In Christian mythology Longinus was a blind Roman centurion that pierced Christ’s side at the crucifixion. Some of Jesus’ blood fell upon his eyes and he was healed. Upon this miracle Longinus believed in Jesus and converted.
In CDI’s final chapter of the Quest Trilogy, actor/producer Carl Weyant, known for his role as in the psychological thriller Karma: Crime. Passion. Reincarnation (2008), as Carlucci Weyant in “The Memory Thief” (2007), as Thad Warner in “The Young and the Restless” (2008), as Jack in “Mysteria” (2011),
and as Carlos in the CDI production of the Shane Hagedorn directed “Ashes of Eden” (2014). portrays the role of this blind Roman soldier.
MMM2weekender.com had the opportunity to interview Carl Weyant in time for the online release of this final chapter of this CDI production.
Your association with Collective Development goes back at least as far as the movie, “Ashes of Eden” in which you had a role. How and when did you first Richard “DJ” Perry?
I first met DJ in the majestic Nilgiri mountains of Ooty, India while filming Karma: Crime, Passion, Reincarnation in 2009. The film broadcasted a diverse set of individuals in front and behind the camera. American, Hindi and german actors, Italian cinematography and wardrobe and Uk based make up ad sound only added to the cultural depth of this film. The experience is still one of the highlights of my journey and a great memory that Dj and I get to share together. Needless to say our relationship certainly blossomed after this experience and we have worked on a number of films including the film “Ashes of Eden” which was directed by Shane Hagedorn. To date I have had the great opportunity to work with the fine men and women of Collective Development.
How did he approach you with the script for “The Christ Slayer”? Did he have a role, or roles, in mind for you in the movie? Or did you approach him and express your interest in this movie?
DJ and i had spoken a few times prior to development of the feature. Around the time when “40 Nights” was being produced, he had expressed his vision in creating a trilogy of these Biblical accounts and it certainly intrigued me. To give a fuller view into my reality at the time, I had left the film industry roughly 2-3 years prior to our conversations. I had no desire to work in film, and if i was to come back, it would have to be something that would have a message and impact the world. I was no longer interested in fame, success, money or anything of the sort. I just wanted to be involved in projects that could help propel the world forward be it in media, technology or health.
DJ had sent me the script to “Chasing the Star” (the second film in the trilogy) saying if I find something appealing to let him know. Naturally, I found the script appealing and the artist in me wanted to play all the roles (laughs) but what DJ didn’t know was that I needed to be pushed hard in order to get me back into the arena.
Around this time he mentioned he was starting to work on the script “The Christ Slayer” and he had me in his mind when writing the script (though he did not initially tell me this) He gave me a choice between “Chasing the Star” or “The Christ Slayer.” He pushed me more for the “Christ Slayer” and since I was not ready to do film I went with it, since it gave me more time to think about what I wanted to do. I had my precautions and fears in wanting to be involved in film in general so I took to lots of reflection, prayer and meditation. Eventually after a few “I don’t know’s” we decided to move forward together, and I’m glad I did.
In “The Christ Slayer,” you portray the Roman soldier Longinus. For those unfamiliar with this Bible character, give us the story on Longinus as he appears in the Bible.
In the Canonical Gospels, Longinus is not mentioned by name and there is very little on his story. What we know is there was a roman soldier who pierced Christ right before His death and said “Truly this was the Son of God” (Mt. 27:54) In order to look deeper into the story, we have to look at various accounts that have been written about Longinus. In Christian mythology Longinus was a blind Roman centurion that pierced Christ’s side at the crucifixion. Some of Jesus’ blood fell upon his eyes and he was healed. Upon this miracle Longinus believed in Jesus and converted. His story is related in the Latin Vulgate Bible during the Crucifixion. His name first appears in the text titled “The Acts of Pilate” where it appended to the apocryphal “Gospel of Nicodemus.” In the “Letter of Herod to Pilate “
Longinus suffered for having pierced Jesus, and he was condemned to a cave where at night a lion would come and maul him until dawn. Having come to believe in the Savior, he received Baptism and decided to leave military service. Longinus left Judea to preach about Jesus Christ the Son of God in his native land (Cappadocia), and his comrades followed him. The fiery words of those who participated in the great events in Judea swayed the hearts and minds of the Cappadocians; Christianity began quickly to spread throughout the city and the surrounding villages. Upon hearing of mass conversions in Cappadocia, the Jewish authorities persuaded Pontius Pilate to send soldiers to Cappadocia to kill Longinus and his companions. They beheaded them, taking the head of Longinus back to Pontius Pilate. Longinus was declared a saint and now is commemorated on October 16 in the Orthodox Church and on March 15 in the Roman Catholic Church.
Did Perry take liberties with his creation of this character as he wrote him, or did he adhere pretty much to the Biblical Longinus?
With many stories from ancient times, we can only take the elements that are detailed and couple it with 3rd party perspectives and imagination/creativity in order to give a fuller understanding. As a Christian, I initially found it difficult to be involved in a story that is not “Biblically accurate” though upon reading it, the message pierced my heart and soul deep within the spirit. The message of redemption, forgiveness and love.
