Saturday, November 15, 2003

More on lightning

After my musings on the lightning story (see previous blog entry), I've taken a look to see if any sources are named. This story names Steve McEveety (producer) as the source:

Controversial Film Struck by Lightning (Nov. 2)

So does this one, but with a fuller story, claiming that it hit Caviezel and Jan Michelini (Assistant director) and that it was the second time Michelini had been hit:

Jesus Actor Struck by Lightning (Oct. 23)

So that would make sense of the Gibson quotation about "another guy", if Michelini was the guy in question, and originally he alone was hit. This next source confirms that version and adds a little more detail:

Lightning Strikes Actor Playing Jesus

and it includes this account of the first strike:
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.
But now this next version is a conglomeration of all the above versions:

Jesus actor hit by lightning
Both Caviezel and his assistant director Michelini were struck. The main bolt hit Caviezel and one of its forks hit Michelini's umbrella.

Neither of the men sustained injuries in the incident.

Michelini has been nicknamed Lightning Boy after being struck twice by lightning during the filming in Italy. He had already suffered light burns on the tips of his fingers in an earlier incident during filming on a hilltop in the town of Matera.
The story is developed further still in this version, which has Michelini holding his umbrella on both occasions:

Lightning Strikes Set of Gibson's 'Passion'
The crew on the film nicknamed the unfortunate fellow "Lightning Boy" after he was struck twice by lightning.

The first time, lightning struck Michelini's umbrella during filming in Matera Italy, according to the AP. Although his fingertips were slightly burned, he once more entered the fray.

A few months later, the poor dupe held the umbrella over himself and actor Jim Caviezel, who plays Jesus Christ in the film. Sure enough, this time both shared human lightning rod honors, although they weren't seriously hurt.
I think I retract my earlier comments that this is a case where a story with an anonymous figure has subsequently acquired a name, but what it does show is just how little care the journalists in these stories are taking to try to represent their sources accurately; the personnel and the details vary quite substantially and yet as far as I can tell it all emerges from just one original associated press story quoting Steve McEveety.

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