The following comes from an Aug. 15 story on Catholic World Report.
What do the classic movie It’s a Wonderful Life, Jesus Christ, and high school football players with tears in their eyes have in common? Quite a bit, says actor Jim Caviezel, whose new movie, When the Game Stands Tall, opens in theaters nationwide on Friday, August 22.
Caviezel plays Bob Ladouceur, the football coach who led the De La Salle High Spartans of Concord, California to 151 consecutive wins from 1992 to 2004, setting a national record. The accomplished actor—who is known for his powerful portrayal of Jesus in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ (2004) and who currently stars in the CBS hit drama Person of Interest—can relate to underdog, as well as to struggling sports teams. In a recent phone interview with Catholic World Report, Caviezel recounted a life-changing experience he had as a teenager that included both sports and film.
“I was about 18 years old,” he explained. “I was playing basketball for Kennedy High School in Seattle and we had just qualified to go to the next level and were on our way to the state tournament. … We were selected to play the number-one team in the state. We believed we could beat them. And nobody believed we could beat them. It just so happened that they just released the movie Hoosiers, which was about a small high school team beating a big powerhouse.”
“To make a long story short,” Caviezel recalls, “we saw the movie as a team, we went out and played that team and we played them without fear and we won that game.”
“Years later,” the actor continued, “I reflected on the power of film—what film can do. A film can change the course of a person’s life.”
Caviezel recalls a memorable encounter with “a great teacher,” Jimmy Stewart, the legendary star of It’s a Wonderful Life—a film, Caviezel says, that changed his life.
“Jimmy Stewart had said to me, ‘Make good movies, young man!’ not knowing what I was going to do in my life.”
In When the Games Stands Tall, Caviezel plays a man he considers another great teacher, Coach Bob Ladouceur. Affectionately known as “Coach Lad,” Ladouceur has been inducted into the National High School Hall of Fame and is considered one of the greatest high school football coaches of all time. His impressive record of achievement during his 34 years at De La Salle includes the historic 12-year run of consecutive wins, as well as seven national titles, five CIF Bowl championships, 17 state championships, and 28 CIF North Coast titles….
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