From The Atlantic Online:
"Heston looks magnificent, at the height of his ugly-beautiful physicality--and actually he would have made a marvelous Jesus, I think--the antithesis, though, of Von Sydow's bloodless epitome of victimhood."
Funny, I've been of the opinion that Heston would have camped Jesus up; as it is, he was pure country ham in the Baptist role--probably his reaction to not being given the lead...
I did like Von Sydow when he was prophesying there'll come a time when women will ask whole mountains to fall on them...it reminded me of his dark knight in Bergman's The Seventh Seal. And he pontificates and glares at the camera with becoming authority.
Compare that to Cavaziel, who had zero charisma. Had love handles too, which the Romans kept performing impromptu liposuction on.
I'd speak up for King of Kings. Jeffrey Hunter has no real blood in his veins but I suspect Nicholas Ray's real interest was Harry Guardino's Jesus Bar-abbas, whose life is told in parallel (someone even notes they have the same first name).
Intriguing, the way Ray staged the crucial Pilate scene--he doesn't. The whole thing is told to Barabbas, the point being the Romans deem Christ's brand of freedom fighting more dangerous than his. Actually the proper title should have been "The King and the Revolutionary."