Don’t tell Jim Caviezel that inspirational sports movies can’t make a difference.
The Passion of the Christ star tells Breitbart News how he leaned on 1986’s Hoosiers as a senior playing point guard for his high school’s basketball team. He remembers his legs felt like they were on fire, and his squad faced the no. 1 team. He persevered all the same.
“I felt a great desire and love for my teammates,” Caviezel recalls, inspired by Gene Hackman’s sports classic.
That camaraderie comes into play during When the Game Stands Tall, Caviezel’s latest project. Caviezel plays Coach Bob Ladouceur, the man behind the De La Salle Spartan’s astounding 151-game winning streak. The fact-based movie recalls how the coach’s combination of grit, faith and family catapulted his team into the record books.
Caviezel captures the famed couch’s stoic demeanor, his passion for how the sport can shape young minds and why winning wasn’t everything–even for a team that didn’t know how to lose for so long.
“He never focused on winning,” the actor says of the real-life Ladouceur, who made his players open up about themselves before each game to foster self-improvement. “It’s only through this process that real growth and change can occur … you have to rip off that [emotional] scarring. No one likes that … certainly the outcome is so much more positive.”
All of which begs the question–why don’t more coaches mimic Ladouceur’s program? Sadly, Caviezel says, we live in an age when personal records and ego too often trump teamwork. That’s why making the coach’s philosophies the star of When the Game Stands Tall matters.
“In order for this world to be a better place, people have to make great sacrifices,” he says, sounding as if he is still in character. “I have a responsibility … to do what’s right playing figures like this.”
Caviezel’s signature role remains playing Jesus Christ in the Mel Gibson film which kicked off the modern, faith-based film movement. Only the actor’s press liaison wouldn’t let him share his thoughts on the project 10 years later, saying the actor’s interview time was up.
He still couldn’t say enough about Coach Ladouceur’s legacy or how he hoped he created a Hoosiers-like movie for a new generation. He hopes somewhere, someone will see When the Game Stands Tall and find inspiration in its story much as a young Caviezel did watching Hackman coach his players.
“Then I did my job,” he says.