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Miracles, Stylists, and Lots of Aramaic
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Via Meryl Yourish, I read that the lead actor and assistant director of Mel Gibson's movie about Jesus, The Passion of Christ, were hit by lightning during filming.

Hmm, I thought. Sounds like bullshit to me, but it is the BBC reporting this, right? So I Google.

So here's a New York Daily News article on the movie, in which Gibson is interviewed. Here's what he says about miracles on the set:

"There is an interesting power in the script," [Gibson] adds. "A lot of unusual things have been happening good things, like people being healed of diseases. A guy who was struck by lightning while we were filming the crucifixion scene just got up and walked away."

So now it's not Jim Caviezel, who plays Jesus, or Jan Michelini, the assistant director, but "a guy".

Um, yeah.

And people are being healed of diseases on the set. Which probably makes it a lot easier to justify going overbudget or past schedule to the movie executives: "I know we're two months over schedule, but last week we cured two cases of diabetes and a goiter."

And there's other fun stuff in this article. For example, even though I'd heard of the film, I hadn't realized that it wasn't going to be in English, or even have subtitles:

The movie will be spoken entirely in Aramaic and Latin, the languages spoken in Jerusalem in Jesus' time.

For those of us who haven't mastered Aramaic but enjoy films with subtitles, we're out of luck. There won't be any subtitles. Whether this is a stroke of genius or an attempt to commit career suicide, it's an eye-opening example of a major Hollywood star defying Hollywood logic.

Or perhaps defying logic altogether.

Gibson says:

"It will lend even more authenticity and realism to the film," he says. "Subtitles would somehow spoil the effect that I want to achieve. It would alienate you and you'd be very aware that you were watching a film if you saw lettering coming up on the bottom of it. Hopefully, I'll be able to transcend the language barriers with my visual storytelling. If I fail, I fail, but at least it'll be a monumental failure."

Subtitles would spoil the effect you want to achieve? You mean, communicating a story?

It will be extremely interesting to see how this one fares at the box office. I'd predict utter failure, but then, I predicted Titanic would crash at the box office too, so my record there isn't exactly great.

Actually, I'm sure it'll be great. Just take it from...Jesus' stylist?

"There's a pride that all of us have because we realize we are working on an important movie that could change a lot of lives," says Vera Mitchell, Caviezel's personal stylist on the film.

And boy, did he need a stylist:

Not only did Caviezel spend 15 days on the cross, he endured days in ropes and chains, being scourged and whipped.

I mean, you need lots of mousse to keep your hair in place when you're being scourged. Now that's method acting!

But it'll be worth it when all those converts come running to Christ:

"Mel likes to put violence in his movies," the actor says, "but all he cares about is making it look true to the text. Never before has a film of our Lord been shown like this one. By the time [audiences] get to the crucifixion scene, I believe there will be many who can't take it and will have to walk out I guarantee it. And I believe there will be many who will stay and be drawn to the truth."

Yeah. I can't wait.

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