Fact Check

Is This a Real List of Jim Caviezel's Injuries from Filming 'The Passion of the Christ'?

Caviezel has not been shy about the physical toll of filming the 2004 movie.

Published June 15, 2021

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 24:  Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" opens at the Regal Cinemas 14 February 24, 2004 in New York City.  (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images) (Evan Agostini / Getty Images)
NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 24: Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" opens at the Regal Cinemas 14 February 24, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
A copypasta meme accurately lists actor Jim Caviezel's injuries from filming the 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ."

Why no rating on this article? This is a trending topic but has not yet been rated by Snopes for reasons we’ll outline below.

In June 2021, for reasons unknown, a piece of copypasta went viral on social media even though it has been on the internet for years. The copypoasta lists the injuries endured by actor Jim Caviezel during the filming of Mel Gibson's 2004 film "The Passion of the Christ." Here is a version of it, posted to Twitter in 2019:

The copypasta is drawn from two sources: an Internet Movie Database (IMDb) trivia page about the movie, and statements from Caviezel himself.

Some of the items on the list are independently verifiable. In the case of the lightning strike, contemporaneous news reports from the time it happened can be found. For example, in 2003, Entertainment Weekly reported that Caviezel was struck once while the film's assistant director was struck twice:

In one instance, Caviezel and Michelini were together under the latter’s umbrella when they were zapped. ”I’m about a hundred feet away from them, when I glance over and see lightning coming out of Caviezel’s ears. Both Caviezel and Michelini got struck,” producer Steve McEveety said. ”The main bolt hit Caviezel and one of its forks hit Michelini’s umbrella.” Months earlier, Michelini had also been hit while carrying an umbrella, Variety reports. Neither man was hurt in the incidents.

Caviezel has been open about the physical toll shooting the 2004 film had on him, as Catholic News Service reported in 2018:

Making "The Passion," he said, took a lot out of him physically. "It nearly killed me. 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.

"Going out in the cold, at night, and the wind chill, was tremendous. We were at a thousand-foot cliff and the winds would come down on top of it. I had a dislocated left shoulder. On top of that I had pneumonia. I got really sick," he recalled. "But if we had shot that film in a studio, you wouldn't have seen that performance. Was it worth it? Absolutely."

A 2004 article from Today doesn't get specific about how many weeks Caviezel endured being bare-skinned while hanging from the cross for filming but it's clear it was a significant amount of time: "Caviezel dangled nearly naked on a cross in bone-chilling winds through weeks of filming. He was struck by lightning during a recreation of the Sermon on the Mount. An actor playing a Roman torturer cut a 14-inch gash in Caviezel’s back during scenes of Christ’s scourging."

The film was controversial at the time of its release but nevertheless was one of the highest-grossing R-rated films of all time, as Looper notes, adding that "it was accused of antisemitism, and even film critic Roger Ebert called it, 'the most violent film I have ever seen.'" During a 2006 DUI arrest, Gibson made antisemitic remarks.

Gibson is currently planning a sequel titled "The Passion of the Christ: Resurrection," currently slated for release in 2022, with Caviezel stating he has received the script saying the movie will be "bigger than the original."

We reached out to IMDb asking about the publication process for the site's trivia pages about movie productions and will update if we get a response.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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