Thursday, November 13, 2003

Henry Ian Cusick article

There's an article on Henry Ian Cusick, who plays Jesus in the Gospel of John in today's Telegraph. It's a cracking read:

At last, a Jesus for all faiths

A couple of excerpts:
Not since Alec McCowen's live recitation of Mark's gospel has a performer had to acquire such word-perfect mastery of scripture. "It kept me in my trailer while the disciples were out having fun," he says. "When I emerged, they would go, 'Hey, JC, how are you doing today?' I would have loved to hang out with them more, but there just wasn't time."

. . .

The extras were Spanish gypsies. "They would bow slightly when I walked past, as if I really was Christ," recalls Cusick. "And on the day of the crucifixion, when I came out of the trailer wearing a crown of thorns, the whole set went quiet. It was eerie. The gypsies were saying, `Ay mi Jesús', beating their breasts, and then they broke into song."

. . .

For Christian audiences, the most unsettling aspect of the film is likely to prove the character of Jesus. Catholics and Protestants alike are accustomed to an identikit Christ whose features have been pasted together from the accounts of all four evangelists. By excluding all the synoptic material, The Gospel of John highlights the fact that the Jesus of the fourth gospel is a different person from the Jesus of Matthew, Mark and Luke.

Cusick brilliantly conveys the strange charisma of the Johannine Christ. This smiling rabble-rouser is self-confident and talkative; he knows he is "the way, the truth and the light". But these claims raise a thorny question. If Jesus said those things, how come the authors of the synoptic gospels failed to report them? The scholarly consensus is that the passionate soliloquies of John were put into Christ's mouth by the early Church. It doesn't make them any less powerful.
Wow -- a newspaper article that uses the word "synoptic". How refreshing!

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