Acting isn’t one of those professions that come to mind when someone thinks of a high-risk job with a number of occupational hazards. Most people might think of a construction site or a machine shop before ever thinking of a Hollywood film set. Many of us have an idea that the life of a star is rather pampered and cushy. However, a Hollywood film set really is one big construction site with all the equipment rigs and built set pieces around. Going even further, film crews work very long hours and may not always be on their A-game towards the end of the shoot. It should also be noted that stunt-people and actors and actresses that do their own stunts are always susceptible to injury. Finally, a film set is also a place where wild and sometimes dangerous animals are present if a scene calls for it.
When you think about it, a film set is a very dangerous place. It’s no wonder these ten actors and actresses experienced their injuries.
10. Ben Stiller – Ferret bite to the face
In the film, Jennifer Aniston’s character has a pet ferret. While filming a scene where the ferret was to be in Stiller’s possession, the ferret went for Stiller’s face and according to Stiller the ferret “literally attached itself to my chin!” If you replace the ferret with a small dog, it would probably have resembled a scene in There’s Something About Mary when Mary’s neighbor’s dog does the same thing to Stiller’s character.
The crew took the bite very seriously and Stiller was given a rabies shot for the injury.
9. Jennifer Lawrence – Choking on fog
While filming for Mockingjay, the next installment in the popular Hunger Games film franchise, Jennifer Lawrence was filming a scene that incorporated the use of a fog machine. It’s reported that something in the machine broke down and it began to function improperly. The machine began to spew forth a thick, dense smoke and according to crew on set, Lawrence began hacking and gagging. An assistant director shouted orders to turn off the fog and turn on fans to clear away the offending haze, but Lawrence still experienced vertigo and nausea from the fog and lack of oxygen.
In addition, Lawrence also experienced an injury when filming Catching Fire, the second installment of the Hunger Games films. An underwater injury reportedly left the actress deaf in one ear for a number of months.
8. Harrison Ford – Broken leg on the Millennium Falcon
Fanboys across the globe lost their breaths when news hit that production on the next Star Wars film might be delayed due to Harrison Ford having injured his left ankle on the set of the highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII from director JJ Abrams. When news first hit it was reported that Ford had only injured his ankle, the injury graduated to broken status, and then “ankle” graduated to “leg”.
The new film is reportedly relying on practical sets and effects over CGI to capture the magic of the original trilogy from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. A hydraulic door on the set of the iconic Millennium Falcon star-ship malfunctioned and fell on Ford’s leg.
7. Leonardo DiCaprio – Broke a glass in his fist
While filming a scene for Quentin Tarantino’s controversial film Django Unchained, DiCaprio’s character of fictional plantation slave owner Calvin Candie is supposed to slam a glass on a table while justifying slavery by presenting a bizarre idea on why the black race is genetically inferior to the white race.
When DiCaprio slams the glass, he did so with such force that the glass broke in his hand. Instead of stopping the scene, DiCaprio stayed in character and used the bleeding injury to his advantage since it worked so well with Candie’s dialogue. The scene was kept as is and that is indeed DiCaprio’s real blood in the film.
6. Brad Pitt – Injures Achilles Tendon while playing Achilles
It’s never good to laugh at somebody when they’ve experienced an injury, but one can’t help but chuckle at the irony of Brad Pitt’s injury while filming the epic Troy.
A little background: Achilles is a demi-god of Greek mythology that could only be killed by piercing him in the only spot on his body that wasn’t invincible, his Achilles heel. This legend is actually where the name for that part of our bodies originates.
During a fight scene, while playing the character Achilles, Pitt landed on his foot at a weird angle and injured his Achilles tendon. It’s the kind of thing that sounds like a completely made up Hollywood story, but it actually happened!
5. Halle Berry – Arm broken by Robert Downey Jr.
Before putting a bruise on Halle Berry’s career, the film Gothika (rating 14% Rotten at Rotten Tomatoes) decided to go ahead and break her arm as well. Of course it wasn’t the film that broke Berry’s arm, but it was the work of co-star Robert Downey Jr.
While filming a scene in which Downey’s character had to twist Berry’s arm, a slight miscalculation on behalf of Downey led to what he described as a popping sound. Berry was rushed to the hospital and a halt was put on production until Berry could return to set.
It’s a shame Berry had to suffer to make a film as bad as Gothika, but it could have been worse; it could have been Catwoman.
4. Viggo Mortensen – Broken tooth, broken toes, and nearly drowning.
Viggo Mortensen definitely suffered for his art when filming Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films.
The actor broke his toes when kicking an Orc helmet in one of the films. The scream of grief for the possible death of his Hobbit companions that followed in the films was actually a real scream of pain.
Mortensen also chipped a tooth while filming the battle at Helm’s Deep. Viggo just glued the tooth back on and kept filming so he could use the pain in his performance.
A lot of the filming in the Rings films took place at real locations. During a scene in a body of water, Mortensen got pulled down by an undertow and nearly drowned.
3. Tom Cruise – Hurt his foot kicking a guy in the testicles.
During the filming of Jack Reacher, Tom Cruise was filming a scene where his Jack Reacher character had to keep kicking an adversary in the crotch. Since the other actor obviously had some kind of protection over the area as Tom has stated “no testicles were injured in the making of this film!”Cruise’s foot began to swell after all the repeated kicking over several takes. It eventually got so bad that Cruise had to barely tie his shoe laces, as his swelling foot was getting too big for his shoe.
2. Hilary Swank – Stitches from a pair of suspenders.
During the filming of P.S. I Love You, Gerard Butler’s character was doing a mild striptease for a character played by Hilary Swank. During one of the takes, Swank recalls that she noticed the suspender clip stretching much further than it should be able to and Hilary thought that it was definitely going to hit her. Almost as soon as the thought crossed her mind, the clip hit her in the forehead. Swank couldn’t help but laugh due to the sheer strangeness of the situation, but the make-up crew was at a loss with how to cover it up.
Swank was sent to the hospital where she had to receive stitches to close the wound.
1. Charlize Theron – Screamed until she tore a muscle.
For the film Snow White and the Huntsman, Theron played the evil Queen Ravenna. This required her to yell orders at a number of other characters. Theron said in an interview with MTV that she was so into the roll that all the yelling caused her to tear a muscle in her stomach; an injury that until then she didn’t even think could happen. She claims at one point the pain was so severe that she couldn’t even walk to the Craft Service table to eat.