When it comes to being a movie star, it seems pretty easy, right? The job appears luxurious, exciting, and fairly easy work for such a big payoff. At least, that’s how it looks from the outside. But for some celebs, making a movie can be a dangerous and even life-threatening experience.
In some cases, like in #2, scenes call for up-close camera angles, making it impossible to use a stunt double. Other times, actors run into environmental issues which place them in dangerous situations. Check out #5 to see what happens when props go wrong, putting actors at risk.
#12 – The River Ran A Little Too Wild
During the filming of the action-thriller “The River Runs Wild,” Meryl Streep found herself a little over her head. After several takes of a water-rapid scene, director Curtis Hanson demanded one more take. Streep, who was exhausted, originally refused but conceded, going ahead with the take. During the shooting, Streep fell overboard and had to be rescued from the frigid rapids by co-star, Kevin Bacon.
#11 – The Future Almost Didn’t Come
The end was almost near for Michael J Fox during the making of “Back to the Future III.” During a particularly hairy scene in the movie, Fox was unable to be switched out for a stunt double as the camera was going to be directly on his face for the shot, which involved his character, Marty McFly, being hung from a noose. Due to a lack of body support during the stunt, Fox actually passed out.
#10 – We Almost Didn’t See Her
Australian actress Isla Fisher nearly drowned while filming a scene for “Now You See Me.” While acting out a scene involving a magician’s underwater tank, Fisher’s faux chain got stuck and pinned her under the water. Crew members on the set mistook Fisher’s actual panic for incredibly good acting and she was trapped for almost three minutes.
#9 – The Edge Of His Seat
In the 2014 movie “Edge of Tomorrow,” actor Tom Cruise literally found himself on the edge of his seat when co-star Emily Blunt drove their car into a tree in a stunt-gone-horribly-wrong. During a scene involving a car chase, Blunt was supposed to take a hard right, causing the trailer she was towing to swing out. However, Blunt didn’t slow down prior to the turn and the car went out of control.
#8 – Not Quite A Happy Ending To This Police Story
Martial Artist Jackie Chan has been doing his own stunts in movies for as long as he’s been acting. As he’s highly skilled at what he does, Chan generally didn’t run into problems. However, during the filming of a risky scene in “Police Story,” Chan slid down a massive metal pole as lightbulbs burst around him, and cracked two vertebrae and dislocated his pelvis.
#7 – A Rocky Scene
The script of “Rocky IV” called for Sylvester Stallone’s title character to get knocked out during a boxing match. As they were filming, co-star Dolph Lundgren’s final punch landed so hard that Stallone was literally knocked out. He spent eight days in intensive care due to a severe swelling of his heart.
# 6 – Nearly Expendable
British actor Jason Statham faced a near death moment while filming “The Expendables 3.” During a scene in which he was driving a truck, Statham quickly realized that the brakes had given out. His quick thinking saved his life, as he jumped out of the truck a moment before it went straight into the sea.
#5 – Ding, Dong, The Witch Was Almost Dead
If you don’t think the 1939 movie “The Wizard of Oz” was filled with dangers, think again. Margaret Hamilton, the actress who portrayed the Wicked Witch of the West, actually received second and third-degree burns when a trap door failed to open, exposing her flammable makeup to sparks that were used to create a cloud of smoke.
#4 – Don’t Mess With The Natives
The 1982 movie “Fitcarraldo” brought a strange situation to the attention of director Werner Herzog. The movie utilized many Peruvian natives as extras. Leading actor Klaus Kinski apparently mistreated the natives so badly that one of the tribal leaders offered to take Kinski into the rainforest and kill him.
Herzog politely declined, stating he needed the belittling actor to finish the movie.
#3 – Method Acting At Its Best
Method actor Daniel Day-Lewis went all out for the filming of “Gangs of New York.” The movie took place in 1863 New York, so Day-Lewis refused any modern-day privileges during filming in order to remain in-character. Opting to stay in costume the entire time, he contracted pneumonia but refused modern-day treatments.
Eventually, after being told he would die, he had a change of mind and accepted treatment.
#2 – Ingloriously Deadly
German actress Diane Kruger faced meeting her maker during the filming of the movie “Inglorious Basterds.” In a scene in which she was being strangled, director Quentin Tarantino failed to call CUT at the correct moment and Kruger actually fell unconscious. If he had waited just a few more seconds, doctors suggest she would have died from asphyxiation.
#1 – The Dark World Indeed
While filming “Thor: The Dark World,” American actress Jamie Alexander found herself facing several serious injuries. While shooting a scene involving a metal staircase in the dark, Alexander slipped on the wet surface. The fall caused her to dislocate her left shoulder, tear her left rhomboid, displace a spinal disc, and chip 11 vertebrae.
Movie stars may seem like they have it easy, but these actors face dangers we outsiders know nothing about. These highly-paid individuals put their bodies at risk and endanger their lives just to get the perfect shot in order to create cinematic miracles. While we may believe these actors do all of their dangerous scenes from the comfort of a green screen, that just simply isn’t true, as this short list proves. Consider just how many movies are made yearly – this list is only a sample of the life-threatening situations that actors have found themselves in over the many decades of the silver screen.