Nobody said making a film is supposed to be easy. Actors and directors sacrifice a lot of blood and tears to deliver their projects to the big screen. Even when things are carefully planned out, accidents – or even something worse – can still happen. It may not look it, but movie making can be a dangerous line of work, and there are plenty of people who are aware that being a film star isn’t all glitz and glamour. Here are 10 times things went horribly wrong on movie sets.
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
At the start of the second Lord of the Rings film, Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are saddened when they believe Merry and Pippin have been killed by the orcs. Standing near a burning pile of carcasses, Aragorn kicks a helmet across the grass and lets out a cry of agony. Director Peter Jackson was impressed by Viggo Mortensen’s level of anguish for fictional characters, but the actor’s performance in the take was partially because he fractured his toe during the scene. Mortensen was frequently injured in Middle earth, even losing a tooth in one stunt. That only endears him to fans even more.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1
Few jobs in Hollywood are as dangerous as stuntmen. No matter how many precautions they take, things can still go wrong. While practicing for a broomstick sequence for the first Deathly Hallows film, Daniel Radcliffe’s double David Holmes suffered a serious injury when an explosion knocked him off the broomstick and onto the ground. He lost feeling in his legs and had to be rushed to the hospital. He was paralyzed from the neck down. Radcliffe felt awful about the incident and in the years since has made sure to highlight Holmes’ contributions to the franchise and the friendship the two still have.
This film is living proof that even dramas can cause serious harm. While filming a stunt for Syriana, George Clooney suffered a spinal injury that left him stuck in bed for a month. He also endured severe migraines during his recovery. He couldn’t do publicity for the upcoming Ocean’s Twelve. The actor said things got so bad at one point he considered taking his own life. Surgery was eventually required to repair the damage, and Clooney has been fine ever since. He even took home an Oscar for his role in Syriana, so in a way, it was all worth it in the end.
Sylvester Stallone loves doing his own stunts, but he may have taken things a bit too far for this Rocky sequel. While filming the Italian Stallion’s big fight with Drago, Stallone and Dolph Lundgren punched each other for real. One hit from Sly’s co-star did a considerable amount of damage. Stallone felt a burning in his chest, which was caused by his heart slamming against his breastbone and swelling up, cutting off his blood supply and limiting his oxygen intake. The actor had to remain in intensive care for several days at a hospital in Santa Monica. Rocky’s taken some beatings in his time, but nothing can really compare to what Stallone has gone through.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
A big selling point of Episode 7 was the return of original trilogy stars like Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. Of the three, Ford had the meatiest role, which meant he was involved with some of the more physical aspects. During filming, he now famously suffered a broken leg when the door of the Millennium Falcon came crashing down on him. In an effort to save his actor, director J.J. Abrams attempted to lift it, and broke his back – something he wouldn’t reveal publicly until months later. Filming was delayed, giving Abrams more time to iron out the script, which paid off in spades.