Being a Human Lightning Rod Is Oddly Relatable

Getting struck by lightning is, famously, fairly uncommon. In the brand new fictional brief movie “Don vs Lightning,” by Johnny Burns and Pier van Tijn, a standoffish fisherman within the Scottish Highlands contends with a unusual sample: getting zapped again and again.

Don, performed by Peter Mullan—whose ream of a résumé consists of “War Horse,” “Westworld,” “My Name is Joe,” and Amazon’s forthcoming “Lord of the Rings” TV sequence—trudges down an empty highway, carrying a sort out field and a fishing pole. As a purple Volkswagen crests the hill behind him, he seems to be suspiciously up on the sky, the place clouds are gathering. The driver is his talkative neighbor Maggie, performed by Joanna Scanlan, who stops her automobile and places down the window for a chat. She asks if Don would love a elevate into city. He wouldn’t. A second after Maggie drives away, a lightning bolt strikes Don, who falls to his knees and keels over.

This shouldn’t be the cantankerous fisherman’s first encounter with lightning. “The whole town’s worried, though I told them not to be,” Maggie says afterward, on the hospital. “ ‘Don’t worry about Donald Campbell,’ I said. ‘This is just his thing.’ ”

The movie relies on the true story of Roy Sullivan, a Shenandoah National Park ranger who survived seven lightning strikes. Sullivan took to carrying a can of water round on stormy days in case he needed to put his hair out, in accordance with Burns, who wrote and directed the movie with van Tijn. “He just kept getting fed up because his friends would just avoid him,” Burns mentioned. “No one really knew what was going on, and it never seemed to really hurt him that badly. But it was just this massive inconvenience.”

Don, whose affliction fascinates his neighbors, finds the village’s consideration suffocating. In a ironmongery store the place he’s gone to get fishing provides, a involved shopper corners him to ask if there’s something he wants. “Hooks,” he says. After he will get struck once more, simply outdoors the door, Don walks again into the store, grabs a bottle off the counter, douses his singed shoulder, and crashes sideways onto the bottom.

On set, Mullan did the vast majority of the falls himself. “We had a stunt person. And Peter was, like, ‘No, it’s all right,’ ” the producer Sonya Sier mentioned. “He was just, like, throwing himself about.” “Which was great,” Burns added, “until we needed smoke coming out from where he’d been struck,” and the actor obtained burned by a match caught to the again of his sweater. “He was, like, ‘Maybe you guys could do that in post.’ ”

As the lightning strikes add up, Don’s prickly exterior begins to put on down. It can be exhausting to not take the strikes as a private assault from on excessive, however the huge grump appears unsurprised that nature, or a divine energy, might have taken difficulty together with his existence. Almost two years into an ongoing pandemic, his weary acceptance of the uncontrollable feels acquainted. “I think that underlying sense of the universe being out to get you, and there not being anything you can do about it,” van Tijn mentioned, “feels like a pretty pertinent message right now.”

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