'Protection Squad' for Gibson's Jesus March 8, 2004 - WorldNetDaily.com

Security detail hired for James Caviezel as execs think movie's main stars targeted

James Caviezel, who plays Jesus in Mel Gibson's blockbuster "The Passion of the Christ," has reportedly been assigned a security detail to protect him.

Jim Caviezel portrays Jesus in 'The Passion of The Christ' (courtesy Icon Distribution)

"There are some crazy people out there and everything is being done to protect Mel and Jim from physical attack," a source close to executives of Newmarket Films told the London Express.

The paper said Caviezel, a devout Catholic, was being guarded by a "protection squad" amid fears of attacks by "religious fanatics."

According to the report, a mob of protesters has already screamed "anti-Semite" and hurled a bucket of lamb's blood at Gibson in a New York street. Charges of anti-Semitism dogged the filmmaker for months prior to the movie's Feb. 25 opening.

The Express reports Caviezel, 35, and his wife, Kerri, are protected whenever they leave home. Studio executives reportedly are concerned the film's principal figures could be targets for assassination.

Caviezel, who has 20 movies to his credit, told the London paper: "Sadly, any threats have to be taken seriously. It seems a terrible irony to me that this movie has spawned anger and violence. The idea that actors need minders because they portray a man whose mission was to spread the love of God is awful."

As of yesterday, "The Passion of the Christ" had taken in $213,888,740 in U.S. ticket sales and likely is on its way to becoming the highest grossing R-rated film in history.

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