When you watch a breathtaking scene in a movie where one of the characters exhibits superhuman strength or abilities, at the back of your mind you know that special effects have a huge role to play in that moment. The more a movie breaks the laws of nature, the more the production crew has to work hard to provide a safe environment for the actors and hide all the effects from the viewers.
In addition to exercising the highest possible level of caution in scenes where actors have to perform dangerous stunts, movie producers opt to use stunt professionals instead of the actors. The two main reasons for using stunt doubles include the fact that most insurance companies will not compensate actors who suffer injuries on set, and that these professionals eliminate the headache of having to replace a key actor owing to a serious injury after shooting is already underway. The stunt professionals know how to handle themselves in the worst-case scenarios, making them the ideal people to handle all the risky stunts in a movie.
Sadly, some actors and stunt professionals have lost their lives while shooting a movie, while others are lucky enough to have sustained minor, and at times serious injuries, but lived to tell the story. Regardless of whether the following actors were performing life-threatening stunts or just acting out a part that seemed to have no risk of injury at all, they surely have no wish of reliving these injuries again.
10. Robert Downey Jr. on the set of Iron Man 3
Robert Downey Jr. is an exceptional actor, with some of his best roles coming as Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies and Sherlock Holmes in the Sherlock Holmes films. One of his most recent minor injuries occurred in 2012 when he hurt his ankle while shooting Iron Man 3. However, his injury on the set of Sherlock Holmes was one of the most serious he has ever experienced. While on set, an actor delivered a thundering knockout punch to Downey’s chin. The knockout sent Downey flying and he went out cold upon hitting the ground. Despite being unconscious for approximately six seconds, Downey wanted to continue shooting. However, he had to go to the hospital and received six stitches.
9. Nicole Kidman on the set of Moulin Rouge
Nicole Kidman‘s success in Hollywood has come at the cost of a few injuries. One of her most famous movies, Moulin Rouge, left her with an injury that took almost two years to recover fully from. While on set, Kidman fractured two of her ribs and sustained a knee injury, a situation that led to her shooting the rest of the movie while in a wheelchair.
During the course of filming the thriller movie The Invasion, Kidman and seven other actors sustained minor injuries when the vehicle they were in hit a light pole. Although they were not shooting the movie at that particular moment, the incident caused a bit of a scare at the time.
8. Leonardo DiCaprio on the set of Django Unchained
Leonardo DiCaprio has been acting since the early 1990s, with some of his most notable roles being in films like Titanic, Inception, and The Wolf of Wall Street among many others. Leonardo knows how to embrace and become the character he is playing, a quality that has led to his great success in the movie industry. While shooting the movie Django Unchained, he became so aggressive in a particular scene that it lead to an injury. Leo slammed his hand hard on a table, breaking its glass and slicing his hand open. DiCaprio did not fall out of character but continued with his lines. Although he required some stitches thereafter, that part is undoubtedly one of the best scenes in the movie due to its sheer intensity.
7. Sylvester Stallone on the set of Rocky IV and The Expendables 3
Sylvester Stallone is one of the longest-serving and best-known action movie stars of all time. You cannot expect to watch any of his movies and not find a crazy fight scene, whether it’s hand-to-hand combat or using machine guns. Owing to the nature of his films, he has suffered several injuries during his career. One of his earlier notable injuries that led to his hospitalization includes an injury he suffered while acting as Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV, where Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) hit him hard in the chest. After the hit, Stallone reportedly experienced internal swelling and was forced to spend eight days in intensive care. In his latest movie, The Expendables 3, Stallone injured his back so seriously it landed him in surgery, an injury he describes to be his most serious to date.
6. Jaimie Alexander on the set of Thor: The Dark World
Jaimie Alexander plays the role of a fictional Marvel character called Sif in the movie Thor and its Sequel Thor: The Dark World. Despite being a tough Asgardian Warrior on set, in real life she is as prone to accidents as the best of us. While shooting The Dark World, Alexander fell down a metal staircase and injured her shoulder and vertebrae, injuries that landed her in the hospital. Since it was very early in the morning with no light outside, the accident was almost inevitable. She took a month-long break from filming to ensure a complete recovery, and thereafter she soon resumed her role as a warrior in Asgard.
5. Jim Caviezel on the set of The Passion of the Christ
His role as Jesus Christ in the movie The Passion of the Christ was one of Jim Caviezel‘s all-time favorites, despite the unique challenges he faced on set. During filming, Jim dislocated his shoulder, suffered pneumonia and a lung infection, battled hypothermia, experienced severe headaches and skin infections, and to crown it all he was struck by lightning. The lightning strike was one of the scariest moments that Jim found himself in while shooting the movie. It was unpredictable and bizarre, and the fact that he did not suffer serious injuries from the strike is a miracle in itself.
4. Halle Berry on the set of Several Movies
Halle Berry is an action woman at heart, and thanks to the nature of her roles, she is not a stranger to injuries on set. Berry suffered a foot injury during the filming of Cloud Atlas which took place in Spain; it was, however, a minor injury despite requiring her to spend some time in the hospital. In 2002, while shooting the James Bond movie Die Another Day, Berry sustained an eye injury when a piece of smoke grenade debris flew into her left eye. In 2003 while filming Gothika, Berry broke her arm. In 2004, she was back in hospital thanks to a mishap with a light prop, which hit her on the head while shooting Catwoman.
3. Jackie Chan on the set of Armour of God and The Accidental Spy
Jackie Chan will make you laugh in every movie he is in, and most of the humor is in how he fights the bad guys. Jackie Chan is one actor who has always preferred to do all the stunts himself, although in recent times that is becoming a bit of a challenge. Jackie has had so many injuries in his career that picking out a few is hard. However, one of his most notable injuries includes a skull fracture that he sustained from falling from a tree while shooting Amour of God which led to serious bleeding believed to be coming from his brain. He also damaged his tailbone in 2001 when shooting The Accidental Spy, an injury that caused him to experience temporary paralysis.
2. Malcolm McDowell on the set of A Clockwork Orange
Malcolm McDowell has more than forty years of experience in film, making him one of the longest-serving actors in Hollywood today. Despite the numerous years on the job, Malcolm has been very careful not to spend much time in hospital, despite one particular injury sustained while filming. In the movie A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm’s character is forced to go through a brainwashing scene. This scene left Malcolm with a badly scratched cornea and temporary blindness, resulting from having his eyes forced open for a very long time. It seems as if Malcolm felt the agony of the character first hand, which is why that scene was nothing short of spectacular.
1. Channing Tatum on the set of The Eagle of the Ninth
In his role as Marcus Aquila in the movie The Eagle of the Ninth, Channing Tatum had to wade through freezing rivers in a thin wetsuit. In between takes, an assistant would pour warm water down his wetsuit to keep him warm. The assistant would mix boiling water and the cold water from the river to achieve the perfect temperature. However, the accident happened when the assistant forgot to mix the boiling water with the freezing water from the river. In his words, Tatum experienced an unexplainable and suffocating pain, especially when the scolding water reached his privates. At the hospital, the morphine did wonders on Tatum who is currently in great shape and fully healed.