FEW FILMS HAVE generated the amount of controversy that Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ has. We have left reviews and analysis of the film and its effects and its merits to other About.com Guides. We only want to point out the events, both miraculous and strange, that have occurred in association with the film.
• The actor who portrays Jesus in the film, James Caviezel (whose initials, coincidentally are J.C.), experienced some strange signs regarding the role. Six months before he ever auditioned for the film, a total stranger walked up to him and said, "You'll be playing Jesus."
• His identification with the character of Jesus was so strong that fans felt compelled to bow down to him when they saw him.
• Mel Gibson said he received similar signs that he believes suggested that he should make this film that he had only been considering. A French woman, who he had never met, approached him out of nowhere and said, "Jesus loves you."
• Caviezel was actually struck by lightning during the filming of the movie. "About four seconds before it happened it was quiet, and then it was like someone slapped my ears," Caviezel told Newsweek. "I had seven or eight seconds of, like, a pink, fuzzy color, and people started screaming. They said I had fire on the left side of my head and light around my body. All I can tell you is that I looked like I went to Don King's hairstylist."
• The assistant director was also struck by lightning. This time, no person was hit, but the bolt struck the cross on which Caviezel was later to be "hung."
• John Debney, who composed the music for the movie, says he battled with Satan as he was working. "I was stretched every which way but loose," Debney said in an interview with Dan Wooding for WorldNetDaily. "I was stretched by Mel Gibson. I was stretched by the Guy Upstairs and also I was stretched by the guy downstairs. What it did was completely strengthen my faith and I have realized something very interesting. I had never before subscribed to the idea that maybe Satan is a real person, but I can attest that he was in my room a lot and I know that he hit everyone on this production. I had all these computers and synthesizers in my studio and the hard drives would go down and the digital picture that lives on the computer with the music would just freeze on his [Satan's] face. Then the volume would go to ten and it would happen all the time."
• Debney believes that it was a miracle that he got to work on the film in the first place. As the composer for such film comedies as Liar, Liar and Bruce Almighty, Debney would not have been the first choice for a film like The Passion of the Christ. But he knew Stephen McEveety, one of the producers, from childhood. At first he was asked just to write some special music for the film, but when Mel Gibson heard it, he hired Debney to score the entire film. "It is a complete miracle that I became involved with the project," he said. Debney found the process equally miraculous. "I didn't have a lot to do with the writing of this music. I have done a lot of music, but literally things would just come out."
Strange things continues to happen in association with the film even during its viewing:
• The film has been called intense, which may have contributed to a fatal heart attack of a 57-year-old woman in Wichita, Kansas while she watched the film.