“Guys, Jim Caviezel is here filming a movie.” This was how Mr. Collins, our Academic Dean, started things off this morning in the front office. Over the weekend, Archbishop Shaw High School was transformed into De La Salle High School in Concord, California. Arriving to work this morning and seeing De La Salle signage all over campus did have me a bit puzzled. It was announced at the last faculty meeting that a small movie would be filming on campus during finals week, but for some reason I was under the impression it was a indie documentary. They said it was about Catholic schools’ athletic programs, or some such, so I assumed that it would consist of a couple of artsy-types walking around with a hand-held camera shooting interviews between classes. Instead, I find myself sharing a parking lot with Jim Caviezel and Laura Dern’s make-up trailers. Shaw’s maintenance guys are running all over campus installing professional lighting. The football field and gym are crawling with grips, props, set designers, extras, cameramen and actors. As I look out on the back field right now, Jesus and Dr. Sadler are watching “The Thing” from The Fantistic Four run line drills with a team of teenage actors. Seriously, it is one of the most impressive-looking football teams I have ever seen: delicately groomed hair, immaculate uniforms, and picture-perfect drill lines. Nonetheless, I’m sure that the state-champ Shaw Rugby team could give them a run for their money.
Anyway, I’ve been excited all morning. I’ve never been one to be starstruck, but Jurrasic Park & Passion of the Christ are both on my top ten list of movies. The fact that a star from each of these films is down on the field a few yards away has me quivering in my slip-on dress shoes. And, as is always the case with my overly-philosophical mind, I find myself wondering what all the fuss is about. Seeing them from 100 yards away is not much better than seeing them on a 100-foot movie screen. It’s a scorching summer day on the Westbank. Mr. Caviezel looks like any other man would on such a morning: hot, lethargic wishing that he didn’t have to get up so early to stand under the sun. I don’t know, though. It feels kinda cool to be making the same commute. It feels kinda cool to know that both Jim Caviezel and I are a little reluctant to be up so early and sitting the parking lot of Archbishop Shaw High School. It feels kinda cool to be “going to work” at the same place, even if we’re there for totally different reasons.
It feels kinda cool. Still, that’s not quite why I am excited. I am excited for my students, who keep looking out the windows trying to catch a glimpse of the stars. I am excited for them as the shout, “Yeah! Jesus is playing football on our field! He’s using our locker room! He’s running our drills!” There is something Incarnational about that. I like the idea of them realizing that the actor who played Jesus is really here doing all the stuff that they normally do. Maybe it will help them realize that Jesus Himself is really here, and really did all the normal human stuff too. Maybe.
Anyway, I that’s kinda what told Mr. Caviezel when I briefly introduced myself between takes. He simply smiled, chuckling.