Everyone loves the thought of having the glitz and glamour that come with being a world-famous Hollywood actor. However, being one isn’t all fun and games as the risk of doing stunts comes along with it. Although professional stunts performers are hired to perform life-threatening stunts, some actors found themselves being the victims of stunts-gone-wrong. Here we have compiled a list of 10 actors who almost died while filming a scene.
1) Michael J. Fox – Back to the Future Part III
Michael J. Fox’s acting was brilliantly perfect in a scene in Back to the Future Part III where Marty is hanging with a noose around his neck because he wasn’t really acting. While filming for the scene, he did a few takes standing on a box, but since it didn’t look realistic enough, he decided to get rid of the box. Although his fingers were under the noose, the timing was off and he almost went dim for about 30 seconds before the crew realized he was really choking.
2) Isla Fisher – Now You See Me
Actress Isla Fisher had a near-death experience while filming a scene in Now you See Me. The stunt went horribly wrong and almost resulted in her not being able to escape from the prop shackles, causing her to actually drown. Fortunately, Fisher managed to keep calm and free herself from the tank.
3) Harrison Ford – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
During filming for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Harrison Ford was knocked to the ground and crushed beneath the heavy door of the Millennium Falcon. The actor sustained severe injuries from the accident, including a broken left leg. According to Prosecutor Andrew Marshall, the accident could have killed the actor.
4) Margaret Hamilton – The Wizard of Oz
Margaret Hamilton gave us her best performance as The Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. She devoted everything to the role to the point where she suffered 2nd and 3rd-degree burns on her hand and face during a pyrotechnics effect that went horribly wrong while filming. After her recovery, she returned to the set to finish her work.
5) Jason Statham – The Expendables 3
During the filming of The Expendables 3, Jason Statham was driving a truck and the brakes failed and the truck plunged over 60 feet into the sea. Statham managed to escape the truck thanks to his swimming skills and swim to safety but someone less experienced may have not been so lucky.
6) Jackie Chan – Armour Of God
Jackie Chan, even today, is known for performing his own stunts but in 1986, Chan was filming a stunt for ‘Armour Of God’ in which he was to drink beer and jump onto a branch. After a few takes, (and a few beers) Chan made the jump onto the tree branch but it broke under his weight and he plummeted nearly 40 feet onto the ground. He hit his head so hard that a piece of bone actually lodged into his brain. Chan later admitted he probably wouldn’t ever attempt a stunt with beer ever again.
7) Uma Thurman – Kill Bill
During the filming of Kill Bill, Uma Thurman was convinced by Director Quentin Tarantino to drive a dangerous stunt car that she wasn’t qualified to operate. Tarantino insisted that Thurman should drive the car herself so that they could capture the wind hitting her hair a certain way but Thurman lost control of the car, crashing into a palm tree. Thurman was sent to the hospital with a bad concussion and placed in a neck brace.
Thurman’s then-husband, Ethan Hawke, was furious with the director and told him “Hey, man, she is a great actress, not a stunt driver, and you know that.” to which Tarantino responded apologetically and has since been very remorseful of his actions.
8) Martin Sheen – Apocalypse Now
During the filming of Apocalypse Now, Martin Sheen (who played Willard) was so stressed out at one point that he actually suffered a heart attack in the Philippines. They were able to get Sheen to a hospital and save his life but he had come very close to dying. Sheen later talked about the entire story, reflecting on the poor decisions and lifestyle choices he had made leading up to the heart attack.
9) George Clooney – Syriana
During the filming of Syriana, Clooney fell off of a chair and hit his head so hard that it actually split open. This injury had a long term effect on him as later spinal fluid was found to be leaking from his nose. He visited a neurologist who found that Clooney had tears both in his spine and his back. The pain and treatment were so brutal, Clooney actually considered ending his own life.
10) Oliver Robins – Poltergeist
One of the most cursed film shoots of all time is of Poltergeist. Four cast members died during and soon after the filming of the series. During the filming, young actor Oliver Robins, who was playing Robbie, was almost killed by a mechanical clown doll. The mechanical prop doll malfunctioned and actually choked the young actor. Once Steven Spielberg noticed the change of color in the actor’s face, he ran in and pried the arms off of him.