22 Times Actors Nearly Died Upon Filming

While shooting a scene for Black Swan, Natalie Portman dislocated one of her ribs, but had to stay in character and complete her part because there weren’t any on-set medics.

1. Tom Hanks declined to bathe while filming Cast Away, which almost caused him fatality after he contracted a staph infection from a leg wound.

Source: Getty / 20th Century Fox

"[Cast Away] put me in the hospital. I was there for three days with something that, believe it or not, almost killed me," Hanks shared. "I got an infection from a cut, and it was eating its way through my leg. I didn't know it; I just thought I had a sore. I went to the doctor who took one look and said, 'I have to put you in the hospital because we have to get this infection out of you before it poisons your blood and you die.'"

Source: 20th Century Fox / Everett

2. To make the fighting scenes in Rocky IV look as real as possible, Sylvester Stallone told Dolph Lundgren to "just go out there and try to clock me," ignoring the choreography.

Source: Getty Images / MGM / Everett

He was severely battered and spent nine days in the intensive care unit. His doctors even told him that Dolph's blow "caught the ribs and hit the heart against the ribcage," which is a typical ailment after head-on clashes.

Source: MGM / Everett

3. In 2019, while shooting a scene for his show Killing Zac Efron in Papua New Guinea, Zac Efron caught a bacterial infection that was later identified as typhoid fever. He was eventually transported to Brisbane, Australia, where he got the treatment.

Source: Getty Images / Netflix

Fortunately, Zac recovered quite rapidly and was able to complete the filming process. Zac shared: "Very thankful to everyone who has reached out. I did get sick in Papua New Guinea but I bounced back quick and finished an amazing 3 weeks in P.N.G."

4. Halle Berry broke 2 ribs when shooting Bruised after being kicked by her costar Valentina Shevchenko, a genuine MMA fighter.

Source: Getty / Netflix / Everett

"The fighter in me stood up and said, 'You just have to keep going, take some Advil, and tough your way through it,'" she continued with the scene.

Source: Netflix / Everett

5. While shooting an underwater magic trick for Now You See Me, Isla Fisher almost drowned in front of the entire cast and crew. "They thought I was being Meryl Streep in the tank, actually, I was drowning," she added, explaining that the crew didn't notice right away since they all thought she was acting.

Source: Getty Images / K/O Paper Products

She was shackled and submerged in a tank of water in the scene, with quick-release magnetic chained handcuffs that allowed her to flee quickly. " the chain that went between my legs couldn't be broken, and it got stuck," she explained.

Source: On Demand Entertainment /

6. While preparing to portray Steve Jobs in Jobs, Ashton Kutcher developed pancreatitis and was hospitalized twice (!!!!).

Source: Getty / Open Roads Film / Everett

Steve Jobs was known as a "fruitarian," living solely on fruits, which Ashton attempted to imitate. Mila Kunis, Ashton’s wife, revealed, " He was so dumb. He...only ate grapes at one point...we ended up in the hospital twice. With pancreatitis! It was really dumb!"

Source: Open Road Films / Everett / Via

7. Natalie Portman dislocated one of her ribs while shooting a scene in Black Swan, but there was no medic on set to aid her.

Source: Getty / Fox Searchlight / Everett

Portman later revealed that she received medical help ultimately, but not before director Darren Aronofsky forced her to finish the scene in anguish. She shared, "When I got lifted, it went out of place. It sort of goes under another rib. So that was real, [the scene in which a physical therapist] was doing real work on me. Darren was like, 'Film it! Film it! Stay in character, talk in your character's voice!'"

Source: Fox Searchlight

8. Tom Cruise injured his ankle while leaping from one building to the next, and he kept running on it only to accomplish the action, during the making of Mission: Impossible 6.

Source: Getty / Paramount

He admitted in an interview that he "knew instantly that it was broken," but that he didn't want to re-shoot the stunt, so he pushed through the agony and went on — the scene in which he shattered his ankle was also included in the film.

Source: Paramount

9. While on set of Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Dylan O'Brien fell off a driving truck and was hit by another car following behind. After the collision, he suffered a concussion, a facial fracture and lacerations, as well as mental damage.

Source: Getty / 20th Century Fox

After months of recuperation, he was hesitant to return to making another action film. When asked about his plans for his next film, American Assassin, he responded “The state that you’re in after something like that, you just want to run from all that stuff. I didn’t really even want to leave my couch necessarily when I was allowed to. So, yeah. It was a big step doing this.”

Source: 20th Century Fox / Everett Collection

10. Priyanka Chopra slipped and struck her head when shooting a stunt scene for Quantico, sending her to the hospital. She clarified, "I was supposed to be saving someone, as usual. And I was wearing rubber boots, it was raining and there was plastic on the floor, and I slipped on that. Can you imagine, after all the action I do, that's how I get a concussion?"

Source: Getty / ABC / Everett Collection

She assured her supporters that she was fine after the fall and appreciated the show's production environment, "I absolutely feel safe on set. My show is an extremely physical show. We shoot nine scenes a day, we are an extremely fast-paced show and I have a lot of physicality. So yeah, things can happen, and the producers are very, very aware and concerned and they've been really wonderful with me. So I'm pretty sure it won't happen [again], but when you do stunts, that happens."

Source: ABC / Everett

11. Colin Firth developed headaches, a pinched nerve in his arm, and a stutter of his own after portraying George VI in The King's Speech.

