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Hurricane Irene: Actor Jim Caviezel among New York evacuees

August 28, 2011 |  2:15 pm


Many New Yorkers rode out the rain and wind of Hurricane Irene by gathering with friends, drinking wine and dipping into their Netflix queues Saturday night. There was too much water outside to do anything else.

But you'd think the man best known to many American filmgoers as Jesus Christ might have had a different experience. After all, he's a Hollywood actor. Also, can't he walk on water?

Turns out that actor Jim Caviezel was not only stuck inside during the hurricane; he was one of thousands who had to trek to a new location because his normal quarters were deemed too dangerous.

Caviezel, who played Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," is living in New York while he shoots the upcoming CBS series "Person of Interest." On Saturday, the Angeleno was told he had to move from his hotel in Battery Park City, a low-lying area near the Hudson River, to a safer place.

 "They said I need to go to a hotel somewhere else in Manhattan. So I guess I'm going," he said Saturday afternoon, a slightly resigned note in his voice, shortly before conditions began to worsen.

A lot of New Yorkers defied the orders and remained where they were, reluctant to uproot their lives for what they believed was a remote possibility of catastrophe. Caviezel said he thought about it for a moment, then remembered an experience he had during a different natural disaster -- the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

"I was living in the Valley at the time, and I was in a dead sleep. Everything shook and collapsed. I woke up and found my nose about an inch from [what used to be] the ceiling," he said. "I thought maybe this time it was best to evacuate."

Caviezel, 42, said he planned mostly on sleeping while the hurricane hit Saturday night. He needed to: He and his co-stars shot all day Friday and through the night into Saturday morning. Producers on the J.J. Abrams show knew they couldn't shoot during the day Saturday, what with the hurricane coming and a mass-transit shutdown preventing the crew from reaching the set. (Sunday was a scheduled day off, a bit of timing that dovetailed nicely with Mother Nature.)

We've yet to hear from Caviezel or his representative thus far on Sunday, although the evacuation order that forced him to leave was lifted at 3 p.m.

There were few known disruptions to cellphone or electricity services in New York City, but Caviezel found the emergency protocol handed out to the show's talent helpful, if quaint.

"It's interesting to find out things this way," he said. "They told us they may not be able to text or email during the hurricane, so they just gave a sheet of paper with seven [eventualities], and if any of them happened, then we weren't to show up for work on Monday. It was kind of old-fashioned."

Biblical, even.

Hurricane Irene: No one 'dodged a bullet'

Residents rescue a dolphin beached by Irene

Irene's wrath gives way to sun in North Carolina

-- Steven Zeitchik in New York

Photo: Jim Caviezel in the movie "Madison." Credit: Robert Marshak/MGM