Andrew Southam/cpi syndication

With galvanizing charisma, Jim Caviezel has made a fine career of playing enigmatic miracle workers, from Jesus Christ to Bobby Jones to the mysterious John Reese on CBS’ hit drama Person of Interest. In this month’s When the Game Stands Tall, the 45-year-old Caviezel plays real-life Coach Bob Ladouceur, who led his scrappy high school football squad to a, well, miraculous 151-game winning streak a decade ago. Here, Caviezel chats with American Way about the film.

American Way: Discuss Coach Ladouceur’s winning formula.
Jim Caviezel: He says, “I’m not asking you to play a perfect game. What I’m asking of you, and what you should be asking of yourself, is to give a perfect effort on every play from snap to whistle.” That means giving your absolute best every second you’re out there, which generates trust and brotherhood and accomplishment, no matter the final score. It was important to him that the boys on his team be able to count on each other and to count on him, which really resonates for me.

AW: The film’s tag line is: “It’s not how hard you fall; it’s how you get back up.” What does that mean to you?
JC: Champions in life or sport are not created through a lack of adversity. Champions are the people who look at adversity square in the face and decide, “Today is not the day I will be defeated.” It’s not how hard you hit others; it’s how hard you can get hit and get back up, ready to do it again. This is something that is truly applicable in a universal way in everyone’s life.