After months of meditation, prayer and signs I quickly came to the belief that in order to give God glory we must sometimes put ourselves in situations that will help propel the gospel. Some will not like it but there are those who don’t know Jesus and will get an opportunity to see His message of love and forgiveness through a different medium. This is what is important, The message.
We are called to sometimes plant the seed and water the seed but God always brings the increase. Too many times, myself included, we only want exact historical accounts detailed in film (which is fine when there are opportunities to do so) but we don’t want to constrain ourselves either, we are in a time where a message within a story is what moves and changes people. If it’s done with a pure, good heart and we give the glory to God, then He will touch the hearts of those who are seeking Him, period.
With all that being said, I believe that Dj’s words and vision behind the project help shape the message in a beautiful way to allow those who don’t know Him to shift their perspective to a greater good.
Could you identify with this character? In what way(s)?
The story of Longinus written in the script spoke to me on countless levels. The story is about a man who is completely lost both in the physical and spiritual realm while being blind so he cannot see what is right in front of him. After an encounter with Christ, healing starts and his heart begins to change. Reading this only highlighted my own journey.
Five years ago, I was anything but a Christian. I lived a very dangerous lifestyle in many areas of my life, love was always in my heart but drugs, alcohol, women, pride and ego consumed my life. One day, I had this radical encounter with the Spirit of Christ and things have never been quite the same from that point. A veil lifted off of my eyes and suddenly I was revealed a truth that I never took notice of before.
My growth has been amazing, my heart has changed in ways that can only be attributed to the power and love of God. Addictions, depression, fault and failure melted off of me with no sense of trying. Truly remarkable. I have always known of God and for a good while I was a straight atheist. Jesus was not real and Christianity was nothing more than a fear based system that manipulated the minds of people around the world for power and money. My spirituality didn’t come into existence until i made contact with the spiritual realm around the time I was in India.
Over the course of almost 10 years I had experiences in many different religions, and practices that eventually led me to the Truth. Now, I have a beautiful family, a present and a future guided by God and my life has been used to help bring others to this place of truth. There is nothing more gratifying than this. Just like Longinus, “I was once blind but now I see.”
What did you personally bring to the way you portrayed Longinus? How did you prepare for this role? What was your biggest challenge in playing this role?.
I believe I was an open temple for the Holy Spirit to use. I could have never portrayed Longinus the way I did unless I had a greater power with me. I read the script twice. Once when it was given and once when we were doing rehearsals (read throughs) outside the pool area of our hotel. Other than that I would quickly glance at the script right before shooting because I trusted God to do a work in me and bring it exactly the way it needed to. I did not prepare in the traditional sense but rather dropped my interpretation of the character and became an open vessel in the moment.
The challenges for me were more on the spiritual end of things. Being that I was playing a blind man, I took to wanting to be in the darkness, within myself. This led to incredible degrees of awareness of the air around me. There was certainly battles raging in my soul and outside of me that for the most part would not win but there were a few times that it would get in and try and stripe me from faith. The great thing about challenges is that they only defeat you temporarily, the growth that occurs after a challenging experience is priceless.
How many days did it take to film “The Christ Slayer”? Where was it filmed?
The film was shot in Yuma, Arizona. As a matter of fact, I’d like to take the opportunity to give props and love to all the people of this area. I had such an amazing time with these folks, so many great conversations and moments, truly a blessing. If you want to find some good hearted, hardworking beautiful people look no further than Yuma. Believe it or not it took a total of 2 weeks to film. Incredible considering the amount of locations, detail and elements that were involved in the telling the story.
What were your thoughts in working under Nathaniel Nose’s direction?
Couldn’t have asked for more. Nathaniel’s attention to detail, his creativity is what makes the actual work part of filming a joy. We spent a lot of time together speaking on the artistic and the spiritual. He truly is a professional in his craft and coming from the “hollywood” circle, I appreciate his dedication, passion and value for production and art. I look forward to working with him again and again.
What did you think of Perry’s depiction of JC?
Dj’s role as Jesus was stunning in this picture. Let’s begin by pointing out that he is playing the most pivotal, powerful and inspirational person that ever walked this earth, not only is this a challenge within itself but the fact that 2+ billion people have a viewpoint of Jesus just makes it a mountain of a role. Watching “40 nights” to “The Christ Slayer” was surely a treat. The choices that Dj took on this film showed the power and growth of Jesus after crucifixion. A wonderful job indeed.
DJ and I have had many a conversation on coming together for a buddy, buddy film and to think that we did and not just any film but one that can and will inspire people across the world is amazing. No words. I’m overjoyed by the experience and what’s to come from it. I believe people will be touched deeply in the spirit and will come to various forms of understanding. I am thankful for all the players involved in the picture, in front and behind the camera. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for every person putting all they had into it.
This is a special story and (I am ) glad that I could have played a part in telling it.
Thank you for your time and interview. God bless you!