This time of year, nobody is hotter than Jesus, what with His birthday rolling up on us at high speed and all. But hot Hollywood stars playing the Son of God bring their own brand of heat.
Ewan McGregor, ‘Last Days in the Desert’
Jim Caviezel, ‘The Passion of the Christ’
How do you say “smokin’ hot” in Aramaic? Ask Jim Caviezel, because as
far as we could tell that’s what J.C. (see what they did there) was
broadcasting for the entirety of this gorgeous Mel Gibson babblefest.
These days the sexy savior is still doing good works, but he’s been
reduced to saving folks one at a time on TV’s “Person of Interest.”
Christian Bale, ‘Mary, Mother of Jesus’
Though he’s starring as Moses in “Exodus: Gods and Kings” this holiday season, uber-actor Christian Bale also played the Lord once upon a time in the TV movie, “Mary, Mother of Jesus” (1999). After this, the character pendulum really swung the other way for Bale however. Moving from dying for our sins to killing for his own, Bale next played serial killer Partrick Bateman in “American Psycho.” Well, at least he could ask himself for forgiveness.
Diogo Morgado, ‘The Bible’
Robert Powell, ‘Jesus of Nazareth’
Gaze into Robert Powell’s searing blue eyes, which — fun fact — never once blink during the course of Franco Zeffirelli’s gorgeous 1977 miniseries. A lesser miracle, to be sure, but many of the major Bible stories do get the blockbuster treatment in this one as well, with an all-star cast headed by the strikingly handsome British actor. The series got the typical protest-it-before-you’ve-seen-it-treatment from Protestant fundamentalists, but survived the controversy tsunami to become a lasting holiday favorite. Thanks in large part to its shaggy yet luminous savior.
Ted Neeley, ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’
Gerald ‘Slink’ Johnson, ‘Black Jesus’
TV’s Christ in the hood on “Black Jesus,” Gerald “Slink Johnson” is clearly a righteous brother making the best of a bad situation while living City of Angels-adjacent. And though his show is hot in the cultural sense he may not get everyone’s vote for the sexiest Jesus.
Willem Dafoe, ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’
When it comes to controversy, Scorsese might have guessed what he was in for had he just remembered the John Lennon Jesus brouhaha that drove people to burn Beatles records back in the ’60s after Lennon’s offhand remark, “We’re more popular than Jesus Christ.” Of course the full quote was more complicated than the bumper sticker:
“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first–rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”
Even so, the full quote wasn’t exactly innocuous. On the other hand, Lennon’s loose lips got the Beatles picketed by the Klu Klux Klan so he must have been doing something right. It just goes to prove that even the Smart Beatle could say something stupid. If only we could find someone willing to forgive him.
Which perhaps serves as a reminder that religion is a personal thing, so
perhaps the hottest Jesus might be your own “Personal Jesus,” courtesy
of Depeche Mode. As always, your musical mileage may vary.
Christ Out of the Closet
Breaking new barriers in the area of breaking down barriers is “Corpus Cristi,” a film about a gay Jesus. It has caused a lot of controversy over the years, which is surprising since this film doesn’t even exist. That, of course, hasn’t stopped people from protesting it in an endlessly self-starting series of outraged emails to anyone rumored to be producing it. In fact, this movie that doesn’t exist is based on a play that does, written by Tony winner Terrence McNally and was staged in the late ’90s. If people are so angry about an imaginary movie, maybe a non-existent actor playing the nebulous lead role should get your vote because he (or she) has managed to stir powerful emotions without even doing anything. Genius!
Wait. Where were we. Oh, yes, that’s right. The internet is awash with hot Jesuses. Jesues? Jesi? We’ll work out the plurals later, but “NCIS” star Michael Weatherly worked through a variety of spiritual issues when he recently channeled Jesus for a visit to Sarah Silverman where JC and SS cut through the BS and bonded during an “NCIS” marathon. It went viral. What else would expect from the internet? Well, how about this?
Burnt Toast Jesus
Because, why not? Tis the season for a toast to Jesus after all, so why not go for a literal interpretation. This miraculous Christ is clearly hot. What else could he be, since he’s fresh out of the toaster? When you stop to think about it, or just glance around the internet, it’s clear that He is everywhere. There’s a whole world full of Accidental Saviors out on the interwebs. There’s Frying Pan Jesus, Pizza Crust Jesus, you name it.
God’s Son on Twitter
Do-It-Yourself Keystroke Jesus
If you’re into the whole DIY thing you might want to lifehack your way to some hot Jesus action with ASCII Art. On the upside, you can make Him appear in emails and forums anytime you like with a simple cut and paste. On the downside, the graphics are kind of humble, but what could be more Christlike than humility? The choice is yours, my children.
Metaphorical Jesus, Ashton Kutcher
Of course there are also metaphorical Christs out there as well. Exhibit A is Ashton Kutcher, who could certainly be described as the Savior of “Two and a Half Men” since he resurrected that show after Charlie Satan, er, Sheen flamed out. Ashton definitely looked the part when he joined the show as Walden Schmidt with his unruly mane, hipster beard and cherubic man-child face. Sheen, on the other hand had been more of a metaphorical Buddha, but we’re talking early-days Buddha when Siddhartha was wallowing in the pleasures of the world. Which is nice work if you can get it, but we’re trying to keep things on a higher spiritual plane here.
The Dude vs. The Jesus
For many, the desultory masterpiece that is “The Big Lebowski” is like a spiritual journey, in that its full of desperate seeking, tragic wrong turns and false prophets. Regarding the last, of course, we’re talking John Turturro, who has an inspired cameo in the film playing “The Jesus.”
But when you get right down to it, who’s more Christ-like? The one who calls himself The Jesus or The Dude with his crazy hair, confusing quest and vow of poverty. Okay, so it’s not a vow, per se, more of a lifestyle choice, but you get the idea. The Dude looks and acts the part. But we’re also mindful of the warning from his bowling-alley rival who says, and we’re paraphrasing here, “Don’t fornicate with The Jesus!” Which seems like excellent advice. Don’t do it.
Speculative Jesus, Who’s Next?
Jesus is part of the Hebrew prophetic tradition, of course, and rumored by some to be returning soon, so who can say what form he’ll be taking for his encore. We can only imagine who will assume the role in the future (well, other than Juan Pablo di Pace who will be taking on Jesus for NBC’s upcoming miniseries “A.D.”). Will it be someone like Cate Blanchett who’s already played Bob Dylan and the Queen of England a couple of times, so she’s clearly got the playful spirit a
nd the gravitas. (Plus she was in that underrated comedy heist movie with Bruce Willis and Billie Bob Thornton, so who better to return like the proverbial thief in the night?) Or will future Christ be played by someone totally out of the box like Kat Dennings or Weird Al Yankovic or Richard Simmons? That’s a casting call we’d love to see.
But for now, we’ll just have to vote for the hottest Jesus we’ve already seen. Make your choice in the poll below, or share your alternative sizzling saviors in the comments section.