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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Jesus Is So Alright With Me--A Revisit Of The Hot Jesus Collection

I was watching TV the other day, and as I was surfing the guide channel, I heard someone say, "The Bible is hot right now.  Its entertainment value is through the roof."  It turned out to be a segment on some miniseries or something, and they started to get downright Teen Beat-esque about the guy playing Jesus.  They called him a Hot Jesus.  "Hey!"  I thought.  "I already coined that phrase ages ago, and put my collection of them in a blog post!" 

Now, since Jared has delayed our co-post yet again, it seems like a good time to...er...resurrect that Hot Jesus post.  So, here it is.  Happy Easter!

Something celestial, almost otherworldly, happens to an actor when he takes on the role of all roles--Jesus Christ. Now, I realize we all have a pretty misconceived, stylized, White European view of what The Man looks like, but when anyone says "Jesus", we all see the same thing:



"Yep! That's him," we would say to the officer while we stood on one side of the two-way mirror at the lineup down at the station house, "the one with the beatific expression and the flowy hair and the neatly trimmed beard. That's the guy!" We all could describe Jesus and the sketch artists would all draw this same picture.

I started noticing that all actors as Jesus are incredibly attractive a long time ago. I think it started when I was about 8 and I first watched the movie "King of Kings" with Jeffrey Hunter. He was one great-looking Jesus. I remember this one scene when he is down on his knee; he lifts his head and looks up into the camera. His eyes are incredible. Here he is:

I remember thinking, "Oh my God. He is really handsome. Those eyes are making me feel all squooshy inside." Seriously. Here they are.

I mean, come on! I know he's Jesus and all, but really. Mesmerizing.
That movie sort of began my unofficial collection of Hot Jesuses (Hot Jesi?). Pretty much everyone who plays Jesus looks good doing it. Even Willem Defoe. Old Willem is rather "apple-doll faced." He's not really that attractive, but in "The Last Temptation of Christ", he makes a darn nice looking Jesus.

Certainly, black and white can be forgiving, but trust me: I Googled the heck out of Willem as Christ, and even the sweaty and bloody ones were pretty good.
Naturally, you can't have a Hot Jesus collection and not include the Classic Seventies Rock Opera Jesus, Ted Neeley from Jesus Christ Superstar. It's almost not fair; Ted Neeley, who recently went back on the road in Superstar is still hot even now, whether he's playing Jesus or not.
Honestly, he might be the hottest Jesus ever. Certainly he's the most musical, and the only one who sustains a scream worthy of an 80s hair band.
Second only to Jeffrey Hunter in the eyes department has to be Robert Powell, who played Jesus in a television miniseries called "Jesus of Nazareth" in about 1977. Robert Powell has these startling light blue eyes that are almost as eerie as Meg Foster's, whose are downright scary. But I digress. Robert Powell made a very ethereal, Goth-like but fascinatingly attractive Jesus.
Finally, there's Jeremy Sisto as Jesus in the most recent television miniseries offering simply titled "Jesus." It ran in 1999 and had a memorable cast, mainly because Debra Messing of Will and Grace played Mary Magdalene. I didn't watch it, but I saw plenty of previews and magazine covers that proved my thesis that actors are automatically hot when they play Jesus. Jeremy Sisto's Jesus was sort of a laid-back, scruffy Jesus, though, you could tell. He had a casual air about him. Kind of a "geeze, Judas, don't get so serious" Jesus. But still pretty darn easy on the eyes.I mean, a cute Jesus, really, if you look at him. Not that sort of tragic, thinking about the future sort of distracted Jesus, like the other ones. More accessible. I liked that. I thought about whether I had a favorite Jesus or not out of all these, and I guess I don't. But I think Jeffrey Hunter, my first, will always be a little bit special.

post image here

12 comments:

  1. you forgot to mention Victor Garber of Godspell, another completely different face but a very handsome young man....oh how I love your posts! I wish we lived close enough to have lunch!

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  2. I'm guessing that in life Jesus would have had to be pretty good looking to have had such a following. There had to be something very attractive about him....

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  3. Definitely a post worth resurrecting, Nance! I saw the interview with the folks who are in the current miniseries, including "Hot Jesus." No, you're right, it's not a new phenomenon. Plus, I think the original, real Jesus had to be hot to have the appeal and gain the followers that he did. Let's face it, we like pretty and approachable people. ;-)

    Shirley

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  4. Shirley--thank you. You're right, of course. Look at Justin Bieber. (Although Jesus' followers were predominantly men, who is to say that they weren't encouraged by the women in their lives?

