Thursday, January 04, 2007

Personal Jesus

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.


  1. I emailed you a hot Jesus that you missed, but I think the email we have is an old one. Drop a line and let me know.

  2. Anonymous1:00 AM

    You're right: they all have "come hither" eyes. Except maybe for Jeremy Sisto, who looks more like he'd like to find a good poker game and a cold beer.

    Interesting to see this collage, though. All the different kinds of forbidden fruit. Jeffrey Hunter would be my favorite, too. He would make me show up for an audition as Mary Magdalene.

  3. j--re: our email convo...I knew someone would mention Caviezel's Jesus from Gibson's "Passion of the Christ." But, as I related, I never saw the film and never paid attention to the ads or promos, so I didn't make a personal connection, hence *he* didn't make it into the collection. (A rap/rhyme!)

    Ortizzle--Have you googled Hunter without full Jesus regalia? I did once. Still a nice looking man. But I am all about his Jesus.

  4. Anonymous6:47 AM

    Tried to comment yesterday but blogger wouldn't let me. GRRRRR.

    Anyway, what if Jesus was an endomorph? Imagine Jack Black in character or the dude from Sideways and American Splendor whose name has slid out of the sieve of my memory. (Paul Giamatti! All is not lost!)

    Every time I hear Green Day sing Jesus of Suburbia, I see Jesus in golf pants or Dockers and think--hmmm, I'd rather have an urban, hip-hop kinda Jesus.

  5. V--you've been missed. I still think playing Jesus, even for portly, not-so-hot guys, would be a boost in the looks dept. I'm not a Photoshop whiz, so I'm hoping someone who is will bear me out or disprove this and submit it via email (see new link in sidebar at end of many fussy buttons), and I'll be glad to post. And, I found Jack Black immensely endearing in "The Holiday", btw. No Jude Law *drool*, but very loveable, and not in a pityfest way, either.

  6. Anonymous10:46 AM

    Gives the whole "Jesus is my boyfriend" kind of thing a whole new meaning don't it?

    Great from the Mundane Carnival!!

  7. I wonder if "they" thought that making Jesus a hottie would make us all want to be Christians.

    The problem is, I'd rather be snuggling with these Jesuses (Jesi) than praying with them. No wonder Mary Magdalane was sad.

  8. not-faint-hearted: that's for sure! hey, what's the copyright on that tune anyway? do you think i have a case there? thanks for stopping by, and i hope you come back. hit up the archives and browse around! i'll even give you a cubicle.

    finn--listen, after reading "the da vinci code", i wouldn't put anything past "them!" lol. even though jesus looked hot, apart from the jeremy sisto jesus, none of them strikes me as particularly cuddly. thanks for hitting up The Dept. Hope you come by often.

  9. I remember all of those actors who played Jesus. I just re-familiarized myself with Jeffrey Hunter (yes, I remember his eyes in his Jesus role!) and was so surprised to see that he died tragically young. Although I do remember Jeremy Sisto as Jesus, I never see him as Jesus in my mind. He's forever stuck in the Kidnapped tv series for me. And he's played so many similar parts since. I watched a lot of Jesus productions growing up but have not chosen to watch one since although I did catch part of John Legend's Jesus Christ Superstar production when that aired.

    1. Shirley--I did watch John Legend as JC in that production, and he was terrific. I happened upon it by accident, and being a fan of Legend (and intrigued), I watched. He went on to win an Emmy for that, I think.

      I would not, however, characterize him as a Hot Jesus. He's too cute.


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