In the annals of film history, there have been many scenes that caused viewers to wince with imagined pain. But how many of these blurred the lines between fantasy and reality, causing actual harm to the actors involved? Here’s a list of ten movie moments that heralded significant real-life injuries.
1. George Clooney, Syriana
During a torture sequence, the Oscar-winning actor was slammed into a concrete floor. The blow to his head resulted in a brain injury that left Clooney with intense headaches and memory loss for the next year. The damage was so severe, it literally caused spinal fluid to leak from his nose.
2. Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. 2
Unlike the majority of the sequences in Quentin Tarantino’s revenge thriller, the scene that left Uma Thurman with a concussion and knee injury wasn’t supposed to be graphically violent. Thurman would later blame Tarantino for the incident, claiming that she requested the use of a stunt driver but was turned down.
3. Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Mortensen’s character, Aragorn, was grief-stricken over the apparent loss of his friends. The actor’s ear-piercing howl, however, was genuine: When the metal helmet connected with his foot, it fractured two of his toes.
4. Buddy Ebsen, The Wizard of Oz
Ebsen was originally cast as the Scarecrow, but gladly switched places with Ray Bolger to play the Tin Man instead. During production, however, Ebsen suffered from shortness of breath, muscle cramps, and body aches. It turned out he was allergic to the aluminum dust in the makeup, and Jack Haley took over the role.
5. Dylan O’Brien, Maze Runner—The Death Cure
During production of the YA adaptation, O’Brien was filming an aerial scene when his harness broke, causing him to collide with a moving vehicle. His injuries, including a severe concussion, caused the actor to miss a year on the set.
6. Linda Hamilton, Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Hamilton’s Sarah Connor has a fine hand with a gun. Unfortunately, the actress forgot to replace her earplugs before one shooting sequence. Although the gun was loaded with blanks, Hamilton suffered permanent ear damage from the blow.
7. Jared Leto, Chapter 27
To play Mark Chapman, Leto reportedly gained a significant amount of weight in a short period of time—so much so, in fact, that the actor developed gout as a result.
8. Tom Hanks, Philadelphia and Cast Away
Similarly, two-time Oscar winner Hanks dropped so much weight for his roles as an AIDS patient and a plane crash victim (respectively), he was eventually diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. The actor believes that gaining the weight back and losing it again contributed to his diagnosis.
9. Sylvester Stallone, The Expendables 3
Although the action-hero icon is no stranger to on-set mishaps, he’s confessed that the back injury he sustained during his work on this three-quell was the worst of his career.
10. Daniel Craig, Spectre
Craig’s fourth outing as James Bond left him with a knee injury that put the film’s production on hold for two weeks. In fact, it could have been halted longer to allow the actor a chance to fully heal, but Craig insisted on working through the pain.