One of Mel Gibson’s most enduring films is a little film about the life of one Jesus Christ. The Passion of the Christ, which Gibson directed, has become as closely associated with him as Braveheart and The Beaver (no?). It made so much money that if he were to never make another film, the vast fortunes made from it alone would keep him and his children secure for the rest of their lives.
The film also infamously met a raft of complaints from various quarters. And if anyone connected to the film had any right to complain, it’s the star himself, Jim Caviezel. In an article about workplace injuries unique to celebs, we briefly touched on his and other actors’ workplace injuries. Here’s the director’s cut version of Jim’s injuries.
Jesus delivered the timeless message of loving one’s enemies on the Sermon on the Mount. While Mel and crew were recreating that sermon for the film, someone (or something) seemed to have been quietly observing and trying to send a message.
Jim famously got hit by lightning while reciting the “Love your enemies” lines in Aramaic. Interestingly, it was the film’s assistant director Jan Michelini who got struck by lightning first and who got hit twice. Being struck by an element from the heavens while filming what would become a highly controversial movie is almost as coincidental as the actor’s initials being the same as the man he portrayed.
There’s no shortage of fake crowns of thorns, crosses, and whips that the filmmakers could have used to avoid injurious mishaps. Instead, they opted for realistic materials such as the whip that dealt the actor ungodly pain from a flogging gone wrong.
While filming the scourging scene, one of the actors missed his aim and accidentally struck JC instead of the whipping post that was supposed to receive the whip. And again in another take. This was just in the second sorrowful mystery — there were more to come.
Mr. Caviezel also had to sit at the makeup chair from 2:00 AM well until around 10:00 AM so hair and makeup artists could put makeup on him and apply single strands of beard hair that would make him look like a proper messiah.
In addition, he had to work several days with one eye cosmetically shut to make it look swollen. This was for scenes where Jesus wore a crown of thorns as well as for the rest of the Stations of the Cross sequences.
From all this, Jim suffered from migraines, which was relatively milder compared to what he was yet to endure.
Dislocated shoulders and more
Some actors go on extreme diets to slim down or pack on the pounds to play a role. Jim didn’t have to do either, but he did undergo rigorous training to play Jesus. Still, his training proved inadequate to play one of the most popular carpenters the world has known.
While filming scenes of the walk to Golgotha, the actor had to carry a 150-pound wooden crucifix. Although he was able to do that through most of the filming, one of the Roman soldiers who was supposed to catch the crucifix failed to do so in a scene where Jesus falls to the ground. This resulted in dislocated shoulders, some slight mouth injuries, and an almost crushed skull all caused by the immensely heavy and burdensome cross.
A bout of pneumonia
Towards the end of filming, JC would suffer even more. At this point, it was a small consolation that he was spared from having his hand accidentally nailed on the cross. But while filming the crucifixion scenes, the actor — clad in just a loincloth — had to soldier against severe winter winds.
There are no accounts in scripture as to whether Jesus himself suffered from anything else other than getting his side pierced before he passed on. Meanwhile, the actor who played Jesus in a movie lived to tell that he was afflicted with lung infection and pneumonia.
Can you name a film that Jim Caviezel had starred in after this one? We didn’t think so either. After the film’s astonishing success, Mel Gibson’s career did not slow down like he predicted it would — but its main star’s did.
Throughout the film’s production and subsequent release, it would appear that Jim had reason to complain about the injuries he sustained while working in such dreadful conditions. But he did not. He is even slated to star in the sequel. One can only hope that the sequel he signed on for will be far less violent.
The cross that Hollywood actors have to bear is much different than yours, dear reader. We pray that you don’t suffer in silence and endure unbearable working conditions in the conduct of your duties. Talk to Seattle personal injury attorneys Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams to learn what damages you’re entitled to receive for any workplace scourging.