Ten actors who almost died on set

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The sad story of Brandon Lee and his tragic death while filming The Crow could have happened many other times. Below you’ll find ten more actors who almost died on the set of a film they were shooting, and who often survived at their last chance.

Halle Berry in Die Another Day


The films in the James Bond saga are full of dangerous scenes, yet the one Berry made with Pierce Brosnan didn’t seem particularly complicated: while she was busy on the set during a moment of intimacy between the two characters, Halle Berry risked choking after eating some fruit.

Fortunately, the sudden intervention by Brosnan (who applied the Heimlich maneuver) prevented the incident from becoming more serious.

Jackie Chan in Police Story


An actor used to acrobatics like Jackie Chan must have risked his life at least once. Among the ten actors who have almost died on set, he’s the one that has come closer and more often, also for the continuous refusal of stuntmen.

During the filming of Police Story, however, things went worse than other times and poor Jackie found himself at the end of a scene with a broken pelvis, damage to the seventh and eighth dorsal vertebra and third-degree burns to the hands.

Uma Thurman in Kill Bill 2

Uma Thurman's "Kill Bill" Car Crash

During the end of filming for Kill Bill 2, Uma Thurman had a bad car accident. The actress was invited by Quentin Tarantino to shoot the scene without a stuntman, but the rough path and the speed of the vehicle caused the crash against a palm tree.

Thurman hurt herself a lot on the occasion and the relationship between her and the director cracked right after this unfortunate event.

Diane Kruger in Inglorious Basterds


Another actress who risked her life on the set of a Quentin Tarantino film: during the filming of Inglorious Basterds, the director wanted Diane Kruger’s strangulation scene to be as realistic as possible and decided to take it personally.

The hands that grab Kruger’s neck in the film are in fact Tarantino’s, who squeezed the actress’s throat longer than necessary, causing her to lose consciousness for a bit.

Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future


Another actor who risked suffocation is Michael J. Fox. The protagonist of Back to the Future told in his autobiography that he almost hung himself.

In the third episode of the saga he decided to shoot Marty’s hanging scene without any object supporting his legs, convinced he would give a more realistic touch to his acting. Too bad the shooting time went too long, with a consequent loss of consciousness for the actor.

Isla Fischer in Now You See Me


Isla Fischer risked drowning during a scene in Now You See Me. The actress was engaged in a scene in a tank full of water from which her character had to escape.

But Fischer got caught in a chain and nearly drowned for about three minutes, until the crew members managed to get her out.

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky IV


Sly risked his life too, during Rocky IV. Stallone was forced to a hospital stay in intensive care after a scene with Dolph Lundgren.

The hits received during a fight made Sly’s heart beat against the sternum, causing the progressive swelling and slowing of heart muscle beats. Stallone managed to cope with eight days of intensive therapy.

Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz


The interpreter of the Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz was almost killed during the scene in which her character disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

His heavy petroleum-based makeup proved to be particularly sensitive to the sparks on the set, causing severe burns to his face and hands. The rapid intervention of the crew and a few weeks of hospital allowed the actress to come out of it without too many consequences.

Tom Hanks in Cast Away


During the filming of Cast Away, Tom Hanks injured his knee and a couple of days later he had a swollen and painful leg.

Filming was suspended and the actor spent some tough hours, with a coming and going of panicked doctors. The medical staff decided to eventually transfer the actor to a health facility away from the island, where they cleaned up the infected leg, saving his life. As Hanks himself recalled years later, if there had been no emergency intervention the infection would surely have killed him in a few days.

Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now


One of the most difficult productions ever like Apocalypse Now could not fail to include an almost fatal accident.

The protagonist was Martin Sheen, who at the age of thirty-six was struck by a heart attack in the middle of the jungle. In that period the actor lived one of his darkest moments and abused alcohol and drugs, with harmful consequences for his organism.

Fortunately for him, the crew saved him while he was gasping. Until he recovered from the heart attack, he has been substituted by a stand-in.

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