The Time Sound Of Freedom Star Jim Caviezel Got Struck By Lightning

Jim Caviezel is lighting up Hollywood with his leading role as Tim Ballard in "Sound of Freedom," but new fans of his may be surprised to hear that the actor once had a life-threatening experience while shooting a different movie nearly twenty years ago. During the filming of Mel Gibson's controversial flick "The Passion of the Christ" in 2004, in which Caviezel took on arguably his biggest role as the titular Jesus, the actor's experience was fraught with peril. Indeed, Caviezel was quite literally struck by lightning while making the movie.

In 2003, well into the production of "The Passion of the Christ," Entertainment Weekly reported that Caviezel had been struck by lightning while filming a scene. Not only that, but assistant director Jan Michelini was also struck by the bolt — marking the second time that he had been hit by lightning while working on the movie. "I'm about a hundred feet away from them, when I glance over and see lightning coming out of Caviezel's ears," producer Steve McEveety told the outlet. "Both Caviezel and Michelini got struck. The main bolt hit Caviezel and one of its forks hit Michelini's umbrella."

Caviezel suffered major health problems due to the incident

Both Jim Caviezel and Jan Michelini survived the lightning strike while shooting the fateful scene in "The Passion of the Christ," and they were subsequently reported as unharmed by the incident. Unfortunately, that's not the complete truth.

In an interview with Peggy Noonan of The Words Group, Caviezel described what the experience felt like. "About four seconds before it happened it was quiet, and then it was like someone slapped my ears," the actor explained. "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."

A botched hairstyle wouldn't be all that Caviezel suffered from the lightning strike. Between the lightning and numerous other injuries sustained during the production (more on those later), the performer ended up in the operating room twice for serious medical procedures. "It nearly killed me," he told Catholic Courier. "Not many people get struck by lightning; I did. Five and a half months of cold. I had to have two heart surgeries, including open-heart surgery, because of that film."

Caviezel sustained other injuries while working on The Passion of the Christ

Getting struck by lightning is bad enough, but that's only one part of the laundry list of injuries Jim Caviezel ended up with throughout the production of "The Passion of the Christ." In one instance, he sustained a deep gash in his back due to an accident in a scene where Jesus is being punished.

Per an account from TODAY, while Caviezel was filming the sequence in which Jesus is whipped, one of the actors with the whips missed the board protecting Caviezel and accidentally struck his back. "I turned around and looked at the guy, and I tell you, I may be playing Jesus, but I felt like Satan at that moment. I turned to him, a couple of expletives came out of my mouth," Caviezel recalled. Unfortunately, he would subsequently get struck again in the back, which left him with a 14-inch gash that would eventually turn into a lasting scar.

To add to the list, Caviezel dislocated a shoulder while carrying a large cross and caught pneumonia due to filming in frigid temperatures for extended periods of time. Despite all of ways the movie damaged the actor's body, Caviezel maintains that he doesn't regret working on the project. "If we had shot that film in a studio, you wouldn't have seen that performance," he told Catholic Courier. "Was it worth it? Absolutely."