40 Hollywood Movie Roles That Almost Cost The Actors Their Lives Or Limbs - themoneytime

40 Hollywood Movie Roles That Almost Cost The Actors Their Lives Or Limbs


Though some say that acting is not a real job because it is easy and essentially “playing pretend,” this is not always the case. Many movies can effectively make sets and special effects look real. Unfortunately, things can get so real that actors are actually put in real danger. Many of the movie roles discussed in this article involved high-risk stunts that could make you wonder how anyone could let this happen.

Bruce Lee’s son, Brandon Lee, stands as an example of an actor who, unlike the others on this list, wasn’t so lucky. He tragically died after being shot with a prop gun during the shooting of The Crow. Still, the actors’ performances in these movies are some of the best ever captured on-screen. Once you are done reading, you will never look at these movies the same way again.

Harrison Ford As Han Solo

Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford in Star Wars, is one of Hollywood’s most popular movie characters. His portrayal of a reluctant Rebel Alliance member in the first three Star Wars movies left him essentially unscathed, despite the daring stunts and unconventional effects used at the time.

IMDb – Lucasfilm

However, Ford had second thoughts about going back for Episode 7—and with good reason. During the shoot on the infamous Millenium Falcon, its hydraulic door malfunctioned. The heavy door had a weight that was equal to a small car. At one point, Ford was almost crushed by the door. Fortunately, he only suffered a broken leg and some minor injuries. But due to his age, his leg took quite a long time to heal. 

Jennifer Lawrence As Katniss

Jennifer Lawrence is one of the world’s biggest movie stars. She is best known for playing the role of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games films. But her success was not a walk in the park, as she had to go through a lot before she reached the stardom she now enjoys. While she was training for her role, she literally hit a wall. The effect could have brought irreparable damage to her spleen. Fortunately, an MRI scan revealed that she would recover in time.

IMDb – Lionsgate / Murray Close

But during the shoot for Catching Fire, Lawrence went deaf in one ear for a few months after being injured on set and because of several ear infections caused by shooting in water. Lawrence’s eardrum had also been punctured due to a separate incident during the shoot of Mockingjay: Part 1, wherein a malfunctioning smoke machine caused her to suffocate. Eventually, she experienced vertigo and nausea. The shoot had to stop while she recovered.

Tom Hanks As A Castaway

It seems that Tom Hanks can do no wrong. He has starred in so many iconic flicks that he is now considered a Hollywood legend. It’s almost impossible to imagine anyone putting his life in danger. But Hanks almost died on the set of one film. His role in the movie Cast Away required him to lose 50 pounds off his weight. But that was not the most difficult thing he had to do for the movie.

IMDb

Hanks had a small cut on his knee during the movie’s shoot. Eventually, he developed a staph infection. The injury could have led to blood poisoning if his injury had not been adequately treated. Hanks revealed that he ignored the problem but eventually received treatment for it in the nick of time before it got out of hand.

Halle Berry As A Bond Girl

Halle Berry has done almost every role in movies. She has been in action films as well as drama. She is a versatile actress, and her talent has led her to win an Oscar. But her road to success was not a smooth one. Berry has sustained numerous minor as well as significant injuries during movie shoots.

IMDb – Warner Bros.

Hale Berry almost choked to death in her role as a Bond girl in Die Another Day. She also experienced head trauma while shooting The Fall, as well as Catwoman. In Cloud Atlas, Berry also broke her foot during filming and suffered a broken arm in Gothika.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt As A Bike Messenger

Joseph Gordon Levitt had one of the deadliest roles in movies—a New York bike messenger. The job is highly risky, and he successfully pulled it off in the movie Premium Rush. In it, Levitt had to ride through New York’s heavy traffic at a very high speed—as much as 30 miles per hour.

IMDb – Columbia Pictures

During the shoot, a taxi appeared and drove through the set’s safety cones. Levitt flew through the taxi’s rear windshield – an accident that could have cost him his life. Fortunately, he only suffered 31 stitches on his arm.

Mila Kunis As A Ballerina

Mila Kunis had never danced in her life when she played a ballerina in the film Black Swan. She also had to lose a ton of weight in order to portray the character. She and her co-star Natalie Portman were required to go through extreme diets on top of the grueling training. Though Natalie Portman won an Oscar award for her performance, Mila Kunis only ended up with body complications.

IMDb

Kunis had to fast and chain smoke for her weight to drop below 100 pounds. Kunis weighed 95 pounds during the movie’s shoot. She now describes her body as “no longer the same.” All the weight on her chest went to her hips and stomach. According to dietitians, all the weight that is quickly lost comes back as fat.

