Sometimes the show must really go on no matter what. While actors are often seen as these larger-than-life figures on the big screen, sometimes they end up getting the short end of the stick when it comes to injuries on-set. It’s easy to assume that none of the stunts we see on the screen actually hurt the actors because they’re controlled. That’s not the case.
While many performers are willing to transform their bodies for a role by losing or gaining weight, other actors take it to physical extremes with the stunts they do. Most of our favorite actors have permanent damage done to them because of on-set accidents. One movie injured George Clooney so badly he contemplated suicide!If there was an award for “most pain or damage done to your body in a performance for a role” at the Oscars, these actors would’ve won.
Jared Leto In Chapter 27
Jared Leto is a method actor that doesn’t hold anything back when it comes to transforming himself entirely for a role. While he was playing Mark Chapman, the man who shot and killed John Lennon, Leto admitted he gained so much weight that he abruptly suffered gout.
Leto said that his weight gain hurt his body so much and towards the end of shooting the movie he couldn’t even walk. He ended up having to get a wheelchair because his feet hurt so much he could barely walk. It took him about a year to get back to feeling semi-normal but doesn’t think he’ll ever get back to where he was.
Tom Hanks In Castaway
While Tom Hanks isn’t necessarily known to lose himself in the role that he’s playing, he has gone to extremes on a few occasions. One of those was when he starred in the movie Castaway and lost an insane amount of weight. He was malnourished and lost weight at a pace he never had before during the shooting of the film.
Hanks thinks that losing that weight and then having to gain it back quickly after, along with being “genetically inclined” may have been contributing factors to being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Hanks says he probably won’t be taking on a role like that again.
George Clooney In Syriana
While filming a torture scene in the movie Syriana, Clooney cracked his head open during a stunt and injured his spine. He had to lay up in a hospital bed for a long time and said he even contemplated taking his own life because the pain was so bad. He was unable to move and had headaches where it felt like he was having a stroke.
Doctors couldn’t pinpoint what it was but finally realized that fluid was leaking from his spine. They gave him tons of pain medications that Clooney said didn’t work. He still feels the effects to this day but he was at least able to take home a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his pain.
Mila Kunis dropped down to 95 pounds for a role and she hasn’t been the same since.
Linda Hamilton In Terminator 2: Judgement Day
Linda Hamilton transformed into Sarah Connors in the 1991 Terminator 2 movie. It was one of the first times that a female actor was a true action star in a blockbuster movie, which paved the way for many we see today. But, it didn’t come without a price.
During a scene where she was trying to escape the psych ward and reluctantly accepted help from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s new Terminator, she forgot to put her earplugs in. Arnold let off a big blast in the elevator and the amplified sound caused Hamilton permanent hearing loss.
Jamie Alexander In Thor: The Dark World
While making the 2013 version of Thor, Jamie Alexander took an absolute beating. She slipped from a high surface and did some serious damage to her body. She said that she herniated a disk in her thoracic spine, dislocated her left shoulder, tore her right rhomboid, and chipped the 11th vertebrae.
When she took the fall she thought that she would end up being okay, but she was far from it. She went to the hospital and when she sat in the car her right leg and hand went numb. She had to undergo a month of physical therapy but her spinal injuries still linger.
Mila Kunis In Black Swan
Mila Kunis had to lose a lot of weight for her role in the psychological thriller, Black Swan. She got down to 95 pounds for her role and had to go back to a few old bad habits to do so. She says she used to be a smoker, so she took that up again so that she didn’t really have an appetite.
Kunis says that her body has never been the same. She says that going back to her regular body type will just not happen because her transformation for the role was just too drastic. She claims that when she tried to gain the weight back, it went to different areas of her body than it used to.
Which actor almost hung himself on set by accident? Find out just ahead.
Uma Thurman In Kill Bill: Volume 1
We may have never known about this injury to Uma Thurman if the whole Harvey Weinstein thing didn’t come to light. She talked about how Weinstein assaulted her during the making of Pulp Fiction, and also said that Quinten Tarantino forced her to perform a dangerous driving scene in Kill Bill that left her with lasting damage.
She had to hit 40 miles on a sandy road and would end up losing control of the car and smashing into a tree. She said that she was in so much pain that she thought she would never be able to walk again. It left her with a permanently damaged neck and screwed up knees.
Channing Tatum In The Eagle
While filming The Eagle in Scotland, Channing Tatum and other cast members had to wade into freezing waters. The only way to keep warm was by pouring a mix of boiling hot water and river water down your suit. On the last pour of the day, one of the crew guys poured the water down Tatum’s suit but forgot to dilute the boiling water with colder water.
Basically, he poured scalding hot water down his suit and Tatum said he tried to pull his suit away from his body to get away from the boiling water but that just ended up sending the hot water to his, uh, groin where it did some lasting damage. Tatum’s genitals will never be the same.
Michael J Fox In Back To The Future Part III
During a hanging scene in the third installment of Back to the Future, Michael J Fox nearly lost his life. He had agreed to have a rope tied around his neck for a scene so that it made it look very real. There’s almost no room for error during a stunt like this, and man oh man, there was an error.
Fox didn’t get his hand into place in time to spare his neck from the noose and it was a full 30 seconds before anyone even noticed that he was no longer acting. Fox had written that a close friend was watching this scene happen, and knew Fox was a good actor, but not THAT good to lose color in his face.
Two main characters in the movie Warrior combined for about 7 major injuries. Find out more just ahead.
Jackie Chan In Any Movie He’s Ever Done
Honestly, it’s probably easier to list the movies that Jackie Chan wasn’t injured during the making of the film. He’s always done his own stunts which means that there’s a lot of room for injury. He has broken dozens of bones on set and had many near-death experiences.
