Actor James Faulkner, who starred in one of the most successful faith-based movies of 2018, has opened up about being filled with the Holy Spirit during filming. “Paul, Apostle of Christ,” which was released in March of last year, took $23 million at the box office, far exceeding commercial expectations. Faulkner, who played the Apostle Paul, starred alongside Jim Caviziel, who famously portrayed Jesus in Mel Gibson’s 2004 epic, “The Passion of the Christ.”
“It took me on a journey,” Faulkner told The Christian Post of his biblical role, noting that he was spiritually renewed by the whole experience. “My wife was amazed at the difference in me. She said, ‘If only you can be like this all the time. It’s fantastic, you’re filled with a completely different spirit.'”
“I was imbued with the spirit of Paul and I found it transforming,” the British actor shared in an interview with the Catholic News Service.
Upon reflection, the veteran British actor, who trained as a chorister at the Royal College of Church Music, believes this change was the work of the Holy Spirit.
“Jim [Caviezel] is a devout man, whereas I’m Anglican light,” he joked. “But I have some questions myself as a result of playing Paul and I view the world differently and my fellow human beings differently [now].”
Caviezel, who is a committed believer himself, had been praying that Faulkner would experience the presence of God during the intense filming process.
“I prayed for James in ‘Paul: Apostle of Christ.’ I [recently] read an interview where he [James] said, ‘I didn’t play Paul, He played me.’ That was my prayer [for him] — that he would, and he did, and he became him,” Caviezel explained.
Faulkner, reflecting on his the spiritual experience of playing such a major Biblical figure, said the spirit “does make a difference,” before adding “you can transfer that to other people just as an ordinary man.”
“I can be my nasty snooty self as well,” he added. “But I remember what filled me when I played Paul and I was in another place.”
Having read through all of Paul’s letters during his preparation for the role, Faulkner is convinced that many of those profound words struck a deep chord within him.
“Do I have more humility? Yes,” he said in an interview with Catholic News Agency. “Do I have more love for my fellow man? Yes. Is there a possibility of redemption even for myself? Yes, there is.”
“I hope I can hang on to a bit of Paul,” he added in an interview with Catholic Digest. “It opened me up, made me a lot more patient, a lot more loving, and a lot more forgiving. I would hope to cling on to the major personality traits of Paul. I don’t want to go back to being a terrible, old authoritarian barking orders at people.”
“Paul, Apostle of Christ,” is nominated for “Best Movie for Families” at this year’s Movieguide Awards. The awards show is due to be aired on Hallmark on Feb. 25, at 10 p.m. ET.
Faulkner, who has also appeared on the wildly popular series “Game of Thrones,” told CP that it is nice to be involved in an awards event that is considerably more family friendly.
“I was out in Los Angeles last year for the SAG Awards for ‘Game of Thrones,’ which is a rather different field of entertainment,” he said. “And as marvelous and as big as it is, it’s a very violent show and there’s a lot of sex and a lot of nudity, but at least it’s a fantasy show. But I think that faith-based films, family films, films that celebrate our better natures are important, and therefore I’m thrilled to be here as part of the Movieguide Awards.”