Easter is here, which means it’s time for flamboyantly gay hats to courageously come out of the closet, and time to ogle Hollywood’s hottest Jesi!
Jesus is one of the most coveted roles in show business, but it’s not for the timid. To succeed, you have to make us believe you’re willing to die for our sins. Not stub your toe for our sins, not get a nasty paper cut for our sins, but you have to convince us you’re willing to get nailed … so we can do the same.
The actors on the following pages all have that Original Sinnocence™, that combination of piousness and grungy hotness. Take a look at our Calvacade of Christ, and decide which one deserves to be crowned awarded “Sexiest Jesus!”
Jeremy Sisto in Jesus
Jesus was a 1999 four-hour NBC mini-series that featured Jeremy in the title role and Debra Messing as the spunkiest Mary Magdalene in history.
In fact, there were rumors that Debra would go on to star in a series of historical biopics, playing various famous women in her own unique style, but unfortunately Incessantly Chattering Lucrezia Borgia and Slapstick Joan of Arc never got off the ground.
Jeremy stood out from other Jesus portrayals by bringing a hot edginess to the role, but I kept praying to see Jesus break out, “Rolling with the Homies.”
Christian Bale in Mary, Mother of Jesus
Mary, Mother of Jesus was a 1999 Hallmark presentation, and featured the … unlikely casting of Oscar-winner Christian Bale as Mary’s put-upon son.
Then again, you’ve got to give Christian credit for ad-libbing this argument with Judas at The Last Supper.
Am I going to walk around and rip your f**king candles down, in the middle of a supper? Then why the f**k are you walking right through? Ah-da-da-dah, like this in the background. What the f**k is it with you? What don’t you f**king understand? You got any f**king idea about, hey, it’s f**king distracting having somebody walking up behind Paul in the middle of the f**king supper ? Give me a f**king answer! What don’t you get about it?
We love borderline sociopath Jesus!
Diogo Morgado in Son Of God
“Look at me. I’m f*cking gorgeous. I’m what the child of Brad and Jennifer would have looked like … if Jennifer had kept her Rachel hair. And yes, this big-screen version of the turgid mini-series The Bible may have been a cynical cash grab, but you’ll be able to see me this fall in the Hallmark series Sweet Jesus, where every week I’ll help a new family cope with trouble and modern strife. In the premiere episode, struggling single mom Lori Loughlin deals with a flamboyantly gay son. He may love loaves now, but when I’m done, he’ll be craving fish.”
Victor Garber in Godspell
Looking like the Sid & Marty Krofft version of Richard Simmons (wait, that’s redundant), Victor Garber is our favorite singing holy act since Godsmack.
We always knew Jesus was a damn hippie, but who knew he was Art Garfunkel?
Dressed like an escapee from the Bozo Home For Broadway Clowns, this Jesus has a ’fro that induces heavenly visions … or as they were referred to in the early 70s, “acid trips.” In fact, the whole endeavor is so heavily clouded with hallucinogens it might take a moment to get your bearings and realize, “Hey, isn’t that the guy from Alias?”
Jim Caviezel in The Passion of Sugar Tits
You knew I had to include him. Yes, he worked with a detestable man to create the first torture porn to receive the Catholic League Seal of Approval, but on the other hand, he is a hot Jesus … in a “lead singer of Creed” kind of way.
Ted Neeley in Jesus Christ, Superstar
“God? … Neeley …. Neeeeeley!”
Ted Neeley is arguably the most famous screen Jesus in this adaptation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock opera. It’s been eons since I’ve seen it, but as I recall Mary Magdelene (Yvonne Elliman) sings “If I Can’t Have You, I Don’t Want Nobody Baby” to Jesus under a disco ball while Murray Head tells him that Siam’s gonna be the witness to the ultimate test of cerebral fitness.
Okay, I may be confused.
But I do remember Jesus looking like the guy in my town who lived in his van and started every conversation with “Psst … Hey kid.”
