14 Actors Who Suffered Serious Injuries On Set

Ben Falk
UK Senior Movies Writer

Robert Downey Jr – Ankle – ‘Iron Man 3’

Filming was shut down on the superhero sequel after Downey broke his ankle shooting a stunt. Although he needed six weeks to recover, that didn’t stop the filmmakers – they simply made a fake version of the star. Effects guy Chris Townsend told Screencrush, “We were able to reconstruct [him] as Tony Stark on set with the help of [a] body double and the facial captures we’d collected afterwards.”

Brad Pitt – Arm – ‘Se7en’

While filming a scene in which he chases John Doe (Kevin Spacey) down the street, Pitt went through a car window. He soon realized he’d done serious damage – in this case cut his hand so deeply that he severely injured the tendons. He wore a cast for the remainder of filming, often wearing a hidden brace.

Charlize Theron – Neck – ‘Aeon Flux’

Charlize may think twice about playing an action star after hurting her neck during the making of this flop in 2004. She suffered a slipped disc in her neck while performing a stunt, shutting the production down for six weeks.

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George Clooney – Back – ‘Syriana’

Clooney has admitted that he contemplated suicide after harshly damaging his back during the filming of this 2005 drama. He suffered frequent, brutal headaches and was hospitalized. Do you think the Oscar he won for his performance helped alleviate the pain?

Channing Tatum – Junk – ‘The Eagle’

Playing a Roman soldier in the middle of a Scottish winter is not much fun, so actor was glad of the opportunity to warm up by pouring a mix of boiling and river water down his suit. Unfortunately, the crew member had forgotten to dilute the water from the kettle meaning scalding water – er, how do we put this delicately – damaged the end of Channing’s Tatum. He admits it was the most pain he’d ever experienced.

Kristen Stewart – Thumb – ‘Snow White And The Huntsman’

Stewart not only punched co-star Chris Hemsworth while filming this 2013 blockbuster, but she severely tore a ligament in her thumb getting into an on-camera scrape with one of the dwarves. Disney never had this problem.

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Harold Lloyd – Hand – ‘Haunted Spooks’

Silent screen star Lloyd was on the set of the 1920 comedy when a prop bomb went off in his hand. He lost two fingers and was temporarily blinded. Shooting was halted and for the remainder of his career, he wore a special glove with prosthetic fingers.

Jaimie Alexander – Various – ‘Thor 2: The Dark World’

The actress, who plays Thor’s warrior buddy Sif, fell down a metal staircase during shooting and could have been paralysed. She told MTV, “I herniated a disc in my thoracic spine, dislocated my left shoulder, tore my right rhomboid and chipped eleven vertabra.” Thankfully, she made a full recovery, spending a week in hospital and doing a month of rehab.

Martin Sheen – Heart – ‘Apocalypse Now’

Sheen was second choice for the role of Captain Willard in this epic, replacing Harvey Keitel. But the stress of the role contributed to Sheen having a heart attack during filming, such a severe one that he was administered last rites. Luckily, after a six week delay, the actor was back filming his scenes and a classic was born.

Halle Berry – Arm – ‘Gothika’

Berry has Robert Downey Jr to thank for a breaking her arm on the set of this 2003 chiller. Downey accidentally grabbed the actress a little too roughly during a scene and Berry spent the rest of the shoot wearing a cast.

Russell Crowe – Shoulder – ‘Cinderella Man’

Crowe is no stranger to the gym when preparing for a role. But he went a little too far while training to play boxer Jim Braddock, dislocating a shoulder just before shooting, which was delayed by a month while he had surgery and physiotherapy.

Ellen Burstyn – Back – ‘The Exorcist’

Director William Friedkin is a famously intense director, demanding a lot from his actors. That desire for perfection led to Burstyn seriously hurting her back after being yanked while strapped into a harness for the finale of the film. The screams you hear on screen are real.

Jackie Chan – Ankle – ‘Rumble In The Bronx’

A cast painted like a sock? Now there’s a novel way of covering up a foot injury. Chan used just such a trick during the filming of his 1995 action-comedy after breaking his ankle while jumping onto a hovercraft. You can see the trickery during the end credit outtakes.

Sylvester Stallone - Neck - ‘The Expendables’

Sly received a hairline fracture of his neck during a fight with Steve Austin, which required surgery and the insertion of a metal plate. He even posted pictures of the X-rays on the Web. Now that’s a hard man.

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Photos: Rex/Press Association/Moviestore