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Sometimes actors are so caught up in the moment that they injure themselves while making movies. Here are 11 examples of actors who worked through on-set injuries
- Leonardo DiCaprio on Django Unchained. In one of the film’s climatic standoffs, Leonardo DiCaprio cut his hand when he hammered in the crown of a skull. The blood he smears on Kerry Washington’s face is real!
- Channing Tatum on Foxcatcher. The actor bashes his head against a mirror and breaks it in the movie. Not surprising, but Channing Tatum scratched up his face and head while shooting scene, even if the mirror was protected under plastic. According to Foxcatcher’s director, “he punched that thing with his head three times and shattered it, and put his head through it and through the frame behind the mirror and through the drywall that the mirror was hanging on and left a divot two inches deep. When we took the mirror down, there was a hole in the wall. And he actually cut himself, and you see his blood in that scene.”
- Viggo Mortensen on Lord of the Rings. At the beginning of The Two Towers, Viggo Mortensen kicks an Orc helmet out of frustration. Mortensen, who was already agitated and frustrated with an 18-month shoot, kicked the helmet so hard that he broke two of his toes. He also almost drowned while being pulled underwater during a chase scene.
- Jake Gyllenhaal on Nightcrawler. Jake Gyllenhaal goes crazy on a mirror during Nightcrawler. He actually injured his hands during shooting and had to be hospitalized. He told Ellen DeGeneres, “A mirror broke in the middle of the scene; I hit a mirror and it broke. And it cut my hand… I was in the middle of a scene and then I cut it and had to go to the hospital… Do you want to see it? It’s gross.”
- Jackie Chan on Rumble in the Bronx. Jackie Chan is one of the greatest on-screen martial artists and stuntmen in movies. He’s mostly known for doing his own stunts, which makes him prone to injury. While his stunts are legendary, his injuries are also persistent. On Rumble in the Bronx, he broke his foot when he made a death-deny jump onto a moving hovercraft. He still pressed on and continued shooting, while the film’s prop department made him a special sneaker to go over his cast.
- Nicole Kidman on Moulin Rouge! During shooting, Nicole Kidman broke a rib and tore her knee while dancing in Moulin Rouge! While healing, she re-injured her ribs again when Ewan McGregor dropped her.
- Brad Pitt on Troy. Ironically, Brad Pitt tore his Achilles Tendon while shooting one of the big battle scenes from Troy. Why is it ironic? Brad Pitt was playing the character of Achilles.
- Halle Berry on Gothika. Back in 2003, while shooting Gothika (if you remember that movie), Robert Downey, Jr. accidently broke Halle Berry’s arm during a scene. Production was halted for eight weeks, while Berry recovered. She recalled, “Robert Downey twisted my arm and it broke,” she says with a laugh. “It was a freak accident but we’re good friends.”
- Harold Lloyd on Haunted Spooks. While posing for a promo photo for the movie Haunted Spooks, Harold Lloyd blew off his thumb and index finger when he was lighting a cigarette with the fuse from a prop bomb, which ended up being a real bomb. He wore a prosthetic glove to hide the injury while shooting the rest of the movie.
- Margaret Hamilton on The Wizard of Oz. When a trap door malfunctioned, Margaret Hamilton suffered second degree burns on her face and hands when a fireball engulf the Wicked Witch of the West. ““My face was all right. I could put makeup on it. But not the hand. All the nerves in my hand were still exposed. Instead of makeup on my hands I was going to wear green gloves.” According to Hamilton, director Victor Fleming said, “Well, anyway, we have the film on your disappearance, and it was a great shot!”
- Malcolm McDowell on A Clockwork Orange. During Alex’s brainwashing scene, Malcolm McDowell scratched his cornea when his eyes were clumped open. He was also wearing a straightjacket at the time, so those screams of terror in the movie were real.