on roles that prove to be challenging for him.

“As a storyteller and a producer, I really do try to be conscious to choose projects that are going to be significant. And in my career as an actor, you know, you have your highs and your lows…,” he said. “But by and large, no matter what project I’m on or what genre I’m in (whether it’s action movies or art house movies or television), I’m trying to look for roles that are going to be challenging…I love to transform myself.”

To prepare for his transformation in “Risen,” Curtis did more than just read a script.

“For a month I lived on my own in Malta and it was a really beautiful experience. I had very humble meals and I lived monastically pretty much,” Curtis told Wenn, according to Scout. ” I could not not speak to my wife because she’s my other connection to the divine. I didn’t speak to anybody and I spent a lot of time in meditation and silence and would sit for hours alone.”

The 47-year-old New Zealand actor considers it a miracle that he was cast as Jesus, considering he has played villainous characters in movies like “Live Free or Die Hard” and “The Last Airbender.” Other than the fact that he has been typecast in many films, Curtis was surprised that he landed the role that Hollywood usually granted to younger actors with fairer skin complexions.

“Jesus was crucified by age 33 and I’m in my late 40s. And when you look at my work, what makes you think that I’m right for this role,” he said. “It was a miracle!I just thought I wasn’t fair complexioned enough to get the role and I needed blue eyes.”

For Curtis, gaining the opportunity to play Jesus was a pleasant surprise, since the former altar boy once dreamed about doing so.

“I was a devout Catholic as a child and I was an altar boy and served mass and I did the whole thing and had the crucifix next to my bed, everything,” he revealed. “So when I became an actor and the question would arise, ‘What roles do you want to play?’ I’d say, ‘Jesus…'”

Source : Christian Post

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