Natalie Portman dislocated one of her ribs while filming a scene for Black Swan, and since there were no on-set medics, she was required to stay in character and finish the scene.
While filming Cast Away, Tom Hanks refused to bathe, which ended up nearly killing him after he caught a staph infection from a wound on his leg.
“[Cast Away] put me in the hospital. I was there for three days with something that, believe it or not, almost killed me,” he revealed. “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.'”
Sylvester Stallone wanted the fighting scenes in Rocky IV to look as real as possible, so he asked Dolph Lundgren to forget the choreography and “just go out there and try to clock me.”
He got beaten up so badly that he ended up in the ICU for nine days. His doctors even told him that Dolph’s punch was so powerful that it “caught the ribs and hit the heart against the ribcage” — an injury commonly seen after head-on collisions.
Back in 2019, Zac Efron was in Papua, New Guinea filming his show Killing Zac Efron, and contracted a bacterial infection, believed to be typhoid fever. He ended up having to be airlifted to Brisbane, Australia where he could get hospitalized.
Luckily he had a “quick” recovery and finished filming his show: “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.”
While filming Bruised, Halle Berry got kicked by her costar Valentina Shevchenko — an actual MMA fighter — and broke two of her ribs.
She kept going with the scene though, and said, “The fighter in me stood up and said, ‘You just have to keep going, take some Advil and tough your way through it.”
Isla Fisher nearly drowned in front of the entire cast and crew while filming an underwater magic trick for Now You See Me. She said that the crew didn’t catch on right away because everyone just assumed she was acting, she said, “They thought I was being Meryl Streep in the tank, actually, I was drowning.”
In the scene, she was chained and submerged in a tank of water, with quick-release magnetic chained handcuffs meant for an easy escape. She shared that “the chain that went between my legs couldn’t be broken, and it got stuck.”
Ashton Kutcher gave himself pancreatitis and was hospitalized twice (!!!!) while preparing to play Steve Jobs in Jobs.
Steve Jobs was known to be a “fruitarian,” and lived on a mainly fruit diet, which Ashton tried to replicate. His wife Mila Kunis explained, “He was so dumb. He…only ate grapes at one point…we ended up in the hospital twice. With pancreatitis! It was really dumb!”
While filming a scene in Black Swan, Natalie Portman dislocated one of her ribs but there was no medic on set to help her.
She explained that eventually she did get medical attention, but not before director Darren Aronofsky made her finish the scene in pain. She said, “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!'”
While filming Mission Impossible 6, Tom Cruise broke his ankle while leaping from one building to another, and he continued to run on it just so he could finish the stunt.
During an interview, he said that he “knew instantly that it was broken,” but didn’t want to film the stunt again so he pushed through the pain and kept going — the moment where he broke his ankle ended up in the movie, too.
Dylan O’Brien fell off a moving vehicle and was hit by another vehicle that was following behind while he was filming Maze Runner: The Death Cure. He ended up with a concussion, facial fracture and lacerations, and mental trauma after the accident.
He spent months in recovery and was hesitant to go back to filming another action movie. When talking about gearing up to do his next movie American Assassin he said, “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.”
While Priyanka Chopra was filming a stunt scene for Quantico she fell and hit her head, sending her to the emergency room. She explained, “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?”
After the fall she assured fans that she was okay and praised 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.”
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.
“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.'”
Margot Robbie trained in ice skating for five hours a day, five days a week, for five months to play Tonya Harding in I, Tonya — she worked herself so hard she got a herniated disk in her neck.
She explained that learning to skate as an adult wasn’t easy. “When you’re a kid, you’re fearless, but starting at 26 years old, I had a lot of fear.” She added, “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.”
While working on The Wizard of Oz, Margaret Hamilton — the Wicked Witch of the West — got second-degree burns on her face and third-degree burns on her hand after a stunt went wrong.
In the scene, she was supposed to make a fiery exit from Munchkinland, but when the trapdoor didn’t open, she was engulfed in flames and spent six weeks recovering. Later on she returned to production and said, “I know how this business works, and I would never work again. I will return to work on one condition — no more fireworks!”
While filming My Left Foot, Daniel Day-Lewis refused to get out of his character’s wheelchair and sat hunched over all the time. He ended up breaking two ribs from sitting in that position for so long.
He also made crew members carry him around set and spoon feed him because he wouldn’t get out of character.
Michelle Yeoh tore her ACL and needed surgery after running across a rooftop for a scene in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and called it “one of the most painful moviemaking experiences” she’s ever had.
She had to keep working during her recovery and explained, “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.”
Also, while filming Gangs of New York, Daniel Day-Lewis caught pneumonia because he refused to wear a warmer coat in between scenes since those same coats didn’t exist in the 1860s.
He went on to explain, “I will admit that I went mad, totally mad,” and that the role was, “not so good for my physical or mental health.”
Jeremy Renner fell 20 feet and broke both of his arms on the third day of filming Tag. He texted his castmate, Leslie Bibb, from the hospital and she thought he was joking, but he told her “This isn’t a bit. I broke my elbow, and I broke my wrist.”
His castmates assumed production would get shut down, but Jeremy returned to set that afternoon with removable casts so they could stay on schedule and finish the movie. For some scenes, they even used CGI to remove the casts from his arms.
Gary Oldman gave himself nicotine poisoning after smoking $20,000 worth of Winston Churchill’s favorite cigars for Darkest Hour.
He explained to the Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
Zazie Beetz fainted during an intense scene with a truck convoy while filming Deadpool 2, and also got burned by a stray shell casing during a shootout — she still has a scar on her chest.
She explained that she trained for two months with four hours a day dedicated to cardio, weight training and mixed martial arts. But it got even trickier once she combined all of that fighting with her character’s “wildly impractical” suit.
Blake Lively shattered her hand while doing a fight scene with Jude Law on the set of The Rhythm Section. Because of her injury, filming was paused for six months while she recuperated.
“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 explained she broke several bones and damaged many ligaments.
During his career as an action star, Jackie Chan has broken pretty much every body part imaginable — he even has a hole in his head. He explained, “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.”
He told Steve Harvey that while filming his older movies, there wasn’t money for CGI or special effects so he did the stunts himself. He joked that if a director asked him to jump from one building to another, he’d just do it.
Finally, Michael J. Fox was nearly hanged while filming Back to the Future Part III. While practices for the stunt had gone well, Michael couldn’t get his hand in the right place in time and the rope got so tight it cut off his airways.
In his book Lucky Man: A Memoir, he wrote, “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.”
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