    Her: Honey, I like what he's saying. Go with him for a while.
    Him: But I have work, and the donkeys, and...
    Her: Are you kidding me? He's talking about salvation! Plus, he's really cute. And I'd go if I could, but the law won't allow it.
    Him: I guess, but...
    Her: Here's some bread and a head cloth for the dust storms. Go! And tell him I sent you.

    rjchery--Hi, and welcome to the Dept! Great to see you here, and thanks for commenting. As i said to Shirley, i agree. Charisma was a big term back in the 70s, and Jesus had it in spades.

    King Of Kings was on the telly over the weekend; I recognized Jeffery Hunter right away. I never forget a Jesus.

    Sarah Keller--Hey, thanks so much! My standard lunch "out" is a Bloody Mary, so if we ever do happen to meet up, order for me if I'm late!

    Re: Victor Garber was not in my collection of Hot Jesuses because, I'm sorry, I just didn't find him "hot." He was okay, but really not "hot." All that curly hair and boyishness and jumping around and that outfit...so not hot. He aged extremely well, though. Way hotter as an old guy.

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  5. Wow Nance - you're right about Victor Garber - way cuter now. (And I am officially old, thinking a silver haired man is cuter than his younger self - ha!). I also liked him as the king (opposite Whoopi Goldberg's queen) in the Brandy version of Cinderella.

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  6. Great post - the research is formidable. I can never forget, however, that the man was Semitic. For me that indicates dark hair and eyes and bronzed skintones. Plus a prominent nose. Having just returned from Israel and looked at a lot of young and toothsome Semitic men of all faiths, I'm a bit off blonde and heavily muscled representations.

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  7. Mary--Oh, you know me: I cannot be anything but thorough for my Readers.

    Yeah, the Eurocentric representation of Jesus is just another in a long list of reasons why I remain so distrustful of Organized Religion. I bet you enjoyed your Israel adventure.

    Bug--I know, right? I get a little shamefaced when I acknowledge my attraction to Sam Waterston. But I've always had a thing for some older men, even in my early youth. I had a huge crush on Clark Gable when I was probably 13 or so. Every so often, I get a little twinge for an Old Guy. LOL. NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT!

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  8. I agree, current Victor Garber is way hotter than the young version. As older Sean Connery is hotter than the cool, but still hot original James Bond.

    I once saw a documentary that somehow did a forensic reconstruction, using first-century mid eastern remains to determine what Jesus--or at least his contemporaries--would have looked like. The result was unnervingly similar to Osama Bin Laden.

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  9. Love your replay of Come to Jesus Talk!

    So... I still like Hunter the best, and I still think Sisto looks like he's about to bust open a six-pack of Bud. And Powell may well have the best eyes, but... I can't get past the dire need to wash his tresses in that snap.

    And while we're on the subject of actors who don't look at all like the Middle Eastern Jesus he would have been, why not put the question out there? Of all the actors who could have played/could now play Jesus, who would your pick be (if not one of the above)? I nominate, from the Old School, Gregory Peck, may he rest in peace. I had a HUGE crush on him as a kid. And later. Get the hair right, and he would have been a shoe-in for a hot Jesus.

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  10. Ted and Maya were watching a bit of 'The Bible' the other evening, which all good Atheists are required to do during Easter week, and they were wondering WHY everyone had British accents. I suspect it's because of Life of Brian, but I could be wrong. And actually, since I wasn't watching with them, it may not have even been 'The Bible' that they were watching. HA! I was going to say that Willem Defoe is not hot, but in those pictures, you're right. He sticks in my mind as he was in 'Wild at Heart', which is NOT HOT.

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  11. J@jj--See what I mean? If you play Jesus, you automatically get hot. Even WD, who is, as you say, decidedly unHot in other things.

    Ortizzle--Oh, I had a huge thing for GP also, but as Atticus Finch. Bradley Cooper right now could do a great Hot Jesus because he has those eyes.

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  12. fauxprof--Unnerving, yes, but I'm sure a lot of men in that region look like him. I can't get real excited about Sean, however; his mushmouth way of talking unnerves me. And I like my men with hair.

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