Brad Pitt As Achilles

Brad Pitt is used to danger. But the injury he sustained during filming for the movie Troy is probably the most ironic in the industry. While in production for the film, Brad Pitt played the role of Achilles. However, he tore his Achilles tendon while filming. Fortunately (or unfortunately), it was not his first injury.

IMDb – Warner Bros.

He also fell through a window while filming a chase scene in Se7en. In the process, he sliced a tendon on his arm—a deadly injury. He had to wear a cast during the rest of the film’s shoot—not many people on set knew that the cast was indeed the result of a real injury. 

Kate Winslet As A Titanic Survivor

It was not only Kate Winslet who had to perform deadly stunts during the filming of the movie Titanic. The film recounted the real-life historical tragedy of the sinking of a ship and how numerous passengers perished. Winslet received multiple injuries similar to the injuries suffered by actual Titanic passengers.

Kate Winslet suffered pneumonia and almost drowned when she was trapped underwater. According to Winslet, she also chipped a small bone in her elbow and had numerous bruises on her arms. When shooting the underwater scene, Winslet felt her chest would burst because she had no more breath left. She didn’t complain to the director because she didn’t want to be thought of as a wimp.

Jared Leto As An Assassin

Actor Jared Leto is one of Hollywood’s fittest celebrities. However, he had to put on a lot of weight when he played John Lennon’s assassin in the movie Chapter 27. The 2007 film showed John Lennon’s murder at the hands of Mark David Chapman. The movie was based on the 1992 book, Let Me Take You Down. Leto played Chapman and had to put on 67 pounds for the role.

IMDb

Jared Leto claimed that the experience of gaining weight for a role was “traumatic” for him. He advised everyone that this kind of weight gain should not be done because it involved binge eating bad food. Leto’s health never completely recovered because of that extraordinary diet. 

George Clooney In Syriana

George Clooney’s performance in Syriana earned him an Oscar. However, the character he portrayed went through a brutal torture scene in which Clooney himself suffered real physical pain as his head was cracked open and his back and neck were injured. To be specific, his spine suffered a torn dura.

IMDb – Warner Bros. / Glen Wilson

Clooney had to go through a lengthy recovery process that caused him such intense health issues that he considered ending his life. He also had serious side effects from the medications he was taking. The pain was reportedly so serious that he had to go through therapy over the whole traumatic experience.

Blake Lively In The Rhythm Section

Blake Lively is popular for being part of Gossip Girl. She has since evolved from a teen star to a full-fledged actress. In her effort to be taken seriously, she decided to be in a spy thriller titled The Rhythm Section. The role required Lively to perform stunts. However, she injured her hand during the shoot; surgery was not enough to fix the issue.

IMDb

According to Lively, her hand suddenly turned to “feta cheese” when it was shattered during filming. As a result, production had to halt for six months while she recovered. It eventually resumed, but after the film was finally shown in theaters, it turned out to be a box office flop.

Sylvester Stallone Is A Trooper

Sylvester Stallone is one of the world’s top action stars. In his heyday, he starred in one box office hit after another. But this success didn’t come without a price. He had his fair share of injuries on set. For example, during filming for the movie Rambo: First Blood, he cracked his ribs.

IMDb

In the fourth installment of Rocky, he had a swollen heart. While playing one of his most recent roles, Stallone broke his back during the shoot of The Expendables. Essentially, every role he plays requires him to go through multiple operations and intense recoveries afterward.

Linda Hamilton In The Terminator

Linda Hamilton played the iconic role of Sarah Conner in the movie Terminator. However, it was in the sequel, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, that she suffered a permanent injury. Though she has been used to performing numerous stunts, she did not expect this shoot to be as challenging.

IMDb

James Cameron is notorious for pushing his actors’ skills to the limit. Linda Hamilton is no different. Though she was able to survive past the movie’s scary scenes, she was injured when a blast from a close-range shotgun caused her permanent hearing loss. Reportedly, the injury could have been avoided if she had worn safety earplugs. 

Bruce Willis In Die Hard

Bruce Willis is considered Hollywood’s archetypal action man. He shot to fame when he starred in the movie Die Hard. The film has been described as a perfect action movie in which every blow and gunshot is felt. But Willis experienced numerous injuries during the making of the film.

IMDb – 20th Century Fox

Reports reveal that Willis almost lost his hearing due to the loud firing of guns present in the film. The guns were specially modified to make them emit additional loud noises. Unfortunately, it was one of the sacrifices Willis had to make. The movie was a worldwide hit, but he currently still has partial hearing loss because of this.

