Dangerous Movie Sets That Had Tragic Outcomes and What Went Wrong

Tue Oct 26 2021

We all love a good movie and part of the magic of cinema is getting immersed into a fictional world that feels real. Disturbingly, sometimes, it is real. Sometimes actors aren’t acting and they truly are in danger, in pain, and scared. There have even been incidents on set in which cast and crew members suffer permanent injuries and even death, all for the sake of making entertainment.

Dangerous movie sets are something that’s entirely avoidable, due to modern-day CGI there is absolutely no reason to put any cast or crew member in danger. Unfortunately, as our thirst for high-quality entertainment increases, studios want to keep things as realistic as possible, which can lead to tragic results.

Hollywood’s Most Recent Tragedy

Cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, was tragically killed while director, Joel Souza, was injured on the set of Rust. Actor, Alec Baldwin, was pointing a gun directly at the camera in order to film a particular scene when the firearm went off. Alec had been told that the gun was not loaded and was safe to use, sadly, he was misinformed. Crew members who were working on the set of Rust say that the tragedy occurred due to “negligence and unprofessionalism”.

The recent incident has sparked a public outcry for change in the way Hollywood movies are made. Many people were horrified to discover that there are no set laws in regards to how to handle weapons on movie sets, there are only suggestions that studios are expected to follow. This leaves far too much room for studio negligence for the sake of saving time and money on productions.

Another Dangerous Incident Occured Just a Few Months Earlier

Clearly, Hollywood is not learning its lesson, as another movie set was accused of being too dangerous, just a few months before the tragedy of Rust. Actress, Jennifer Lawrence, was injured and hospitalized while filming the movie Don’t Look Up. Apparently, the movie’s title was meant to be taken literally for all cast and crew.

The movie was supposed to have a controlled gas explosion occur but there was a technical error that caused shards of glass to fly everywhere, including on the actors in the scene. A piece of glass hit Jennifer in the face, close to her eye, and she was immediately rushed to the hospital. Luckily, Jennifer was okay but the dangerous stunt could have easily ended differently.

Hollywood’s Lack of Safety Is Nothing New

In 1971, actor, Malcom McDowell, suffered both psychologically and physically on the set of A Clockwork Orange. The movie’s director, Stanley Kubrick, made it clear that his priority would be the final film even if that came at the expense of the actors’ health. During a torture scene, Malcolm had to have his eyes propped open by eyelid clamps. Filming that scene lasted several hours during which Malcolm was rarely allowed to take breaks.

In the end, Malcolm suffered temporary blindness and a scratched cornea as well as significant psychological damage. He claims that he would bang his head against the wall from the pain while Stanley pressured him to prepare for the next take. Malcolm says that he is still proud to have been a part of the film but he feels that the process could have been approached differently.

The Crew Can’t Always Tell When Something’s Wrong

Sometimes, it looks like an actor is just doing a really great job acting when really they’re in genuine danger. This is what happened to actress, Isla Fisher, while filming a drowning scene in the movie Now You See Me. The scene was meant to show Isla’s character drowning in a water tank, and then she miraculously escapes via a magic trick. While filming, the crew was unaware of the fact that Isla was actually drowning.

Apparently, the chain used in the scene got wrapped around Isla in such a way that it prevented her from being able to reach the safety hatch, which would have opened the tank. Isla said that there were countless safety precautions put into place for the scene, but no one thought to create a safe word to differentiate real-life drowning from acting. Luckily, the actress is okay but it was a very close call.

Stunt Doubles Deserve More Recognition

David Holmes was Danielle Radcliffe’s stunt double for the entirety of the Harry Potter films and, sadly, has lost his career because of it. David broke his neck while filming a flying scene and is now completely paralyzed from the chest down. He is now in a wheelchair and has limited mobility in his arms and hands.

David has proven to be an inspiration due to the fact that he used his tragedy to find a new purpose. He currently co-hosts a podcast, along with Danielle Radcliffe, called Cunning Stunts. The podcast spotlights stunt doubles around the world in the hopes of finally giving these artists the recognition they deserve.

This Horror Movie Turned Into a Real Life Horror

Actress, Lorenza Izzo, nearly drowned while filming the horror movie The Green Inferno. The scene in question was filmed in the Amazon River and involved Lorenza’s character trying to escape from a canoe with cannibals in it. Apparently, Lorenza wasn’t able to swim against the river’s current and she screamed for help. However, since they were filming a scene in which she was supposed to be scared, the crew simply assumed that she was acting.

This incident may be reminiscent of Isla Fisher’s drowning scene in Now You See Me, however, the crew of The Green Inferno did in fact have a safe word for Lorenza to use. Unfortunately, there was so much noise in the commotion that no one was able to make out what she was saying. Ultimately, they realized she wasn’t acting when the Chilean actress started to scream in Spanish, which she wouldn’t have done while acting in an English-speaking film.