Source: Paramount / Everett

"I had to learn to stammer and then play someone trying desperately not to. It put my left arm to sleep — it was very peculiar. I must have been locking something, pinching a nerve. It was a semi-paralysis that would last for three or four days," he explained. "Derek Jacobi said to me: 'You could find it affecting your speech patterns for some time afterward. When the job's over, don't worry, it will go away.'"

Source: Paramount / Everett

12. To play Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, Margot Robbie trained in ice skating five hours a day, five days a week, for five months – she worked herself so hard that she developed a herniated disk in her neck.

Source: Getty / 30 West

It wasn't simple for her to learn to skate as an adult, she explained. “When you’re a kid, you’re fearless, but starting at 26 years old, I had a lot of fear.” Robbie continued, "There were lots of bumps and bruises, lots of blisters. I herniated a disc in my neck. My arms started going numb for a month, but it was the disc getting irritated. And then I properly herniated it, and I was very aware when that happened. It's really painful."

Source: 30 West

13. Margaret Hamilton, who portrayed the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz, received second-degree burns on her face and third-degree burns on her hand following a stunt going wrong during filming.

Source: Getty Images / MGM

She was meant to make a blazing exit from Munchkinland in the scene, but when the trapdoor didn't open, she was consumed in flames and had to recover for six weeks. She returned to production later and remarked, "I know how this business works, and I would never work again. I will return to work on one condition — no more fireworks!"

Source: MGM

14. Daniel Day-Lewis sat hunched over the whole filming of My Left Foot, refusing to move out of his character's wheelchair. He broke two ribs as a result of sitting in that posture for so long.

Source: Getty / Miramax / Everett

Because he didn't want to get out of character, he had crew people carry him around set and spoon feed him.

Source: Miramax / Everett Collection

15. After running across a rooftop for a scene in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Michelle Yeoh’s ACL got torn and she had to undergo surgery. Later, the actress called the experience “one of the most painful moviemaking experiences” she’s ever had.

Source: Getty / Columbia / Everett

She said that she had to continue working during her recuperation, "If you watch the movie you see me walking slowly. That’s because I had a big brace under those baggy trousers. It took me three months to recover, to be ready for the last fight sequence."

Source: Columbia / Everett

16. In addition, Daniel Day-Lewis contracted pneumonia when shooting Gangs of New York because he rejected a warmer coat in between scenes because such coats did not exist in the 1860s.

Source: Getty / Miramax / Everett

"I will admit that I went mad, totally mad," he continued, adding that the role was, "not so good for my physical or mental health."

Source: Miramax/Everett Collection

17. On the third day of filming Tag, Jeremy Renner fell 20 feet and fractured both of his arms. He emailed Leslie Bibb from the hospital, and she thought he was joking, but he informed her he was serious "This isn't a bit. I broke my elbow, and I broke my wrist."

Source: New Line Cinema /

His coworkers expected production to be halted, but Jeremy returned to set that afternoon with removable casts, allowing them to keep on schedule and complete the film. They even employed CGI to remove the casts on his arms in several scenes.

Source: New Line Cinema

18. After smoking $20,000 worth of Winston Churchill's favorite cigars during Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman developed nicotine poisoning.

Source: Getty / Focus Features / Everett

According to the Hollywood Reporter, he said, "I got serious nicotine poisoning. You’d have a cigar that was three-quarters smoked and you’d light it up, and then over the course of a couple of takes, it would go down, and then the prop man would replenish me with a new cigar — we were doing that for 10 or 12 takes a scene.”

Source: Focus Features / Everett

19. Zazie Beetz fainted when filming Deadpool 2 and was burned by a stray round case during an intense scene with a truck convoy, leaving a scar on her chest.

Source: Getty / 20th Century Fox / Everett

She said she worked out for two months, dedicating four hours each day to cardio, weight training, and mixed martial arts. It became even more difficult when she mixed all of the fighting with her character's "wildly impractical" costume.

Source: 20th Century Fox

20. On the set of The Rhythm Section, Blake Lively broke her hand while filming a fight scene with Jude Law. Filming was put on hold for six months while she recovered from her accident.

Source: Getty Images / Paramount / Everett

"My hand basically turned to feta cheese. I was lunging towards Jude Law with my fake rubber knife and my hand collided with his elbow," she stated that she had broken multiple bones and torn numerous ligaments.

Source: Paramount

21. Jackie Chan has fractured about every body part imaginable during his career as an action hero, including a hole in his brain. He clarified, "Not every bone, but I can say every inch from my hat to my toes...scratched, bruised, yes. Bones? A little bit. I have a hole in my head."

Source: Getty Images / New Line / Everett

He told Steve Harvey that he conducted the stunts himself because there was no money for CGI or special effects in his earlier films. He quipped that if a director asked him to jump from one building to another, he would do so without hesitation.

Source: Dimension Films / Everett Collection

22. Finally, when filming Back to the Future Part III, Michael J. Fox was almost hanged. Fox failed to get his hand in the appropriate spot in time for the stunt, and the rope became so tight that it cut off his airways.

Source: Getty Images / Universal / Everett

He writes in his memoir Lucky Man: A Memoir, “I swung unconscious at the end of the rope for several seconds before Bob Zemeckis, fan of me though he was, realized even I wasn't that good of an actor."

Source: Universal

Share this article