Real On-Set Injuries That Made The Final Cut
Sometimes what you see in movies isn't trickery - it's the real thing. Some memorable moments in movies are the result of actors who aren't really acting at all. While it's not terribly uncommon for actors to get injured on the sets of major Hollywood films - though more often, it's the stuntmen getting injured - it's quite rare for those injuries to make it into the final cuts of the movie. Rarer still, actors are occasionally killed on set or otherwise perish during production - but thankfully, the actors on this list all survived their accidents.
Some are major and some are minor, but all of these injuries really happened, and you actually get to see the blood of some of the world's most famous actors onscreen as a result. This list is a testament to the ability of some of these actors to stay in character, even after they've suffered immensely, like when Tom Cruise broke his foot and kept on running. Often, this makes for an extremely realistic and gut-wrenching scene. Someone give these actors an award!
It takes a good actor to stay in character through difficult moments on set. It takes an incredible actor to stay in character when that actor legitimately injures himself on set. Such was the case with the intense Candyland table scene in Django Unchained. When DiCaprio smashes his hand on the table and the glass breaks, that's really DiCaprio's blood. It was simply too good for Tarantino to cut from the film.
While filming 1936's Follow the Fleet, famed dancer and actor Fred Astaire took a hard thwap from the arm of his longtime co-star, Ginger Rogers. During the dance scene for the number "Let's Face the Music and Dance," Rogers was wearing a beaded, flowing gown with sleeves Astaire claimed "must have weighed a few pounds each."
During the scene's first take, Rogers did a quick turn, and those remarkably heavy sleeves smacked Astaire in the face, injuring his cheek and eye and leaving him "somewhat maimed." When looking over the film later, everyone thought that, regardless of the injury, it was the best take. So it stayed in the film.
Who can forget the image of Malcolm McDowell, eyes pulled open to capacity, in the Ludivco sequence of A Clockwork Orange? Certainly not McDowell given that he scratched his cornea and nearly went blind from filming it. McDowell's injury, along with the real-life doctor they hired to apply his eye drops in the scene, can both be seen in the final cut of the film.
In the sports drama/sort of biopic Foxcatcher, Channing Tatum stars as Olympic champion wrestler Mark Schultz. During a hotel room scene, Tatum's character has a breakdown. He hits himself in the face and smashes his head into the mirror several times. You can see the character's blood in the scene.
Guess what? That's actually Tatum's blood, because he cut his head on the mirror. Though the mirror was coated with safety plastic, Tatum smashed the mirror so hard, he broke all the way through to the wall and broke the wall too. Now that's some good acting.
There's a highly emotional moment in The Two Towers where, after having ridden up to a pile of smoldering Orc remains, Aragorn and the gang fear that Merry and Pippin have been killed, as well. In response, Aragorn he boots his helmet across the screen and lets out a raw cry of anguish. According to Peter Jackson, the scream Mortensen lets out isn't just great acting - it's legitimate pain because Viggo Mortenson broke two toes during filming. Of course, the take is brilliant, so it had to stay in the final cut.
2014's Nightcrawler is a pretty intense film about violence and ethics, but it becomes much more intense when you learn the level of passion the movie's lead - Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom - put into his character.
During a scene that takes place in the bathroom of Bloom's apartment, the angry and frustrated photojournalist smashes the mirror. The mirror wasn't supposed to break, and ended up badly injuring Gyllenhaal's hand - he even ended up in the hospital. He stayed in character though, and you can see his bloody hand in the final cut.