Injuries can happen anywhere, at any time, to anyone. In fact, some of your favorite actors sustained serious injuries while shooting major blockbuster films. These injuries range from minor fractures and lacerations to serious, life-threatening conditions that required hospitalization.
Here are nine actors who sustained injuries during filming:
1. Viggo Mortensen in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
On-screen injuries are common in Middle Earth, but did you know that several accidents occurred behind the scenes as well? One of the most famous Lord of the Rings injuries happened to actor Viggo Mortensen, who portrayed Aragorn in the series.
In one scene, director Peter Jackson told Mortensen to angrily kick a helmet toward the camera to get a perfect shot. After a few takes, Mortensen kicked the helmet with so much force that he broke two toes. This shot, along with Mortensen’s genuine cry of pain, made it into the final cut.
2. Tom Hanks in Cast Away (2000)
The beloved survival tale starring Tom Hanks and a Wilson volleyball could have been the star’s final film. Before leaving the Cast Away island, Hanks cut his leg. Since it was a small cut, Hanks did not think much of the injury. By the time he returned home, however, it was swollen and painful.
Hanks’ doctor informed him that he had a staph infection – and if he waited any longer to seek medical attention, Hanks could have suffered from fatal blood poisoning.
3. Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux (2005)
While filming the dystopian film Aeon Flux, a set injury almost paralyzed Charlize Theron for life. Only 10 days after beginning the film, Theron performed a backflip for one of the scenes and landed on her neck. She suffered a herniated disc and her doctors believed that she would suffer from prolonged paralysis. Thankfully, Theron made a full recovery.
4. Jim Caviezel in The Passion of the Christ (2004)
Jim Caviezel, known for his portrayal of Jesus in The Passion of the Christ, was struck by lightning during one of the film’s famous scenes. While filming the Sermon on the Mount, Caviezel noticed lightning coming toward him. Luckily, Caviezel did not suffer any injuries from this particular scene – but he did sustain skin infections, pneumonia, hypothermia, and lung infections during the course of filming.
5. Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Not only did Margaret Hamilton suffer injury on the set of the classic film Wizard of Oz, but her body double suffered injuries as well. Hamilton, known for her portrayal of the Wicked Witch of the West, could not work for a month after she burned her hands and face during a scene that went wrong. Her stunt double also suffered burns to her legs after working on one of the film’s broomstick sequences.
6. Channing Tatum in The Eagle (2011)
Channing Tatum suffered serious burns while filming The Eagle in Scotland. During one scene, Tatum’s character had to wade through freezing cold waters. To avoid hypothermia between multiple takes, a crew member poured a mix of boiling water and icy cold river water into Tatum’s wetsuit.
After the team finished filming for the day, Tatum asked for one last treatment of warm water. However, the crew member forgot to add cold water to the mix – and Tatum suffered severe burns to his genital area and some of his skin partially burned away.
7. Ellen Burstyn in The Exorcist (1973)
The acclaimed horror film, The Exorcist, broke many boundaries – and it also nearly broke its lead actress, Ellen Burstyn. During one scene, a crew member had to yank Burstyn on a wire to add to the film’s special effects. Burstyn expressed concerns for her safety, which director William Friedkin acknowledged.
Friedkin assured Burstyn that the crew wouldn’t yank her hard – but he went behind her back and told the wire operator to yank as hard as possible. The wire pulled Burstyn across the room and she landed hard on her tailbone. She was in extreme pain, but Friedkin continued to film her pained face before calling an ambulance.
8. Jeremy Renner in Tag (2018)
One might assume an action star like Jeremy Renner would injure himself while filming an impressive stunt for a blockbuster Avengers film. Renner did break both of his arms on set – but it was for the 2018 comedy film Tag. Renner suffered injuries to his right elbow and left wrist while playing an intense game of tag for the film on day three of production.
9. Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained (2012)
Leonardo DiCaprio severely cut his hand while playing the lead villain for the Quentin Tarantino film Django Unchained. DiCaprio slammed his hand into glass while giving a monologue and started to bleed heavily.
DiCaprio continued with filming, staying in character the whole time. He even smeared his actual blood onto co-star Kerry Washington’s face to add a dramatic effect to the scene. DiCaprio later had to get stitches for the cut.