“You don’t have to read any further than the Gospels and what happened 2,000 years ago or simply go outside where you live or the office you work at to see injustice happening all the time,” Caviezel continues. “And these injustices continue because people don’t want to get involved. But at some point, you have to say ‘You’re a coward’ if you don’t get involved. Films like this allow a trial run to occur. ‘Gee, I know what I am. I have to get right with this.’ We're all going to have our own trials, but what side are we going to choose? Good? Evil? The sin of commission or omission?”

As a person of faith, Caviezel says that being part of Soraya M. has once again reminded him that suffering isn’t always a bad thing—it’s an integral part of the journey as a believer. “Jesus knows there will always be suffering. That won’t change; it’s always been this way,” Caviezel shares. “But what separates his friends from those who walk without him is the grace that accompanies his followers. And that grace is peace, calm and especially love. These crosses that were carried in union with heaven benefit both the individual soul and the world. Viewed this way, the true way, the soul understands that suffering isn’t a bad thing. It’s a valuable thing to be exploited for heaven.”

The Truth Ain’t Pretty

In a culture where violence is ever-present in action movies and video games, not to mention the headlines of real-life news stories on a daily basis, the graphic ending of The Stoning of Soraya M. is still a shock to the system, even though you know what’s coming. Much like Jesus’ scourging and crucifixion scenes in The Passion of the Christ, there’s an inherent realism about the violence in Soraya M. that can’t help but stick with an audience, which is exactly what the filmmakers intended. It’s something that Caviezel credits to a great script and counts as a tribute to the cinematographer, director, producer—real filmmakers with goodness in their hearts and the desire to tell stories that change the world.

A champion of the movie from its inception, producer Stephen McEveety, who also played a significant role in raising the funds for the film to be made, says watching Soraya M. with an audience was a very revealing experience. “There are a lot of victims who are never heard, and when you watch this with people, you can see who’s been a victim,” McEveety says. “You can also spot the abusers, and they don’t like seeing themselves in this movie. It’s very layered, and I never dreamed it would come out the way it did. It has this haunting quality to it.”

After working with Caviezel on The Passion of the Christ, and now Soraya M., McEveety admits that a lighter project was probably the right next move for him, though. “As soon as I finished shooting, I longed to do a nice family film,” McEveety shares. “And that’s exactly what I just finished shooting,”

Even Caviezel confesses that after making a film like Soraya M., it would be nice to be cast in a comedy—if the right script ever turned up. “But somehow, people just don’t see me that way,” Caviezel says with a laugh. “So I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing. As an actor, I look for stuff that impacts me. And I've been in a position to do it, so I choose to make these kind of projects. I'd rather be in a position like this where I can make things I feel get people to look deep. I want to know how a story like this is resolved to prevent it from happening over and over again.”


Starring Shohreh Aghdashloo, Mozhan Marno , Shohreh Aghdashloo and Jim Caviezel, The Stoning of Soraya M. opens in limited release in theaters nationwide on Friday, June 26, 2009.  For more information, please visit the official site for The Stoning of Soraya M.