Q: How did you prepare for this iconic role of playing Joseph in the Holy Family?
This was a very special project Putting aside the magnitude of child I was the father of, Cyrus [Nowrasteh] and I discussed [the character]. I wanted to make this as real as possible, as to father and son.
I drew on my own experiences — I have two kids myself, and my son is 12 … This was very much cathartic in a way … playing a father in a piece that is so fantastic … and so awesome. The word awesome is overused, but I use it here — this is awesome for me because of the nature of the piece. It’s very special.
Q: Does a particularly meaningful scene come to mind?
Cyrus and I talked about the scene on the hill, where Jesus has questions and Joseph is talking to Jesus about his questions … It’s very much like talking to your own son when they hit a certain stage on their lives — between ages 10 and 13 … it’s a very sensitive time for boys. I related to that character
“I want Joseph to be strong,” Cyrus told me. “He’s the anchor, the rock, the guy who’s making the decisions.” So I did my best to be strong.
Q: What else went through your mind as you prepared for this role?
I decided to just grab the bull by the horns and play him simple, straight, as a father protecting his family, his son, his tribe … That was my anchor …the script was beautiful and supported this. There’s weight attached to every word everyone worked to remain true to Scripture …
Cyrus said that after a viewing of it, a father came straight up in tears, saying that the portrayal made him “want to be a better father for my son.”
Q: It appears that Joseph believed in Jesus’ abilities — that came across, correct?
It’s evident that he knew that his son was special … the evidence was clear and reenforced what he believed in. He’s saying to Mary, “Did you see? It’s true. We’ve got to go …”
Q: Final thoughts?
The movie business can be relentless, but when you get into a project like “The Young Messiah,” you remember that’s the reason you got into it.
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