18 Actors Who Almost Lost Their Lives For A Role

Kasia Mikolajczak
Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard Of Oz

I don’t know about you, but I always admire actors who are very hands-on with their film performances. Often, these stars do their own stunts, and I, for one, appreciate that.

However, doing so doesn’t come without risks. Sometimes accidents happen, and that can cause major issues from severe injuries or even risking death. The following are some examples of actors who almost lost their lives for a movie role. Yikes!

Gary Oldman

Gary Oldman in The Darkest Hour.

To play such an interesting character as Winston Churchill in the Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman needed to smoke cigars. That would have been fine if it wasn’t for the 10 or 12 takes where he would need to light up one cigar per scene. In the end, he smoked about $20,000 worth of Winston Churchill’s favorite cigars and gave himself nicotine poisoning. Ouch!

James McAvoy

James McAvoy in a scene from It Chapter Two

As it turns out, there were plenty of injuries on the set of It: Chapter Two. One star of the movie, James McAvoy, did the majority of his stunts. He actually ended up tearing both quads and suffering tendonitis after production for the film wrapped. That doesn’t sound like fun, huh?

Jessica Chastain

Jessica Chastain holding unto a railing in The 355

Speaking of James McAvoy, one of his costars in the It: Chapter Two movie was Jessica Chastain. She, too, had her share of film set mishaps. During shooting The 355 movie, Jessica could’ve had a serious head injury while filming a combat scene that had gone awry. She had fallen on a marble floor and hit her head. Needless to say, she had to visit the hospital to get herself checked out. Oh, my!

Jeremy Renner

Jeremy Renner in Tag.

If you watched the movie Tag, you know how funny it was. Am I right? But would you be surprised to find out that Jeremy Renner got pretty injured while working on it, huh? Well, he did, alright. He fell 20 feet and not only did he break his elbow, but also his wrist. Then he returned to the set the next day and continued with removable casts he could take off between takes. What a champ, eh?

Daniel Day-Lewis

Daniel Day-Lewis as Christy Brown sitting in a wheelchair carrying groceries

Some actors go very “method” for a film role which means they stay in character even when not shooting a scene. That was the case with Daniel Day-Lewis and his portrayal of Christy Brown, born with cerebral palsy in the movie My Left Foot. Day-Lewis insisted on staying hunched back in his wheelchair as his movie character would do so much that he broke two ribs from being in that position too much. Holy moly!

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra suited up in armor holding a gun in a scene from Quantico

Priyanka Chopra is very known for her physical role in the TV show Quantico. So there’s no surprise that she’s had her share of on-set injuries. She got a concussion while filming a scene where she was supposed to rescue someone, and she slipped on plastic while running in rubber boots. Oh, boy!

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman as a ballerina posing in the white swan outfit on the set of Black Swan

If you watched Black Swan, you must’ve been amazed by all the incredible ballet dance scenes, huh? I know I was. But did you know that one of these scenes caused the film’s star Natalie Portman to dislocate a rib? I mean, what? I didn’t even know that was possible. The scene where a physical therapist is working on her is taken from real life, alright. Natalie was in pain as she was acting in this scene. Isn’t she a constant professional or what?

Halle Berry

Halie Berry in a rink during a fight scene in Bruised

Speaking of dislocated ribs, here’s another on-set injury story. This time it’s Halle Berry on the set of Bruised. Halle was fighting her costar, Valentina Shevchenko, who’s a real MMA fighter when she broke two ribs. Being a trooper, Berry continued working that day and only relied on pain medication to get her through it. Amazing, huh?

Sylvester Stallone

Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV.

Now that we’re on the subject of fight scenes, I have another crazy incident for you. Sylvester Stallone wanted his fight scenes with his costar Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV to look as realistic as possible, so he advised him to just keep punching. Sly took such a beating that he ended up in the ICU for nine days. The doctors advised him that Lundren’s hit was so powerful it caught the ribs and hit the heart against the ribcage. This is something you often see with head-on collisions. Oh, my goodness.

Ashton Kutcher

Ashton Kutcher in Jobs.

While working on his portrayal of Apple’s founder Steve Jobs in Jobs, Ashton Kutcher took a risk and went on a “fruitarian” diet, something that the real Jobs was fond of. However, Kutcher got so sick from it that he had to be hospitalized twice because he ended up giving himself pancreatitis. That sounds painful, no?

Dylan O’Brien

Dylan O'Brien in a scene of Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Dylan O’Brien sure had quite a scare on the set of his movie Maze Runner: The Death Cure. He actually fell off of a vehicle and was hit by another one that was following behind. The star ended up with a concussion, facial fracture, and lacerations, not to mention all the mental trauma the accident caused him. He didn’t want to do any physical roles after that but got back into it with American Assassin. Good for him.

Colin Firth

Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter in The King's Speech

I don’t know about you, but I loved The King’s Speech. It’s such an amazing movie with an incredible cast. Colin Firth, who played the main character, spent months working on a stammer that eventually put his arm to sleep. He must’ve pinched a nerve that caused some sort of semi-paralysis that would last three to four days. The doctor told him that it would eventually go away after the filming. That’s so baffling, eh?

Michelle Yeoh

Michelle Yeoh
Giphy | Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

I have to confess I still haven’t seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, where Michelle Yeoh shows off her martial arts chops. During one of these grueling scenes that she performed herself, Yeoh tore her ACL while running across a rooftop. She needed surgery to repair it and said it was the most painful moviemaking experience. Oh, I can believe that.

Blake Lively

Blake Lively in The Rhythm Section

You wouldn’t think Blake Lively could have played any roles that would make her susceptible to injuries, huh? But in one particularly tricky scene on the set of The Rhythm Section, she shattered her hand while fighting with costar Jude Law. Lively broke several bones and damaged ligaments and had to recuperate for six months. That's crazy, huh?

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible Fallout
Giphy | Mission Impossible

If you’re a fan of Tom Cruise, I bet you love his Mission Impossible movies. Those are definitely quite physical roles. During the taping of one scene in Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Cruise broke his ankle while leaping from one building to another. He is Tom Cruise, of course, so he continued to run so he wouldn’t have to repeat the stunt. Wow!

Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks in Cast Away holding Wilson the volleyball

Everybody loves the survival story of Tom Hanks and his friend, the volleyball Wilson in Cast Away. Am I right? But did you know that Tom Hanks got a gnarly staph infection from a leg wound he refused to wash so he could stay in full character? That infection put him in the hospital for three days, and he could have poisoned his blood and eventually died from it. Can you believe that?

Isla Fisher

Isla Fisher in a tank during a scene from Now You See Me

Here’s a terrifying story I’m about to tell you. Did you see the movie Now You See Me? That scene where Isla Fisher’s character is chained and submerged in a tank of water where she’s supposed to unchain herself and escape was a real horror story. The chain between Isla’s feet got stuck, and she was actually close to drowning before the director and the crew realized something was wrong. OMG, that must’ve been so scary, huh?

Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard Of Oz

Margaret Hamilton is known for her role as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. But did you know that she got set on fire shooting one of the scenes for the beloved movie? Oh, yeah, that’s right. When a trapped door didn’t open, she was engulfed in flames. She got second-degree burns on her face and third-degree burns on her hand and spent six weeks recovering from the ordeal. Wow, I’m pretty speechless here.

Oh my goodness!

Dan Levy from Schitt's Creek saying "oh my God."
Giphy | Schitt's Creek

Can you believe these on-set accident stories here? Some of them are just like from the movies. Oh, wait, these were movies, hee-hee. I bet these actors didn’t bargain for what happened to them, but they all took it in stride and made it to the other end. I love a story that ends well.