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15+ Unbelievable and Terrible Things Happened While Filming

The film business has certainly fed us a lot of strange stories, from skyscraper-height gorillas to shark-infested tornadoes. However, the most bizarre Hollywood stories can sometimes be found behind the scenes.

Nickelodeon | via GIPHY

Here are 16 of the most bizarre set experiences that performers and crew have gone through:

1. Jim Carrey was educated by a man who teaches CIA personnel how to endure torture in order to withstand the daily 8-hour makeup session required to change him into the eponymous character in How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Source: Universal Pictures / Via youtube.com

Carrey said on The Graham Norton Show, “[The makeup application] was like being buried alive each day. On the first day, I went back to my trailer, put my leg through the wall, and told [director] Ron Howard I couldn’t do the movie.”

2. During the production of Star Wars: A New Hope, the Tunisian government requested that George Lucas move his Sandcrawler away from the Libyan border because Libya mistaken it for an army vehicle and threatened military action.

Source: Lucasfilm / Via Disney+

3. During a magic trick sequence in Now You See Me, Isla Fisher nearly drowned when her release chain became stuck on her costume.

Source: Lionsgate / Via youtube.com

“Everyone thought I was acting fabulously…no one realized I was actually struggling,” she shared on Chelsea Lately.

Read more:

See how this man miraculously survives a fall onto a parked car

The duck’s creative acting skills saved it from the dog, and the video of the event quickly went viral.

4. An extra in Ben-Hur fell into a blue-dyed pond during a combat sequence, and MGM kept him on the payroll until the dye went off.

Source: Loew’s, Inc. / Via youtube.com

Because production didn’t like the pond’s natural muddy brown tone, the water was tinted.

5. After being poisoned by PCP-laced clam chowder, the Titanic cast and crew were all brought to the hospital at 1 a.m.

Paramount Pictures | via GIPHY

Marilyn McAvoy, a member of the crew, told Vice, “Nothing was ever officially determined, as far as I know. Among the crew, there were rumors that it had been a disgruntled chef that had been let go, but nothing ever came of that.”

6. When Benedict Cumberbatch’s tire broke out on the way back to the To the Ends of the Earth set, he and his buddies were kidnapped and dumped in the middle of nowhere.

Source: BBC / Via youtube.com

He told the Hollywood Reporter, “They were like: ‘Look down! Look down! Put your hands on your heads! Look at the floor!’ And they started frisking us and said: ‘Where’s your money? Where’s your drugs?’ — we had smoked a bit of weed — ‘Where are your weapons?’ And at that point, this adrenaline of fight or flight just exploded in my body.”

7. Local police arrived to warn Melissa George that a dead corpse had been found floating nearby as she was filming The Amityville Horror (2005) in a boathouse.

Source: MGM / Via youtube.com

She told Radio Free Entertainment, “We were like, ‘Awesome! That’s making everything much more comfortable in this movie!'”

8. Actress Margaret Hamilton sustained burns to her hands and face during filming the Wicked Witch of the West’s smoke-filled escape from Munchkinland in The Wizard of Oz.

Source: Loew’s, Inc. / Via youtube.com

After the incident, she claimed, “I won’t sue because I know how this business works, and I would never work again. I will return to work [on] one condition — no more fireworks!”

9. Jennifer Carpenter’s radio kept turning on in the middle of the night while filming The Exorcism of Emily Rose, playing the lyrics “I’m still alive” again and over.

Source: Screen Gems / Via youtube.com

During filming, her costar Laura Linney’s radio went off three times.

10. After realizing that the crew of Apocalypse Now were utilizing unidentified remains obtained from a grave robber as props, police showed up on the movie set in the Philippines and seized everyone’s passports.

Source: United Artists / Via youtube.com

“They didn’t know we hadn’t killed these people because the bodies were unidentified. I was pretty damn worried for a few days. But they got to the truth and put the guy in jail,” co-producer Gray Frederickson spoke to the Independent. The film instead used extras after the army removed the remains.

Read more:

See how this man miraculously survives a fall onto a parked car

The duck’s creative acting skills saved it from the dog, and the video of the event quickly went viral.

11. Because synthetic skeletons were “too pricey,” JoBeth Williams unintentionally recorded a Poltergeist sequence in a pool full of real ones.

Source: MGM / Via youtube.com

She told TV Land, “I was in mud and goop all day every day for like four or five days with skeletons all around me [as I was] screaming. In my innocence and naiveté, I assumed that these were not real skeletons.”

12. The prop storage facility burned down after The Possession completed, destroying the movie’s fake demon-possessed dybbuk box.

Source: Lionsgate / Via youtube.com

Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who played Clyde, told the Hollywood Reporter, “It was investigated, and there were no signs of arson, no electrical fire.”

13. Jim Caviezel was struck by lightning during filming the Sermon on the Mount sequence in The Passion of the Christ.

Source: Icon Productions / Via youtube.com

He said, “About four seconds before it happened, it was quiet, and then it was like someone slapped my ears. I had seven or eight seconds of, like, a pink, fuzzy color, and people started screaming.”

14. Director Stanley Kubrick inserted the character Basil, a boa constrictor, to A Clockwork Orange after learning that lead actor Malcolm McDowell was frightened of snakes.

Source: Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

Malcolm told IGN, “I put that snake in the drawer under my bed, and when I opened the drawer to take him out, the snake wasn’t there. You have never seen a room clear so fast. The crew, the wimps that they were, Kubrick included, ran for it.”

15. Peter Mayhew had to be escorted around the Pacific Northwest when playing Chewbacca in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi by crew members wearing brightly colored vests so that other people wouldn’t mistake him for Bigfoot and shoot him.

Source: Lucasfilm / Via Disney+

16. Finally, on the set of Goodfellas, Michael Imperioli cut his hand on broken glass and was transported to the hospital, but the ER physicians were more concerned with the fake gunshot wounds from the death scene he’d been filming.

Source: Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

After insisting on performing his own stunt for the shot, which made it into the final cut of the film, the incident occurred.