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Cliff Curtis has ‘Risen’ as Jesus

cliff curtis risen

In anticipation of the upcoming film “Risen,” we had a unique opportunity to interview Cliff Curtis, who plays the role of Jesus in the film. Mr. Curtis had a significant presence as he entered the room. He was very kind with an excellent sense of humor. One of the first questions he was asked was how he was chosen to play the part of the crucified Jesus. Cliff Curtis said, “It was a miracle!”

Curtis was raised Roman Catholic, and Jesus Samson (in Bible), and St. Francis of Assisi were his favorites. He also said he “grew up with the big JC” in his early years. “When I became an actor, people would ask what part would I really want to play and jokingly, I would say, ‘Jesus!’,” said Curtis. He felt it would never happen since, in older film versions, Jesus was often depicted with blonde hair and blue eyes. Even though he didn’t fit the tradition look of Jesus is other films, he received a call and an e-mail from his New Zealand rep.

Upon learning about the role, he was told that it was a very significant role; it would be Jesus. At first, he thought it was some kind of prank when hearing it but when the offer became real, he was wondering how to prepare for this massive undertaking.

Curtis realized he had been preparing for the role since early childhood. As a child, he was an altar boy who served seven days a week and was very passionate and devout. He was even going to be a priest at one point and had a crucifix by his bed, and mentioned he even made a small altar. During Easter, as a young boy, he would serve twice a day and start with the 7 am mass, as the devout would do. While I was listening to Curtis share such intimate details about his religion, I sat there a little surprised but in much admiration for such rare devotion.

Producers told Curtis that they wanted a real man to play Jesus. “Someone whose feet touched the ground and walked the Earth, someone who could easily relate to the common man,” said Curtis. So he drew from his many “every man” experiences as a carpenter, builder, and his service to the community, to make that connection with his role.

The next step for him was to know “who” he was and to keep from imposing “himself” into the role. To place his ego aside and be in a state of servitude to humanity. There was a need to be respectful of this, to bring life into the role of Jesus. He worked on how best he could be of service, regarding the historical divinity of Jesus, and so decided to take a month-long monastic vow of silence, as a cleansing process, without his family, so that he could fully immerse himself in the role. I could tell Mr. Curtis’s devotion to the role’s purity impressed fellow reporters in the room.

In being asked about his fans in the Island of Malta, he said, “The locals were very, very sweet, sweetly remembering a small boy he met, who had leukemia.”

When I asked what his favorite scene was from the film “Risen,” he said, “There were a few I really liked, but my favorite scene was when Clavius (Joseph Fiennes) comes into the upper room and see’s Jesus speaking to his disciples.” It just happens to be one of my favorite scenes too.


Don’t miss Cliff Curtis’ incredible role of Jesus in “Risen” in theaters tomorrow.

Benita Purohit is a wife and mom, blessed with two beautiful children, daughter Isabella (an avid soccer player, who adores animals) and son Seth (a basketball and music lover). Benita’s family (including her beautiful mom, sister and two nieces) moved from Maryland six years ago to paradise in Laguna Niguel. She embraced change and left her position as a studio producer with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, to be a stay at home mom. Currently she’s in the process of starting her own business. Benita and her children love the lord Jesus and try to live a life that shows love towards others. She’s a mom who loves people, going for hikes, reading and writing, old movies, enjoys shopping and crafting with her daughter, playing and singing with her son, mini-dates with her hubby, and spending time with her beautiful mother. Benita has been blessed with great sister-friends and she loves getting together with them and experiencing new things! ❤️ Life is better with Love in it! ❤️

We attended the interview as a guest of the studio

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  1. Faith has 'Risen' in Theaters - OC Mom Blog - […] Pete Shilaimon. Risen stars several fantastic actors along the lines of Joseph Fiennes, Tom Felton, Cliff Curtis, and Peter…

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