The crew was on location outside of Rome when a lightning bolt struck the actor and assistant director Jan Michelini. What makes this more strange is this is the second time that Michelini has been struck by lightning during the filming of this movie, according to a report from the BBC. Both men were not badly hurt.
Steve McEveety, the film’s producer told VLife, "I'm about a hundred feet away from them when I glance over and see smoke coming out of Caviezel's ears."
Maybe someone is trying to tell them something?
Michelini was previously struck when a lightning fork zapped his umbrella during filming on top of a hill near Matera in Italy. He only suffered minor injuries consisting of mild burns to the tips of his fingers.
The film is being directed by Mel Gibson, who also co-stars in the feature. It focuses on a controversial interpretation of the last 12 hours of Jesus’ life. It is reportedly based primarily on the scriptures in the New Testament but is “augmented” in part with the visions of a 19th century nun, St Anne Catherine Emmerich. Her visions are recounted in the book “The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ”, and reportedly portray the heads of the Jewish Church as particularly blood thirsty.
Gibson is a practicing “traditionalist” Catholic, a sect that rejects the reforms to the Roman Catholic Church that came out of the Second Vatican Council held in the 1960s. Gibson has drawn fire from Jewish Americans over this film that believe that the Jews are portrayed as overly violent in the feature.
Some have gone as far as calling the film "demonic" and un-Christian.
In a stab towards authenticity the movie’s dialog is being filmed entirely in Latin and Aramaic. This has drawn even more controversy since most historians agree that Latin was not a common language used during the time of Jesus. In fact, according to most historians, the "koine" form of Greek was the primary language in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus used by Jews and Romans. Assyrian Aramaic is widely accepted as the native language of Mary and was used by most Jews in their everyday conversations. Most historians state that Jerusalem at the time was a multi-lingual culture. Latin was used by the Romans but primarily in the western empire and only in military matters among themselves in the East, they spoke ‘koine’ Greek with the natives of Jerusalem but Hebrew was also used at the time and was the official language used in the church.
Perhaps the producers of the film sourced the languages used (except for Greek) from John 19:19-20: "Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: JESUS OF NAZARETH, The King of the Jews. Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek." Or perhaps the fact that “traditionalist” Catholics still celebrate mass in Latin, a practice ended in the Roman Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council when the common vernacular was adopted.
Although, there are some who disagree even on this and argue that Hebrew was used as the common vernacular of the Jews.
The controversial film is set to open on Ash Wednesday this coming February. The New York Times reported this week, “Gibson's company, Icon Productions, and Newmarket Films, a New York-based distribution and marketing company, said the film would be released in a joint partnership.”
That is if the actors aren’t struck down
by lighting before they can complete the film. If you plan to go see the
film, you might want to bring a lightning rod along just in case.