Ralph Fiennes in The Miracle Maker
Ralph starred in this 2000 novelty version of the classic story … filmed in Claymation! Narrated by Wallace & Gromit, there were a few minor changes made, including The California Raisins as the Three Wise Men, and Gumby as Judas, but Ralph’s inherent hotness made this the most malleable Jesus ever.
Henry Ian Cusick in The Gospel of John
The Gospel of John was a 2004 three-hour epic that featured gorgeous Henry Ian Cusick as Jesus. This interpretation was unique in that they used the so-called “Lost” scriptures that many historians thought were just too incomprehensible and badly-written to follow.
The ending, especially, has caused endless theological debate, as many people feel that Jesus rising from the grave is a total cheat, and they just wasted three hours of their lives on some “it was all a dream” bullsh*t.
But Henry is smoking hot.
Jeffrey Hunter in King of Kings
Once derided as “I Was a Teenage Jesus,” 1961’s King of Kings has since become an Easter favorite, with Jeffrey Hunter boldly going where no man had gone before (it was the first large-budget major studio sound film in English to actually show Christ’s face).
Unfortunately, plans for a Jesus TV series with Jeffrey were scrapped when the pilot didn’t test well, and he was replaced with a talking baked ham.
Robert Powell in Jesus of Nazareth
Robert Powell brought his piercing blue eyes and his Ileanna Douglas looks to this 1977 six-hour mini-series.
He joined an international all-star cast that included Ernest Borgnine, Stacy Keach, Donald Pleasence, Michael York, and James Earl Jones. They all re-teamed the next year for the Irwin Allen disaster flick The F**king Bridge is Collapsing!, but it isn’t as fondly remembered.
Willem Dafoe in The Last Temptation of Christ
Martin Scorsese pissed plenty of people off with this 1988 film, with the suggestion that Jesus may have been tempted by Barbara Hershey’s rack. To be fair, it is a great rack.
But what sets this film apart is that for the first time in screen history, we got to see full frontal savior (and believe me, this was one burning bush).
Willem Dafoe was fearless in the role, revealing a Jesus that was sensitive, conflicted, and hung like a horseman of the apocalypse.
Phil Caracas in Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter
I have to admit I’ve never seen this movie, but the synopsis is just … just … well, here it is:
“The movie begins with Jesus Christ sitting on a beach relaxing and comparing the kingdom of God to a sand castle. He meets up with El Santo and a woman named Mary Magnum. Together they fight lesbian-killing vampires. Jesus fights with mixed martial arts skills and uses his carpentry skills to create weapons with which to slay vampires.
I’m not sure how “sexy” this Jesus is, but Phil did go on to star as Harry Knuckles in a series if films, so maybe there’s more than meets the eye.
Unknown in Him
It’s not an urban legend.
I remember hearing about this mythical 70’s gay adult version of the life of Jesus when I was a kid, thanks to its inclusion in The Golden Turkey Awards, by Harry Medved and his future-wingnut loon brother Michael.
Everything I had heard pointed to the conclusion that it never actually existed, and was just an urban legend passed down like “The Hook Killer,” “Mikey dying from pop rocks and soda,” and “Stevie Nicks blowing coke up … ,” well suffice it to say that I thought it was just another rumor.
As it turns out, Him really did exist, and was actually reviewed back in 1974 by Screw, The Village Voice, Variety , and got a mention in, believe it or not …. Time !
Unfortunately, no copy of the film seems to exist anywhere, which is a shame considering how many faithful are waiting for Jesus Christ to come again. And again. And again.
Well, those are a few of the hottest Jesus portrayals. Any of these your favorite? Or is there another sexy Jesus you’d like to mention? You may be wondering, “But what about the actual Sexy Jesus (Steve Coogan) from Hamlet 2? He played a character who was playing Jesus, so he has to be disqualified. There have to be rules!
*An earlier version of this feature ran in April 2011.