16 Movie Stunts That Went Horribly Wrong –
A huge explosion goes off after an epic fight sequence and in the foreground, through a cloud of clearing smoke, you see the hero, walking away relatively unscathed while dusting his/her shoulders off. It’s the cliche action star shot. But as great as they look on film, these shots don’t always play out that smoothly behind the scenes.Here are some movie stunts gone horribly wrong that you probably never even knew about.
Isla Fisher – Now You See MeThe actress was “trapped” in an underwater tank, and the script called for her to panic and bang desperately on the glass. What the people on set didn’t notice was that Fisher had become entangled in her chains, and was actually panicking. She spent two and a half minutes struggling underwater before she was finally able to free herself and get to safety.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt – Premium RushBeing a New York City bike messenger is one job you couldn’t pay me enough to do. Hell, I live in Toronto and I wouldn’t ride a bike downtown. Those guys are fucking crazy. And apparently, faking it for a movie is just as dangerous. Just ask Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who ended up with 30 stitches in his arm after slamming into a cab while filming a scene for 2012’s Premium Rush.Turns out Levitt has some bad luck with bikes. In 2018, on the set of Power, he flipped over the handlebars of a bike and landed in urgent care. Maybe just stick to movies with no bikes pal, or at least let the stunt guys handle it for you.
Charlize Theron – Æon FluxRemember Charlize Theron in Æon Flux? Ya probably not, unless you’re one of the four people who actually watched it. Unfortunately for her, she’ll probably never forget it after she fell during a stunt and seriously injured her neck. Theron was nearly paralyzed and spent eight weeks in the hospital. The damage caused by the fall even forced her to have neck fusion surgery years later.
Aaron Paul – Breaking BadAaron Paul was almost crushed on the set of the hit TV series Breaking Bad. The actor was asked to stand underneath a large boulder for a specific shot. No problem, and it went off without a hitch. It wasn’t until he stepped away that the boulder came crashing down, landing in the exact same spot where he had just been standing.
Michael J. Fox – Back to the Future Part IIIIn his autobiography Lucky Man, Michael J. Fox described the time he almost died while making Back to the Future Part III. For the scene when Mad Dog tries to lynch Marty Mcfly, he was supposed to act like he was struggling, but what the crew didn’t realize was that Fox wasn’t just giving a truly breathtaking performance, he was actually being hung. By the time they cut him down, he was unconscious, but thankfully he ended up being okay.To top it off, the shot turned out so good, they used it. So what we see in the movie is basically real.
George Clooney – SyrianaWhile shooting a torture scene for his 2005 movie Syriana, Clooney cracked open his skull and suffered some severe spinal injuries. The pain was so bad, the actor revealed that he contemplated taking his own life. He eventually recovered and went on to say, “I went to a pain-management guy whose idea was, ‘You can’t mourn for how you used to feel, because you’re never going to feel that way again.’”
Sylvester Stallone – Rocky IVI think it’s safe to say that we all know Rocky Balboa and Ivan Drago weren’t actually pounding each other’s faces in. The fight scenes were all heavily choreographed, and no matter how amazing they looked the first time you saw Rocky IV, they’re fake. Except for that one time…After watching the historic 1985 match between middleweight boxers Marvin Hagler and Tommy Hearns, Stallone was inspired and decided to ask co-star Dolph Lundgren, who he admittedly had a hate-hate relationship with at the time, to really try and knock him out during one of their fight scenes. That bright idea landed Sly in the ICU for nearly a week after his heart swelled up from banging into his ribs so hard, an injury that normally occurs in car accidents.
Bob Denver – Gilligan’s IslandAs highly trained as they are, having wild animals on set always increases the risk factor. Especially when said animal is a damn lion. Unfortunately, Bob Denver learned that the hard way during a scene for Gilligan’s Island when he was nearly mauled by one. Luckily though, the lion slipped attempting to jump at the actor, which gave the trainer enough time to intervene.
Diane Kruger – Inglourious BasterdsDiane Kruger’s character Bridget von Hammersmark suffers a pretty gruesome death in Inglourious Basterds. The actress was supposed to be choked by an offscreen actor, but when director Quentin Tarantino decided to do the honours he got a little carried away and squeezed too tightly, accidentally causing Kruger to pass out.
Halle Berry – Die Another DayIf you sign up to be a Bond girl, one thing’s a guarantee, 007’s getting you under the sheets. But Halle Berry got more than she bargained for while filming Die Another Day. During her steamy sex scene with Pierce Brosnan, Berry was supposed to seductively slice and eat a fig, which she did, and it was hot… right up until she started choking.Brosnan recalled the freak accident, saying, “Suddenly there was no sound coming out. She was waving her arms and I was banging her on the back. I was about to put my arms around her and start doing the Heimlich manoeuvre, but the both of us were kind of naked. Somehow she expelled the fruit, which was a good thing.” He playfully added, “I was certainly in no position to give the Heimlich to Halle at that moment.”I don’t know Pierce. If you ask me, you were in the perfect position.
Uma Thurman – Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning ThiefUma Thurman had a close call on set when a parked van positioned behind her started rolling downhill. The actress would have been crushed by the vehicle if it wasn’t for the quick actions of her co-star and apparent real-life superhero Pierce Brosnan, who jumped into the van and stopped it.Good guy Pierce, at it again.
Gerard Butler – Chasing MavericksGerard Butler nearly drowned while shooting a surfing scene for 2011’s Chasing Mavericks. After a massive wave crashed into him, he was caught in what’s known as a two-wave hold down, when one wave takes a person too deep to surface before another wave hits. He suffered some major injuries, which unfortunately led to a painkiller addiction and a brief stint in rehab, but Butler has since turned his life around.
Matthew Fox – Lost This one is so crazy, it’s actually hard to believe. For the finale of Lost, Matthew Fox was shooting a fight scene with fellow cast member Terry O’Quinn. In the scene, Fox’s character gets stabbed in the abdomen with what was supposed to be a collapsable stunt knife, but somehow it got mixed up with a real one, which they were using to film other shots with. It’s a good thing the actor had on protective kevlar padding and only suffered some bruising, because he could’ve easily been seriously injured or killed.
Jackie Chan – Pretty much all of his moviesJackie Chan’s calling card has always been that he does his own stunts, and with that comes a slew of expected injuries. I still remember when I found out that he broke his foot halfway through the filming of his first breakout movie in North America, Rumble in the Bronx. Instead of delaying the shooting schedule, they just painted up his cast to look like his other shoe, and he carried on. Crazy.But perhaps his most severe injury happened on the set of Armour of God II: Operation Condor, when Chan fell and suffered a serious brain injury that required surgery and a metal plate, which he still has in his head today.
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: MockingjayJennifer is no stranger to stunt accidents. While making The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, she seriously injured her ear during an underwater sequence and was partially deaf for months. But it was a mishap on the set of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay that really caused a scare.During the filming of a tunnel scene, one of the smoke machines broke and began spewing dense smoke at the actress, nearly suffocating her. It took several minutes before crew members could rescue her, and filming had to be put on halt while she recovered from nausea and vertigo.
Brad Pitt – TroyThis movie turned out to be pretty good, but making it was anything but that. Brad Pitt, who played the ancient warrior Achilles, was filming a combat sequence and ended up rupturing his, umm, Achilles. Oh, the irony.