Jaimie Alexander As Lady Sif

Jaimie Alexander played the role of Lady Sif in the movie Thor: The Dark World. Though she was part of a huge Marvel movie, her experience was challenging. The 2013 film saw Alexander slip and fall from a dangerous height. Though she, fortunately, did survive, she had to endure a ton of major injuries.

IMDb – Marvel Studios

Alexander’s thoracic spine had a herniated disc. She also dislocated the left part of her shoulder. Her right rhomboid was also torn, and eleven of her vertebrae were chipped off. Evidently, she was able to get past her injuries. But she occasionally suffers from temporary paralysis and had to attend intense physical therapy for an entire month to help recover her mobility.

Channing Tatum In The Eagle

Channing Tatum played the role of a Roman centurion in the movie The Eagle. The movie required the entire production to shoot in the Scottish Highlands during winter. However, it was not only the weather that was unkind to Tatum—the production team made an error that almost cost the actor his life.

IMDb – Focus Features

The scene where the injury occurred was not even an intense action sequence as it only required him to wade through the cold frozen water. Tatum wore a wetsuit, but it was not enough to keep him warm. Since he was freezing, a crew member poured hot water on Tatum, only to realize the water was scalding hot. As a result, Tatum suffered burns all over his body. He described the experience as the most painful one he’s ever had to deal with. Fortunately, he had no scarring and nerve damage.

Michelle Yeoh In Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Michelle Yeoh is not just a brilliant and versatile actress. She also does her own stunts. She was so good she almost completed the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with no injuries—almost none. Still, the film was filled with a ton of dangerous stunts, so it’s a wonder that she was able to leave in one piece.

IMDb

During the shoot of one of the sequences, Yeoh landed the wrong way causing her to damage one of her knees. Though she did her best to continue, the injury caused her to damage her knee further. She eventually had a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The injury required Yeoh to go through surgery and physical therapy. Though she has been in numerous movies since, Yeoh never fully recovered.

Tom Cruise Fell In Fallout

Tom Cruise is notorious for his daredevil and death-defying stunts. The Mission Impossible actor seemed to get a high from performing life-threatening activities. He even earned the title of “most daring movie star in the world.” However, despite his superstar status, the actor is not immune to the laws of gravity. He had to adhere to it like all of us mere mortals.

IMDb

His most recent injury was on the Mission: Impossible: Fallout, where he suffered a serious fall. The scene required him to jump across two tall buildings. Unfortunately, he fell short, and he slammed his leg against a wall. As a result, Cruise broke his ankle, and the set had to be shut down for months until the star healed.

Angelina Jolie In Salt

Angelina Jolie is a brilliant actress—she can do action sequences, drama, comedy, and horror. She’s even proven herself to be a great director. All those skills, however, were not enough to protect her from the injury she suffered during the shoot for the 2010 movie Salt.

IMDb

Jolie is knowledgeable of self-defense strategies such as Krav Maga and Muay Thai. She studied both in order to effectively perform in the movie’s fight scenes. But in one of the sequences, she rolled on the floor and slammed her head hard. The result was that her face was sliced open. The injury left Jolie with a permanent scar.

Daniel Craig As James Bond

Daniel Craig is the most recent actor to play the famous and infamous spy, James Bond, thanks to his skill honed by his decades of on-screen experience. Despite the popularity, the role brought him, it did come with some risks. That being said, 007 movies have always been described as a tad dangerous.

IMDb

Daniel Craig can attest to the high risk involved. For one, his two teeth were knocked out during the filming of Quantum of Solace and Casino Royale. Other injuries Craig has sustained include torn muscles, bruised ribs, reconstructive facial surgery, and a severed finger. The actor also gained a permanent knee injury while filming a fight scene in the movie Spectre.

Isla Fisher In Now You See Me

Isla Fisher is a trooper. She has been a soap opera actress as well as a brilliant comedian. In 2013, she starred in a movie that involved magic. Little did she know that her role posed a risk to her life. During the filming of Now You See Me, she was required to be inside a water tank.

IMDb – Summit Entertainment

She was supposed to act as if she were drowning. However, the tank prop did not function properly, causing Fisher to be trapped inside while submerged under water. The production mistakenly thought her screams were an act, but she was genuinely terrified. Thankfully, they managed to get her out in time, and the shot stayed in the movie.

Dylan O’Brien In The Maze Runner

Dylan O’Brien became famous due to his role in the Maze Runner series. He performed a slew of dangerous and high-risk stunts. It was during the shoot of The Death Cure that he was almost killed during a stunt that went horribly wrong.

