Making a film can sometimes be more perilous than the story of the film itself. When actors go all out to get into character, at times what’s supposed to be fake can end up being real. Many actors have injured themselves on set due to:
- Stunts gone wrong,
- Taking things too far,
- Fluke accidents.
Some injuries have ended up making it into the final cut of a film. In the following film scenes, the pain you see these actors experience isn’t acting at all.
Here are 10 actor injuries that were included in the film.
1. Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler. Gyllenhaal is known for going all out for the sake of his performance. His role as the high-strung stringer in Nightcrawler was no exception. Not only did he lose 30 pounds for the role, he also injured himself while improvising in character.
Gyllenhaal revealed to Variety that he punched a mirror, which ended up shattering and slicing up his hand to the point where stitches were required. The punch wasn’t in the script and Gyllenhaal did it on impulse. Despite the pain, Gyllenhaal remained in character while the camera continued to roll.
2. Halle Berry, Gothika. In the 2003 psychological thriller, Berry’s character wakes up in an asylum after being accused of murdering her husband. In one heated scene between Berry and Robert Downey Jr., things got a little too physical.
While Downey Jr. was restraining Berry, he accidentally ended up twisting her arm and breaking it, which caused production to halt for eight weeks. “It was a freak accident,” Berry said of her injury. “We’re good friends.”
3. Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained. In Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 homage to spaghetti westerns, DiCaprio stayed committed to his despicably ruthless character even during an unanticipated injury.
During a climactic outburst, DiCaprio slammed his hand down on a table and ended up crushing a crystal glass. Instead of halting the scene, DiCaprio stayed in character. He can be seen later in the scene nonchalantly picking glass out of his bloody hand.
4. Brad Pitt, Se7en. In David Fincher’s crime thriller, Pitt had a painful slip-up that required him to wear a cast throughout the rest of production. When chasing a killer through a rainy backdrop, Pitt fell and his arm went through a windshield.
The injury was bone deep and even severed a tendon in Pitt’s arm. The cast had to be written into the script in order to continue filming. Pitt had to strategically conceal his cast for scenes that took place earlier in the film.
5. Margaret Hamilton, The Wizard of Oz. The iconic scene where the Wicked Witch of the West disappears in an explosion of fire actually ended up causing the actress second-degree burns on her face and hands.
The trap door, which was supposed to drop Hamilton to safety, malfunctioned and she got caught in the pyrotechnic effect. Hamilton has since recalled the experience, saying, “My face was all right. I could put makeup on it. But not the hand. All the nerves in my hand were still exposed.”
6. Viggo Mortensen, Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Mortensen was required to kick a helmet towards the camera for a scene, which he did repeatedly for four takes. However, when Mortensen went for the fifth kick, he ended up breaking two toes.
The director, Peter Jackson, recalled, “He let out this scream. I thought wow, this is strong…Viggo feeling that pain, he actually turned it into performance…Of course it was the best take so it’s actually in the movie.”
7. Channing Tatum, Foxcatcher. In the acclaimed biographical sports drama, Tatum has a scene where he has a full-on breakdown in a hotel room. The scene required Tatum to smash a mirror and there were safety precautions set for the stunt.
However, Tatum smashed his head through the mirror three times with so much force that he put his head right through the frame behind the mirror and through the drywall the mirror was hanging on. He cut his head during the take and the blood shown in the final cut of the film is his own.
8. Cary Elwes, The Princess Bride. In the beloved romantic fantasy film, Elwes’ character gets knocked out by the six-fingered man Count Rugen with the bottom of a sword.
However, due to the fact that there were no rubber swords at hand, a real one was used and the man who played Rugen actually hit and knocked out Elwes.
9. James Franco, Pineapple Express. Franco’s lovable perma-stoned character can be seen wearing a headband in some scenes of the film. While the headband is fitting, it was actually worn to cover up stitches.
For a scene where Franco was required to run into a tree, he did it so hard that he hurt himself for real.
10. Brad Pitt, Troy. This Trojan War film had a notoriously difficult shoot. In once scene, Pitt injured himself to the point that production had to halt for 10 weeks.
Pitt took on the role of Achilles, the Greek hero whose only supposed weakness is his tendon. Ironically, Pitt ended up tearing his own left Achilles tendon during a fight scene.