Among other things, Chan has suffered damaged eye-brow bones, lip lacerations, knocked out teeth, too many broken fingers to count. He’s broke his breastbone and both ankles. Shall we continue? He’s dislocated his pelvis, shoulders, and cheekbone as well. He’s a walking band-aid and we’re thankful for it.
Leonardo DiCaprio In Django Unchained
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the best improvisers on set. While filming Django Unchained, he was in the middle of a heated monologue when he slammed his hand onto glass that shattered. He sliced his hand very badly, and blood was flowing everywhere.
Instead of seeking medical attention, DiCaprio decided to keep going with the scene and stayed in character so that the real blood could improve his monologue. He then smeared his blood across the face of an unsuspecting Kerry Washington, whom I’m sure was very thrilled.
Joel Edgerton And Tom Hardy In Warrior
It should come as no surprise that a film about the brutal sport of mixed martial arts may have caused some bodily damage to the actors. Both Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy had to seek medical attention at some point during the filming of Warrior.
Joel ended up blowing out his knee and tearing his ACL in the process. He had to get surgery to fix the tear but his knee has never been the same since. Tom, on the other hand, broke his finger, ribs, and toes. Both of them shared black eyes and don’t regret it for a second. The goal was to not have to act out their fights which is exactly what happened.
When you’re your own stunt person, bad things are bound to happen. It’s no different for Michelle Yeoh.
Dylan O’Brien In Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Dylan O’Brien had a horrific accident on the set of Maze Runner that suspended the movie’s production for a long time. The movie came out in early 2018 which was over two years after the production was started. O’Brien suffered severe brain trauma when a stunt involving a motorcycle went wrong and he literally broke his face.
He has four plates in him now that will be there forever and had to get extensive reconstructive surgery to get back to normal. His face after the incident was almost unrecognizable and he says that it’s a miracle that doctors were able to salvage his face.
Daniel Craig In James Bond: Spectre
Craig suffered a knee injury during his latest stint as James Bond. He can thank his co-star and WWE wrestler Dave Bautista. He ended up having to get surgery on a knee injury that he got while being tossed around by Bautista.
Craig completely downplayed the seriousness of the injury, saying that it could’ve happened to him when he got out of the shower. At first, he did resist surgery because he was worried that it would stop filming for a long time. He ended up waiting to get surgery till after he was done shooting.
Michelle Yeoh In Crouch Tiger, Hidden Dragon
It should come as no surprise that Michelle Yeoh has gotten herself into situations where injuries occur on set. With all the amazing stunt work in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon there was bound to be a misstep somewhere.
Yeoh landed wrong on her knee to which it abruptly gave out. She was trying to do a forward jump kick, something she does all the time, but botched the landing. She says she knew that something was wrong when she turned left and her leg went right. She completely tore her ACL and needed surgery and months of rehabilitation. She says she’ll never get back to the way it was.
The movie Aeon Flux almost ruined the career of Charlize Theron after she landed on her neck.
Nicole Kidman In Moulin Rouge!
The set of Moulin Rouge! was not a pleasant one for Nicole Kidman. While rehearsing for a dance routine she would have to perform during the film she fractured a rib. She later would fracture her ribs again when she attempted to put on a corset before they were fully healed.
She said that she wanted to get her waist down to 18 inches, which is the measurement that Vivien Leigh went for in Gone with the Wind. She kept asking the wardrobe people to tighten up her corset until she literally couldn’t breathe anymore.
Brad Pitt In Se7en
So, basically, when you’re Brad Pitt, you get your injuries written into the script after they happen. The actor slipped during a chase scene and his arm went through a windshield, severing a tendon. So, the producer decided that Pitt’s character faced the same injury even though it wasn’t in the original script for Se7en.
They gave Pitt’s character a cast so that they wouldn’t have to put a halter on any filming. The same can’t be said for the movie Troy, in which Pitt ended up severing his Achilles tendon (while playing the warrior Achilles) and had to halt the filming of Troy for 10 weeks.
Charlize Theron In Aeon Flux
Who knew that the 2005 flick Aeon Flux could’ve been the last time we ever saw Charlize Theron on the big screen. The actress says that she was nearly paralyzed for life after attempting a back handspring and landing on her neck. Spectators to the stunt were horrified after seeing her body contort the way it did.
They were only 10 days into shooting the film and Theron would end up herniating a disc in her spine. The injury halted production for eight weeks, which was the amount of time that she felt she needed to get her physical strength back to fully partake in the stunts again.
Jim Caviezel In The Passion Of The Christ
Jim Caviezel was struck by lightning while filming the Sermon on the Mount sequence for The Passion of the Christ. He says that he knew it was going to happen about four seconds before he felt anything. He remembers seeing extras grab the ground as they saw fire coming out of Jim’s head.
Miraculously he would walk away from that with just minor injuries. He wasn’t so lucky the rest of the film though as he suffered a separated shoulder, hypothermia, pneumonia as well as lung and skin infections. If anyone can get through all that pain, it’s definitely Jesus.
Halle Berry In Gothika
In the 2003 film, Gothika, Halle Berry plays a psychologist who finds herself trapped in a sanitarium. There was one scene which found her struggling to resist the doctor — played by Robert Downey Jr.— who was trying to pin her to the cot. During the resistance, she tried to resist so forcefully that she ended up breaking her ulna.
She said that she knew instantly that it was broken and Robert knew it too because you hear the ulna snapping from a mile away. It took her only three weeks to recover enough so that she could continue filming but still feels the effects to this day.
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