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Cress Williams' Original Black Lightning Suit Burned Him With Electricity On Set

Superheroes regularly put themselves in harm's way. And although actors will sometimes have to perform their own stunts, they can usually rest easy that they'll be fairly safe on-set. Unfortunately, setbacks happened, as Cress Williams, who played Jefferson Pierce, a.k.a. Black Lightning, on The CW show of the same name, learned all too well. 

However, Williams' greatest nemesis wasn't some superpowered baddie; it was the suit he was wearing. When speaking to The Chicago Tribune, he went over the multiple ways the suit actually worked against him in several instances. For starters, the suit wasn't the easiest thing to maneuver in, as he stated, "The chest piece is made of hard plastic and during the first season, where that piece would meet my underarm, there wasn't much give. So we discovered that when I was throwing punches, it was digging into the skin. When I'd take off the suit at the end of the night I'd be like, 'Why do I have all these bruises?'"

Impractical superhero suits are par the course for this kind of thing. Michael Keaton famously couldn't turn his head in his 1989 "Batman" suit. However, having the suit dig into the skin would prove to be the least of his problems once an electrical wire got exposed.

At least he wasn't shocked with black lightning

Cress Williams had a rough go of it from the start. While filming the pilot, the team discovered a major issue with the suit he had to wear. While the electricity seen in the show is obviously a visual effect, the suit did contain electrical components to make the LED lights go off. That means there was wiring in the suit, and this created problems. 

Williams went on to tell The Tribune, "One night my stunt double was like, 'Ow, the suit burned me.' And I was like, 'Wait, what?' And then literally the next day, I'm in the suit — it's the same suit but we each have our own suit, if that makes sense — and I was standing there and I felt something pinching me on my hand." Unfortunately, the suit was comprised of various layers, so despite his best efforts to try to move the suit around to where it didn't hurt him, it wasn't to much avail. Someone was able to reach in there to get a wire, but it took until the end of filming to uncover the issue. He concluded, "It wasn't until later at the end of the night, we took the glove off and realized somehow the wire had touched my skin and was burning me."

This was during the pilot episode, and Williams went on to say how they ultimately fixed the problem. But it definitely gives new meaning to suffering for one's art.