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Actors Whose Costumes And Makeup Nearly Killed Them On Set

Updated January 3, 2020 1.7m views15 items

Since the very beginning of films, actors have been put in all kinds of awkward, strange, and even deadly situations for the sake of our entertainment. From poisonous makeup to costumes that almost killed actors, there's a lot less glamor in the entertainment biz than people generally fantasize about. 

Some of these wardrobe and makeup incidents might even turn your stomach. From hospitalizations to disfiguring allergic reactions and even death, these actors have really been put through the ringer. While some of these films and TV shows are from before the days of set safety concerns and legal stipulations protecting cast and crew, others are shockingly recent.  

If you're a film buff that likes to know all the wardrobe secrets behind Hollywood's biggest hits, take a look at this list of actors who were put in harm's way because of what they had to wear. It's definitely not pretty. 

  • Jennifer Lawrence signed on to play Mystique in X-Men: First Class before the one-two punch of Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook made her one of the most famous people in the world. It took Lawrence seven to eight hours to get into makeup for First Class, and the process involved six women painting her while she stood around naked. And the makeup came with nasty side-effects, too. 

    “I got a couple of things from the paint,” Lawrence said. “Like weird boils, rashes and blisters. [My doctor] had to pop them.”

    For the second film in the second X-Men trilogy, Days of Future Past, the process was amended so Lawrence wore a suit, and was only painted from the next up, but still, it took three hours, and she hated it so much she considered turning the part down. Among other concerns was her distaste standing around for hours breathing hazardous materials that might cause permanent damage.

    As she told Entertainment Weekly, “I love working with [X-men director] Bryan [Singer], and I love these movies... It’s just the paint…fumes and toxins. Now I’m almost 25 and I’m like, ‘I can’t even pronounce this and that’s going in my nose? I’m breathing that?’”

    If you've seen X-MenApocalypse, you surely noticed Lawrence was hardly ever blue. Because she was so famous for that one she just straight up said no. 

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  • Buddy Ebsen Almost Suffocated From His Tin Man Makeup
    Photo: MGM

    The 1939 film The Wizard of Oz is famous for the deadly problems it caused the cast and crew. Actor Buddy Ebsen, who originally played the Tin Man before being replaced by Jack Haley, was one of its more famous victims. In order to make him appear silvery as the Tin Man, MGM decided to cover him in white face paint coated with aluminum dust.

    Nine days into filming, Ebsen went to the hospital for shortness of breath and cramping. He was hospitalized for two weeks, and at one point his lungs even failed. He was replaced by Jack Haley while he was still recovering. 

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  • Tobey Maguire Almost Drowned In His Spider-Man Mask
    Photo: Marvel

    The upside-down Mary Jane/Peter Parker kiss in Spider-Man is one of the most iconic superhero film scenes - but it wasn't as romantic as it looked. As Tobey Maguire hung upside down, his mask forced rain water into his nose, turning the on-screen romantic kiss into more of a CPR situation on set. 

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  • Kate Winslet's Coat Pulled Her Under A Dangerous Wave On The Set Of Titanic
    Photo: 20th Century Fox

    1997's Titanic was the highest-grossing film of all time when it was released. It was, however, less beloved by the cast. Kate Winslet, in particular, almost drowned while filming a scene with Leonardo DiCaprio. As they ran from a wave crashing against a closed gate, her coat got caught and she became stuck underwater and had to struggle her way free. 

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