IMDb

The accident left Dylan O’Brien with a facial fracture, a concussion, as well as brain trauma. Though his recovery was lengthy, he was able to heal from the accident. However, he still has fears about being on set and having to do stunts.

Uma Thurman In Kill Bill

Uma Thurman, star of Kill Bill movies, came forward to reveal the injuries she received during the making of the two films. According to Thurman, she argued with Director Tarantino about a scene that required her to perform a high-risk driving stunt. Though reluctant, Thurman was forced to perform the scene.

IMDb – Miramax

Thurman’s instinct proved correct as she crashed the Karmann Ghia car she was driving into a tree. The actress feared that she would not be able to walk again. Fortunately, her fears were unfounded, but she did sustain permanent damage to her knees and neck.

Diane Kruger In Inglorious Basterds

Diane Kruger is another actress that suffered under the hands of director Quentin Tarantino. She was injured during the filming of Inglorious Basterds, where her character had to be strangled by a Nazi. The director wanted Kruger to be genuinely strangled.

IMDb

Tarantino volunteered to choke the actress himself after actor Christopher Waltz refused. Kruger obliged, mistakenly thinking the scene would be safe to do. However, the scene was so intense that her air supply was actually cut off. Such a near-death situation could have caused facial paralysis as well as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jason Statham In The Expendables

Actor Jason Statham was injured when he was shooting the movie The Expendables along with actor Sylvester Stallone. The third installment of the film was released in 2014 and followed the group as they battled a former Expendables co-founder who was aiming to destroy the team.

IMDb – Lionsgate / Frank Masi

In the movie, Statham’s character is almost drowned, crushed, and blown up. During the shoot, he accidentally drove the truck off a loading dock, thereby causing the vehicle to fall sixty feet into the Black Sea.

Charlize Theron In AEon Flux

Actress Charlize Theron experienced a major injury during the shoot of the movie she was starring in—AEon Flux. One scene required Theron to perform a slew of backflips. The accident almost left her paralyzed.

IMDb

Unfortunately, she landed on her neck, which resulted in a herniated disc near the actress’s spine. Though she has since recovered, the injury left a big impression on her, and she is now extra careful when shooting stunts on set.

Johnny Depp As The Lone Ranger

Johnny Depp was able to live relatively unscathed in the entirety of the shoot of all five Pirates of the Caribbean films. However, he did suffer an injury while shooting on the set of the 2013 movie The Lone Ranger.

IMDb – Disney

Apparently, Depp wanted to do his own stunts and did not want a stand-in to be involved. The sequence required that he ride on a horse at a very high speed. The animal threw the actor off the seat, and he was almost trampled.

Matthew Fox In Lost

Matthew Fox is a versatile actor who has starred in television and film. When asked whether television or movies are safer to be in, many will probably think it is the former. But in fact, it was in a TV series that Matthew Fox suffered his worst injury.

IMDb

The scene Fox was in required him to duel with a character via a knife fight. However, his castmate was given a genuine weapon, not a prop. Fortunately, Fox had a Kevlar vest. If he weren’t wearing it, he probably would have been seriously wounded or, worse, killed.

Ellen Burstyn In The Exorcist

Actress Ellen Burstyn is a Hollywood legend thanks to her having the longest and most impressive acting career among the actors included in this article list. She was also in one of the most iconic horror movies of all time—The Exorcist.

IMDb

In the scene where the daughter of Burstyn’s character, Regan, had to slap her hard, she was supposed to fly across the room. Burstyn actually injured her spine, thereby causing permanent damage. She was tied to a cable, and it was pulled so hard that she broke her tailbone. However, the scene was so effective the shot stayed in the movie’s final cut. 

Viggo Mortensen In The Lord Of The Rings

Actor Viggo Mortensen was in The Lord of the Rings. He was also one of many actors who were injured during the making of the trilogy. Actor Sean Astin received a foot injury while Orlando Bloom accidentally cracked a rib.

IMDb – New Line Productions

Meanwhile, Mortensen’s tooth got chipped off, and he suffered a few broken toes. He almost drowned when he was swept away by a strong current during a scene where the cast was immersed in water. 

Kevin Costner In Waterworld

Kevin Costner was the star of the movie Waterworld. But not even his star power could save him from the danger he experienced while shooting the movie. In the scene where he was supposed to be tethered atop a boat, a storm broke out, which then caused large waves to thrash him violently for almost thirty minutes.

IMDb

The crew looked on helplessly as Costner almost died. To add insult to injury, Costner was not on good terms with the film’s director. Apparently, he was also not on good terms with anyone in the movie. No wonder!

