Actors and actresses are often criticized for making obscene amounts of money while doing what appears to be one of the “easiest” and most desirable jobs in the world. However, if one takes a closer (and unbiased) look into acting, it might not be as easy as it looks and some actors do indeed put themselves in danger more than you might like to think. Whether it is actors who take their performance way too far, plain mistakes with set equipment, or the unpredictable accidents that mess things up, there have been many famous actors and actresses who have almost lost their lives in the name of art. Jackie Chan, for example, smashed his head during a scene that he tried to make as realistic as possible for his dedicated fans and now has to spend the rest of his life with a plastic plate in his head. Kate Winslet spent so many hours in freezing waters while filming Titanic to the point that she suffered severe bouts of pneumonia and influenza due to the rigorous filming conditions. And we’re afraid these are only two of the 25 Actors And Actresses That Almost Died While Filming. I guess it’s not as easy as these actors make it appear after all.
Aaron Paul dodged serious injury or even death during filming of the first season of Breaking Bad when a boulder that was positioned on top of the RV and holding down a tarp was blown off by a strong gust of wind along with the tarp onto the exact spot where Paul was standing moments earlier. The only reason he wasn’t severely injured or killed was because he had asked the director if he could try an alternative take from a different spot.
In 2012, John Abraham, an Indian actor and model, escaped death while filming a gunfire scene. His costar Anil Kapoor, who played a cop in the film, shot a blank (minus the metallic lead) that was meant to be shot from a minimum distance of fifteen feet, from a distance of only 1.5 feet. The shot burst into flames as planned, but due to the close range, hit Abraham with a greater intensity (almost ten times) than it was supposed to. However, thanks to Kapoor’s bad aim, Abraham did not get hit in the middle of his neck; the bullet simply grazed the left side of it.
Leonardo DiCaprio got a little too aggressive during the filming of Django Unchained to the point where he almost killed himself. In the scene where he bangs on the table, he slammed it so hard that he put his hand through the glass. DiCaprio needed medical attention in order to stop the bleeding but before that he demanded they finish the scene.
Margaret Hamilton was nearly burned to death on the set of The Wizard of Oz. The actress was sent to the hospital after being severely burned from an explosion that misfired. The intention was to have Hamilton vanish in a giant puff of smoke, but her trapdoor misfired, almost killing her.
Quentin Tarantino didn’t want to put Diane Kruger in any more danger than necessary for her choking scene in Inglorious Basterds, so he did the very real strangling himself. Ironically, he didn’t yell cut in time and the beautiful actress ended up unconscious and nearly died of asphyxiation.
In 2012 Halle Berry was rushed to the hospital in Los Angeles after an accident she had on the set of The Hive. It is believed Halle hit her head very hard on some concrete after taking a nasty fall while shooting a scene for the movie. She was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Hospital in LA shortly after the accident, where she spent a couple of nights so that her doctors could make sure she was out of danger.
Rising star Jaimie Alexander’s career was almost cut short on the set of Thor: The Dark World when she had a nasty fall down some wet stairs in the rain. The beautiful actress slipped a disk, chipped eleven vertebrae, and dislocated her shoulder but luckily avoided a fatal injury.
During the filming of Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief someone from the crew forgot to put the parking brake on in a van that almost ran Uma Thurman down. Fortunately, former 007 Pierce Brosnan was on the scene and jumped into the moving vehicle and hit the brakes in time to save the actress from a possible deadly crash.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt got a “premium rush” doing his own stunts for the bike-messenger action movie. But crashing into a NYC taxi nearly put the brakes on the actor’s body permanently. Thank God he ended up with only thirty-one stitches.
The world almost lost the greatest actress of our age during the shooting of 1994’s The River Wild. The decorated actress lost her balance during a scene and fell overboard into the icy water. Luckily Kevin Bacon was less than six degrees away because he pulled her to safety before things got worse.
Johnny Depp was nearly killed when a stunt went wrong while he was filming The Lone Ranger. Actually, there’s footage online of the scary moment in which Depp, who plays Tonto, is thrown off his horse and trampled on the ground.
Not many know that there was a near-shocking tragedy on the set of The Hunger Games. To be more specific, during the shooting of the scene where Jennifer Lawrence is running through a tunnel, a fog machine malfunction occurred and filled the entire area with smoke to the point that the actress couldn’t breathe and narrowly escaped suffocation.