Apparently, Hollywood Thought the Cast of The Expendables 3 Were… Expendable

Pretty much everyone in the core cast of The Expendables 3 suffered some form of danger while filming. Sylvester Stallone broke his neck while filming a fight scene, he now has a metal plate in place. Antonio Banderas hurt his knee during a running scene and remained with the injury throughout the entirety of filming. Jason Statham, however, nearly died.

Jason was filming a scene in which he drives a truck, that shouldn’t be too dangerous, right? Well, the truck’s breaks went out and Jason ended up driving into the Black Sea. In a beautiful twist of fate, it turns out that the actor used to be a professional diver, so he knew what to do and made it back to shore safely. The fact that the crew didn’t check the truck’s breaks is simply appalling and they should consider themselves lucky that Jason just happens to be a badass.

This Isn’t the Only Time Sylvester Stallone Got Injured on Set

Sylvester Stallone spent nine days in the ICU while filming Rocky IV. The actor was filming a fight scene with co-star Dolph Lundgren and was insistent that the scene look as real as possible. Sylvester admits that he instructed Dolph to “forget the choreography”, “just go out there and try to clock me”, and “for the first ten minutes of the fight, it’s going to be a free-for-all.”

Sylvester ended up getting hurt so badly that doctors compared it to being hit by a car. Sylvester was hit in the ribs so hard that his heart hit against his ribcage. This just goes to show that the pressure to make a perfect Hollywood film can be so intense, that sometimes actors will put themselves in real danger in the pursuit of accolades.

Hollywood May Actually Have to Pay For This One

Scott McLean, who was a stuntman in The Hangover Part 2, is taking a stand and suing Warner Bros studios. Scott was working as actor Ed Helm’s stunt double in the film and worked on the famous scene in which Ed’s character sticks his head out the window of a car speeding down the streets of Thailand.

Scott claims that the stunt coordinator instructed the driver of the car to speed up, causing the car to go at a much faster pace than what Scott had previously agreed to for the stunt. Another vehicle involved in the scene lost control at the same time and crashed into the car Scott was in and was hanging his head out of. After two months in a medically induced coma, Scott now suffers brain damage, seizures, and a speech impediment.

The Wizard of Oz Was One of the Most Dangerous Movies of All Time

This beloved movie was one of Hollywood’s most disastrous film sets in history. Buddy Ebsen, who played the Tin Man, was covered in silver aluminum powder as part of his costume despite being allergic to the substance. After several weeks in the hospital, he was fired and replaced by Jack Haley. Margarate Hamilton, who played the Wicked Witch, was severely burned when a trap door failed to open in time resulting in her being on set along with smoke and flames.

Judy Garland, who played Dorothy, was given adrenaline shots so she could stay awake for long filming hours. To make matters worse, she was on a diet of coffee, cigarettes, and soup because obviously an actress gaining weight is worse than death. As if that weren’t enough, the “snow” in the famous poppy field scene was actually asbestos chrysotile fibers, which is extremely cancerous and currently illegal to use on movie sets.

Kick-Ass 2 Took Things a Little Too Far…

Chloe Grace Moretz was just a teenager when filming Kick-Ass 2, and like most teenagers, she thought she was invincible and could do her own stunts. While the filmmakers did let her do a lot of the stunts herself, they insisted to get professional (and adult) stunt doubles for some of the more intense scenes, something which Chloe is now extremely grateful for.

Talila Craig, Chloe’s stunt double, actually cracked her head open while filming one of the movie’s fight scenes. Apparently, Talila was pushed against the wall (which was part of the scene) and her head hit a bar (that was not supposed to happen). Luckily, Talila is fine today and continues to work as a Hollywood stunt double.

Channing Tatum Almost Lost Something That Our Fantasies Cannot Live Without

While filming The Eagle, Channing Tatum got injured in a very important part of the male body, really it’s the only part of him we haven’t seen after watching Magic Mike. Okay, you should know which body part we’re talking about by now…

The Eagle was being filmed in Scotland and it was apparently so cold that the cast poured warm water down their pants to keep everything at a manageable temperature. One of the crew members handed Channing some water to pour on his precious body part but forgot to tell the actor to wait a bit as the water was still boiling hot. Channing was immediately rushed to the hospital and had to have a cast on the area. Luckily for all our fantasies, the actor’s asset is now completely healed.

This One Is Just Freaky…

Brad Pitt got injured on the set of Troy while playing the role of Achilles and he got hurt in, wait for it…. his Achilles tendon, in the exact same spot that his character is said to have been injured. The injury resulted in production being halted for a few weeks and people getting a bit freaked out by the coincidence.

Brad was surprised at his injury, seeing as he spent six months training for the physical requirements of the film. He did countless strength training exercises, ate a lot of protein, and kept his carbs to a minimum. Brad claims to have gotten into the perfect shape to play the warrior, so he didn’t anticipate that his body wouldn’t be up for the physical tasks. It seems that the character’s legacy was stronger than the actor’s preparation.

Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Was a Little Too Aptly Named

Milla Jovovich’s stunt double, Olivia Jackson, will sadly never work in the industry again after the movie Resident Evil: The Final Chapter. Olivia was performing a stunt on a motorcycle when she crashed into a camera crane. Olivia was not wearing a helmet, for the sake of the scene, and the camera crew failed to move the crane out of her way in time. Olivia spent two weeks in a medically induced coma and had to have her left arm amputated.

Olivia was led to believe that the studio had insurance coverage for her, however, the coverage was extremely minimal and didn’t even cover all of her medical bills. Olivia sued the studio, also claiming that the director had changed his mind about the camera angle and gave the crane operator instructions to move much later than what had been rehearsed. Olivia won the lawsuit but will still have to live with her injuries, and career loss, for the rest of her life.

Titanic Seems to Have Been Cursed

It seems like pretty much everyone suffered some form of injury on the set of Titanic. Apparently, the scene of the ship sinking wasn’t filmed very safely, as several actors fell and were hurt. Some of the injuries were pretty severe with ruptured organs and broken bones.

Kate Winslet was expected to film scenes in the water, without a wetsuit under her dress, which unsurprisingly resulted in her getting pneumonia. The curse of the Titanic stayed consistent until the very last day of filming when 80 cast and crew members were hospitalized due to their food being spiked with PCP.

Maybe It Was Divine Intervention?

The movie Passion of the Christ seems to have had some divine intervention on it’s set, we’ll let you decide whether the intervention was a positive or negative one. Jim Caviezel, who played Jesus, arguably suffered the most on set. At one point, he dislocated his shoulder. He also ended up getting accidentally whipped for real by an overenthusiastic extra. And he suffered from both pneumonia and hypothermia. Believe it or not, those are not his most interesting injuries…

Jim was struck by lightning while playing the role of Jesus. Assistant Director, Jan Michelini, was also struck by lightning, twice. Given the controversies surrounding the movie’s director, Mel Gibson, we can’t help but wonder if maybe someone was trying to send a message?

Fox Revised Their Safety Protocols After This Movie

Stuntwoman, Joi (SJ) Harris, tragically died while filming Deadpool 2. Joi was riding a motorcycle for a scene when she flew off the bike and crashed into the window of a building. 20th Century Fox studios admit that Joi was not given proper supervision and no one made sure that she was wearing a helmet. They also recognize that there was a lack of proper inspections regarding the safety of the stunt.

Joi’s family reached an out-of-court settlement with Fox and the studio has promised to improve their safety protocols in the future. The movie’s cast all expressed their grief, including Deadpool star, Ryan Reynolds who stated that they were all “heartbroken, shocked, and devastated.” Deadpool 2‘s end credits include a dedication to Joi, which reads “in memory of Sequana Harris.”

Pretty Much the Entire Cast Got Hurt While Filming This Movie

Almost the entire core cast of The Hobbit got injured while filming. Viggo Mortensen broke his foot when kicking a helmet too hard for a scene. The scene is now famous as Viggo’s scream of pain was real, while fans first thought it was just great acting. Sean Astin also hurt his foot, by accidentally stepping on glass.

Orlando Bloom cracked a rib when a stunt double fell on top of him, and he also fell off a horse at one point. He proudly states in interviews that he was the first actor to get injured while filming, setting the tone for his colleagues’ misfortunes.

This Actress Says That the Director Was Trying to Kill Her

Uma Thurman called out director, Quentin Tarantino, for “trying to kill her” while filming Kill Bill 2. The scene in question involves Uma’s character driving a convertible. The shot is filmed from the back of her head, so Uma could have easily been replaced by a stunt double without fans noticing, which is exactly what she requested to do. Quentin denied the request and told her “hit 40 miles per hour or your hair won’t blow right and I’ll make you do it again.”

Uma says that she was scared to drive the car as the seats weren’t screwed down and the road she was driving on was sand. The actress lost control of the car and crashed into a tree, resulting in her being thrown from the vehicle. Uma suffered injuries to her neck, head, and knees. She believes that her experience is an excellent example of movie directors having too much control over a set and the rest of the crew being too scared to stand up to them.

Tragically, Someone Died While Filming This Superhero Movie

Stuntman, Conway Wickliffe tragically passed away while filming The Dark Knight. Conway was doing a test run for a scene with the Batmobile, in which he was leaning out of the car window. The driver of the car messed up the turn and ended up crashing into a tree. Conway suffered severe head trauma and passed away before making it to the hospital.

Conway’s death was the first of many tragedies that befell the cast and crew of the Batman movie. leading many fans to believe that the film was cursed. Heath Ledger, who played the Joker, died of an overdose. Morgan Freeman, who played Lucius Fox, was injured in a car accident. Christian Bale, who played Bruce Wayne, was accused of assault just a few days before the movie’s premiere. Honestly, we can understand why fans believe in the “Curse of Batman.”