Daniel Day-Lewis Is Always In Character

Who knew that practicing method acting could have cost Daniel Day-Lewis his life? Though he is one of Hollywood’s excellent actors, his devotion to method acting almost ended more than his career. This acting style allows actors to inhabit and be the characters they are playing totally.

IMDb – Miramax

However, Day-Lewis became so focused on his acting that he failed to notice the freezing cold temperature around him during the shoot. Despite the dangerously cold weather, Lewis preferred to only wear the authentic period wardrobe during breaks in the shoot. He eventually contracted pneumonia and almost died—and would have—had he stayed in character.

Cary Elwes In The Princess Bride

Cary Elwes bagged a starring role in the iconic movie, The Princess Bride. Despite the movie almost being a fairytale film, its production involved dangerous scenes. One such scene was when a fight required Elwes to be hit on the head hard and thus causing him to be unconscious.

IMDb – 20th Century Fox

The other actor assigned to deliver the blow was reluctant to do the task until Elwes encouraged the guy to hit him as hard as he could. The movie’s final cut saw Elwes get literally knocked out after being hit.

Martin Sheen In Apocalypse Now

Martin Sheen was one of the actors in the Francis Ford Coppola movie Apocalypse Now who had to go through a high-risk shoot. Being the lead in the movie, he had the most difficult time during filming.

IMDb

Sheen was also deep into alcoholism; thus, he was mostly seen drunk on set. Apparently, he was so drunk that he accidentally sliced his hand open. But it was the onset of a sudden heart attack that almost caused the actor’s death as he was found barely breathing along the side of the road.

Buster Keaton Is The Original Stunt Expert

Actor, comedian, and stunt master Buster Keaton was one of the best artists in the history of Hollywood. He was willing to risk his life doing death-defying stunts. Though he could have been almost killed numerous times, he managed to survive every time.

IMDb – Kino International

It was during the 1928 filming of the movie Steamboat Bill that Keaton almost died. Until now, people have attempted to recreate it but have never been able to match the original work done by Keaton. His standing unscathed as the wall of a house drops on him will forever be remembered. 

Michael J Fox As Marty

Actor Michael J Fox was also involved in a high-risk accident during the filming of one of the best 80s movies—Back to the Future. It was actually in the third installment of the movie that Fox experienced a life-threatening accident. During the shoot of Back to the Future Part III, Fox’s Marty McFly was supposed to be hanged by his arch-enemy, Mad Dog Tannon.

IMDb

During the actual scene, Fox became unconscious and stopped breathing. The production thought he was still acting and allowed the cameras to roll. It was only when someone noticed that Fox was not at all giving a performance and that he genuinely lost consciousness that everyone on set sprang into action to save his life.

Margaret Hamilton In The Wizard Of Oz

Margaret Hamilton is not a household name, but she was in the classic and iconic movie, The Wizard of Oz. The actress played the infamous Wicked Witch of the West, and one of the scenes required her to perform a stunt that resulted in her body getting third-degree burns.

IMDb – Warner Home Video

Hamilton was supposed to go through a trap door while flames were being sent in her direction. However, the trap door did not work, causing her face and hands to be scorched. Her agony was captured in color for all to see. 

Malcolm McDowell In A Clockwork Orange

Malcolm McDowell gave an unforgettable performance in the Stanley Kubrick classic, A Clockwork Orange. The movie made him a household name. One of its iconic scenes required his character’s eyes to be propped open.

IMDb

McDowell’s eyes had to be kept open for a long time, thereby causing temporary blindness as well as a scratched cornea. Director Kubrick is known for his sadistic treatment of actors, often more interested in getting a good take than the health of his cast.

Jackie Chan Does His Own Stunts

Jackie Chan is an actor famous for his crazy, entertaining martial art style and for doing his own dangerous stunts. He has broken a lot of bones in his body and has had spinal injuries, concussions, as well as brain surgery.

IMDb

He even has a metal plate inside his head. But all these were not enough to make him stop. He still continues to risk his life just to put out entertaining action movies. At this point, we think he’s done more than enough to prove himself as a legend.

Jim Caviezel As Jesus Christ

Who knew that playing Jesus Christ would be dangerous? Apparently, not even the son of God can protect actors who are portraying him in a movie. Jim Caviezel played the titular character in Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.

IMDb

During the shoot, Caviezel dislocated his shoulder. He also had a rib injury, caught pneumonia, and then hypothermia. The biggest injury of all was that he was struck by lightning. Maybe Jesus was mad that someone down below was portraying him?