James Cameron’s epic Titanic is an amazing retelling of the real tragedy. What you don’t know, however, is that another real-life disaster almost happened behind the scenes. Kate Winslet suffered major bouts of pneumonia and influenza due to vigorous filming conditions. The actress also described a number of occasions on which she nearly drowned, including the iconic scenes in which she and Leonardo DiCaprio are trapped on the ship’s lower level. Thankfully, the actress survived to see the blockbuster hit the big screen.
The beautiful South African actress almost died when she injured herself on the set of Æon Flux. She broke her neck while performing a backflip. She was hospitalized for the injury, and shooting was postponed for eight weeks.
Michael J. Fox
The decorated actor almost died on the set of Back to the Future Part III when a stunt went wrong. The actor misplaced his hands during a hanging scene, and he ended up really hanging by a noose. He passed out before someone noticed he wasn’t acting.
Terry O’Quinn stabbed Matthew Fox with a real knife rather than a retractable one while shooting a scene for an episode of Lost. In the prep session for the scene, it was decided the collapsible knife looked too fake, and that they would film the stabbing up to the penetration moment with an actual dull knife before swapping. Initially they couldn’t find a protective vest that looked real, and it took a stunt coordinator’s insistence to get them to let Fox wear one, as even collapsible knives hurt. Unfortunately, the knives ended up being swapped, and O’Quinn stabbed his costar with the real one, which was only stopped by the protective vest that he almost didn’t wear.
Gerard Butler came close to losing his life while filming the surfing drama Chasing Mavericks in 2011 and even shared footage of the incident on Good Morning America. The footage clearly showed him paddling on his board about to catch a wave before he “wiped out.” A huge wave could be seen crashing over Butler’s head, leaving him trapped beneath the water for almost a minute.
Jason Statham almost died during the filming of The Expendables 3. The brakes went out in a truck he was driving, and he was propelled into the ocean. Somehow, Statham managed to free himself from the vehicle and swim to safety. They don’t call him a badass for nothing, after all.
Isla Fisher may have played a magician in Now You See Me, but clearly the magic wasn’t there when she almost drowned on the set. The actress revealed during an interview that she was stuck underwater for nearly three minutes while filming a magic-trick scene for the movie. Fortunately, Fisher managed to escape thanks to a quick-release switch and a stuntman standing nearby.
During a practice round for Rocky IV, Sylvester Stallone told Dolph Lundgren to really go at it the way normal boxers do for fifteen seconds. He ended up with a swollen pericardia sac around his heart and had to be rushed to the hospital by plane, where he was put in intensive care for eight days.
George Clooney almost died when he injured his back pretty bad while filming Syriana. The pain of the injury even made Clooney consider suicide. He recalls, “I was lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, unable to move, having these headaches where it feels like you’re having a stroke, and for a short three-week period, I started to think, ‘I may have to do something drastic about this’ . . . but I never thought I’d get there.”
Ed Harris is a superb actor, but that wasn’t good enough for James Cameron on the set of The Abyss. For a scene where Ed’s character runs out of oxygen, the director gave him an empty SCUBA tank to cause actual asphyxiation. According to rumors, Ed knocked Cameron out once he found out what happened and for that reason they haven’t worked together since.
Jackie Chan is a master of performing amazing stunts, but sometimes things go wrong. When filming Armour of God, Chan missed his landing when jumping into a tree. He crashed to the ground and smashed his head. He almost died, and now has a plastic plate in his head.
Martin Sheen had a heart attack while filming Apocalypse Now and had to drag himself a quarter mile before anyone discovered him and got him the needed medical attention. The film’s director, Francis Ford Coppola, was so worried about the whole thing that he kept it quiet, even to the extent of explaining Sheen’s hospitalization as being due to “heat exhaustion” in the official shoot schedule.
While working on the film Modern Problems (1981), Chevy Chase was nearly electrocuted when a stunt went awry during the sequence in which he is wearing landing lights and dreams that he is an airplane. The current in the lights short-circuited through his arm, back, and neck muscles, which caused him to lose consciousness and have a near-death experience. After his experience, he went through a period of deep depression as many people do when they don’t want to return from their NDE.