Saturday, November 15, 2003

Passion latest -- changes name again and whom did lightning strike?

A circular email has just gone round from The Passion fan website and there are some new FAQs there. It seems that the film has changed its name again -- it is now The Passion of the Christ. I'd say a slightly preferable title, if anything, given that it encourages people to ask what "the Christ" means in a way that "Christ" on its own does not (cf. Jesus Christ Superstar, Herod's song, "Someone Christ, King of the Jews"!).

One FAQ of interest is "Was Jim Caviezel really struck by lightning?". This story emerged recently in the media -- there were several news reports stating that Jim Caviezel had been struck by lightning during the filming. Some reported the event as if it had happened recently rather than during the filming, which was finished some time ago. Now this is an odd business, because I reckon that Jim Caviezel's name has only got attached to this story recently. Earlier on there was a story circulating about a person (anon.) getting struck by lightning -- but s/he was not named as Caviezel. Indeed the FAQ in question, which answers the above question with a "Yes!", also features the earlier version of the story, in an interview excerpt from Mel Gibson:
"There have been a lot of unusual things happening, good things like people being healed of diseases, a couple of people have had sight and hearing restored, another guy was struck by lightning while we were filming the crucifixion scene and he just got up and walked away."
Clearly the character is not Caviezel -- Gibson would not have described him as "another guy" and during the filming of the crucifixion, Caviezel would presumably have been on the cross and not able to get up and walk away. I wonder here whether we have something that often occurs in oral tradition, and is as prevalent in internet lore, the subsequent naming of an originally anonymous character? I can think of at least two ways that my theory could be refuted: (1) someone ask Jim Caviezel if he was struck by lightning when the filming took place; (2) someone find an early version of the story that names Caviezel rather than an anonymous "guy".

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