Already, Jim Caviezel is dreading the press junket. ”It’s the hardest film to explain without giving the story away,” says the ”Frequency” costar, playing a mysterious man named Catch, who strikes up a romance with a police officer (Lopez) after saving her life. Director Mandoki (”Message in a Bottle”) compares the drama with ”The Sixth Sense.” ”Even though the story’s very different,” he says, ”there’s something connected to that movie. These are two haunted people in a similar way.”
But the pair didn’t come together easily. Caviezel initially turned down the role in the hopes of landing the lead in ”Pearl Harbor.” But when Aaron Eckhart dropped out of playing Catch a few weeks before filming was to begin, ”Pearl Harbor”’s loss was Mandoki’s gain. Lopez, meanwhile, butted heads with Warner Bros. over her salary, which she demanded be raised from $5 million to $8 million. They settled at $7 million, but not before Mandoki briefly considered Ashley Judd.
Once on set, Lopez apparently kept her diva reputation intact. ”There was one moment where they had already done all of her close ups, and they were shooting me,” Caviezel recalls. ”All of a sudden she began to weep. I was just sick that the camera was not on her. At the end of the scene her head dropped and she whispered to me, ‘I always do my best work off camera.”’