“Paul, Apostle of Christ” (in theaters Friday) is a quietly moving portrait of the final days of the life of the famed apostle and biblical author.
The movie features James Faulkner (“Game of Thrones,” “Downton Abbey”) as Paul and Jim Caviezel (“Passion of the Christ,” Person of Interest”) as Luke.
In an interview with TheBlaze, Caviezel emphasized the importance of avoiding the temptation to stray away from biblical material in the movie.
"I'll just take The Ten Commandments. It's still the most powerful film from that time period that I've ever seen," Caviezel said. "There's something about the words that resonates with you and you can feel it in your heart, even though the sets are old. So let's leave that alone. We can update with green screen and certain things, but that fundamentally has to be there.
"In our film, the performances are strong, but the words are still stronger," Caviezel said.
Other primary characters include Olivier Martinez as Mauritius, the Roman prison guard, and Aquila (John Lynch) and Priscilla (Joanne Whalley) who serve as leaders of the persecuted Christian community in Rome.
The plot focuses on the final 10 days of Paul’s life, as he sits in a Roman prison awaiting execution.
Paul fears he has failed in his mission to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations, and he is haunted by guilt for his past life as a murderous enemy of the Christian faith.
"Death is not his fear," Faulkner told TheBlaze. "His fears are that his word that he has been preaching for 30 years will not continue. That his fellow Christians will suffer and be spread to the far corners of the known world at the time, and are weak in their faith. And his nightmare is the thorn in his side, the spirits of those he persecuted before his conversion on the road to Damascus."
The movie is beautifully shot (in Malta) and well-acted, and does not attempt to step outside the boundaries of biblical and historical accuracy. A side-effect of that is the movie does little to appeal to those without Christian leanings of background.
However, for those with interest and personal connection to the subject matter, "Paul" carries an inspiring message of the need for radical love and forgiveness in the face of hostility.
"It is a film, really, about the strength of belief and the continuance of belief," Faulkner said. "There is hope, there is redemption, and a lot of love in the film."