Jim Caviezel on his first meeting with Mr. Malick, and his beliefs (0:00 to 6:30):
「 Her hand has guided my life and my career in incredible and, at times, startling ways.
For instance, back in 1997, I had auditioned for a role that every big name in Hollywood wanted—a role in director Terrence Malick’s upcoming film: THE THIN RED LINE. Now the odds were against me, but I at least got a meeting with Malick. I pulled up at his house in Beverly Hills for my 6 o’clock meeting. But I couldn’t leave the car.
Plagued by self-doubt, I made a decision that if this didn’t pan out, if this didn’t go through, I was going to have to hang it up. I didn’t want to just drift along the rest of my life, wondering if I was ever going to work consistently as an actor. It is now 6:00pm. I was still in the car. I believe in my heart that the next 10 minutes changed my life forever.
In my mind, I was the guy from Mt. Vernon, Washington. I wanted to be a basketball player. What the heck was I doing here, outside of Terrence Malick’s house? I’m an emotional mess, self-sabotage at full fury, so I started to pray the Rosary! Its 6:05 PM and I’m in the middle of the Fourth Glorious Mystery!
You see, six months earlier, my manager, who was bit like a Catholic mystic, said that I should start praying the Rosary on a daily basis. My wife, Kerri, taught me how to pray it. So, following orders, I borrowed her grandmother’s Rosary- a precious antique heirloom. I started running them through my fingers and praying without even really knowing the mysteries.
I’m already five minutes late for this major meeting with the most sought-after director in Hollywood, and I have not finished the Rosary. So, I decide to press on. “Hail Mary full of grace…. Hail Mary full of grace.” When I finally finish the Hail Holy Queen, it’s 6:10 PM. I jump out of the car, dash up to the house, and realize I have Rosary beads in my hand. So, I turn heels and race back to the car to dispose of the beads. I open the car door, and made a deliberate move to drop the Rosary, when I get this feeling— right here (in my heart)— that I should take the Rosary with me. This was not the first time I had experienced this sensation…
The first time I had this experience, I was 19 years old, sitting in a theatre in Mt. Vernon, Washington. The movie had ended, and out there in the darkness, befriended only by my basketball (who was in the adjacent seat)— I had a sensation—right here (again in my heart)—that made me think that I’m supposed to be an actor. This is what God crafted me for. This is what he wanted of me. It was my personal “Annunciation,” a very deep awareness of my vocation. So reluctantly, I went forward. My rational sense intervened…I knew nothing about acting: no agents, no managers, and I can’t memorize lines to save my own life. Yet I had this conviction—this charge!
So, back on the curb in front of Terry Malick’s house, I decide to take the Rosary with me and make my way to front door. The maid answers the bell. On her neck is a Miraculous Medal. So I say, “Oh, you’re Catholic”. She says, “No I’m not, I’m Episcopalian.” She takes me in and shows me the house, a beautiful Spanish hacienda. And as we are admiring the ceiling, while the woman is in mid-sentence, I get that sensation in my chest again, but stronger than I’d ever experienced, and without thinking, I reach for the Rosary in my pocket, interrupt her and say, “This is for you”. She startles and says, “Why did you do that?” Tears are welling up in her eyes. I say, “I don’t know.” “Oh my God”, she says, “The woman that gave me this medal also gave me a Rosary that she got from Mother Teresa. But I lost it. And I prayed this morning that God would send me another one. And then you walk in.” This woman is now collapsing in tears, I am shell-shocked, there is this Rosary between us, and in walks the director, Terrence Malick. When he started with “Honey, what’s wrong?,” it occurs to me that this ain’t the maid. This is Mrs. Terrence Malick, his wife! And I thought, better book a return flight to Mt. Vernon, pal.
When I got home, I told my wife, “Honey I’ve got some good news and some bad news. The good news is that I may get THE THIN RED LINE part; the bad news is Granny’s Rosary is gone.”
I believe that Rosary and the intercession of Our Lady led to the first major role of my career in THE THIN RED LINE (against the wishes of the studio). We would be nominated for seven academy awards, including best picture. 」