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37 Famous Actors Who Were Injured On Film Sets

Updated October 18, 2020 115.0k views37 items

Murphy’s Law doesn’t care if you’re Johnny Depp or Robert Downey Jr. Next time you twist an ankle or get chained to the bottom of your bathtub a la Isla Fisher, remember that you’re just like these film actors, who all suffered some serious injuries on set while living the glamorous Hollywood life of making movies. From sprained ankles to scorched penises (yes, really!), there's plenty that can go tragically wrong while making a movie.

This also explains why making films can be so expensive. Along with cast, crew, producer, and director salaries, production expenses include gear, catering, stunt work, and insurance. Lots of insurance. But production insurance doesn’t save actors from getting hurt. Oh no. Film sets can be very dangerous places.

When you’re working with weapons, aircraft, vehicles, horses, rain, water tanks, boiling water, and ferrets, proceed with extreme caution. Which famous actors and actresses have literally bled for their art? Read on to learn which film stars have been injured on set and which movies had to halt production until their star recovered. Making movies isn't just glitz, glamour, and fun and games, as these behind-the-scenes movie injuries prove. 

  • Brandon Lee
    Photo: The Crow / Miramax Films

    The Crow

    Whenever there is an accident involving a gun on any set, Brandon Lee’s name is mentioned. The Wilmington, NC set was rife with accidents before Lee’s fatality, but on March 31, 1993, the armorer (a firearms expert) left set early after being told that a scene could be handled by the prop master. Actor Michael Massee (Funboy) was to shoot Lee (Eric Draven) when he arrived home carrying groceries.

    The .44 Magnum was not properly cleaned after being in used in a prior scene where a cap and no powder was used. The prop master dry fired the weapon to clear the chamber. The bullet unseated from the dummy round that was lodged in the barrel of the handgun from the dry firing. No one noticed the bullet and the gun was loaded with a blank cartridge. When the blank was fired by Massee at close range, the bullet hit Lee in the abdomen. A set medic issued CPR and Lee was transported to a hospital where doctors worked for hours to save his life. Massee wasn’t blamed for Lee’s death but the actor struggled with the fatality and took time off from acting to recover from losing Lee.

    Source: Uproxx  
    • Age: Died at 28 (1965-1993)
    • Birthplace: Oakland, USA, California

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  • Tag

    In July 2017, actor Jeremy Renner said he "broke his arms" filming a stunt. Although many believed he injured himself while filming Avengers: Infinity War, the actor revealed he fractured his right elbow and his left wrist while filming Tag.

    Renner's Tag co-star, John Hamm, confirmed the injury when he stopped by Ellen to promote the film in June 2018: 

    We had several on-set injuries, the most notable being – I was not there that day, so it’s impossible to blame this on me – Jeremy Renner, who broke both of his arms at the same time, day three of production. We had... 40 more days to go? Keep in mind this is a man who’s done a hundred Avengers movies and been fine. And he does a movie about playing tag… both arms, like firewood, just snapped like a matchstick.

    • Age: 49
    • Birthplace: Modesto, California, United States of America

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  • Salt 

    Jolie took home a permanent souvenir from her time filming Salt. She sliced her face just above her nose during a “ridiculously easy” scene. She tumbled into a doorway with a gun and ended up rolling onto the floor. “I was bleeding and I have a little scar now,” Jolie said. 

    Source: Telegraph

    • Age: 45
    • Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America

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  • Iron Man 3

    Oh, ankles. They get you every time. Robert Downey Jr. sprained his ankle while performing a wire-rigged stunt on the Iron Man 3 set in Wilmington, NC. Production slowed to a crawl for six weeks, causing a very expensive break in the action. But the visual FX team came to the rescue. They used face replacement and body doubles to create RDJ's scenes. If you’re looking for the VFX scenes, watch the final sequence on the beach.

    Source: Cinemablend
    • Age: 55
    • Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America

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