20 Nasty On-Set Injuries

Accidents happen. But when they take place on a film set it could mean money down the drain, weeks of delay and actors with broken bones or worse.

Harrison Ford should know. He's currently resting up after the door of the Millennium Falcon fell on him on the set of Star Wars: Episode VII at Pinewood Studios. Ouch.

His ankle injury, now being tended to by NHS's finest, could leave him out of action for up to eight weeks.

He's one of the luckier ones though as on-set injuries can sometimes cause serious harm. Scroll down to find out some of the worst - and most bizarre.


Thought Jason Statham was just acting like a hard man? Wrong! He's as tough as Iron Man's suit as a near-death experience on the set of The Expendables 3 proved.

The action star showed what a badass he was after a stunt went horribly wrong during a shoot in Bulgaria.

Statham was driving a truck when it careered out of control and plunged into the Black Sea.

But in true action hero style, he swum back up as if nothing serious had happened.

After a quick change of clothes, the Stath was ready to roll again and do another take. What a pro.


Not even all the gods of Asgard could have helped Jaimie Alexander after she took a tumble while shooting Thor: The Dark World .

Lady Sif may have superhuman strength but she was defeated by a pesky metal staircase. After falling down one on a rainy morning, she ended up slipping a disc in her spine, chipping several vertebrae, knocking her left shoulder out of place and tearing her rhomboid on one side.

That's very injured, in case you were wondering.

Alexander had to take a break from filming for a month while she recovered during which time Thor and Loki bickered over who would bring her some grapes to snack on. Probably.


Jennifer Lawrence sure has suffered for the role of Katniss Everdeen while shooting the Hunger Games series.

She nearly choked to death (apparently) when a faulty fog machine went crazy on the set of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 in Atlanta, pumping out so much smoke that she felt sick and dizzy.

J-Law was also injured while filming an underwater scene for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire , puncturing an eardrum and going momentarily deaf in one ear.

Ears, as we all know, affect balance which could explain why she can barely walk down a red carpet without falling over these days. That adorable klutz.


Leonardo DiCaprio wouldn't let a little thing like blood pouring out of his hand get in the way of a good scene. No way.

Quentin Tarantino kept the cameras rolling after Leo, playing psycho plantation owner Calvin Candie in Django Unchained , slammed his hand on a dining room table so hard that he accidentally broke a glass and ended up with a nasty gash on his hand.

He needed stitches but it was all worth it in the end as the shot made it into the final cut.


Watching Gerard Butler strip should probably carry a health and safety warning.

The Scottish hunk was doing his best Chippendale impression for a scene in soppy tear-jerker PS I Love You when his suspender strap flew off hitting co-star Hilary Swank on the head.

Didn't think suspenders could do that much damage? Think again. She had to have stitches and even took a short break from filming.

Although this was most likely to recover from the sight of a half-naked Butler more than anything else, we imagine.


Clumsy Brad Pitt added his own personal touch to the gore factor on Se7en when he slipped up during a chase sequence, smashed his arm through a windscreen and severed a tendon in his hand.

The actor was back on set a few days later after being rushed to hospital but with his arm now in a cast, director David Fincher had to find a way to explain it away, so he wrote the injury into the script.

Pitt's character Detective David Mills was actually meant to injure himself in that scene but just not his hand.


Martial arts hero Jackie Chan loves doing his own kamikaze stunts which has led to many an injury on set, enough to fill this entire list.

During the filming of Police Story , one scene called for him to slide down a pole decorated with Christmas tree lights in a huge shopping mall before crashing through a glass ceiling.

Sounds easy enough, right? Nope. The lights burned the skin on Chan's hand, he cracked his seventh and eighth vertebrae, and dislocated his pelvis.

Buy, hey, it looked cool. DAMN COOL.


Vincent D'Onofrio piled on the pounds Raging Bull style to play Private Leonard Lawrence in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket .

His weight gain - clocking in at a staggering 280 pounds - was good for the role but not so great for helping him navigate an obstacle course with the nifty dexterity required by a hardcore Marine.

The actor ended up twisting his knee during a boot camp scene and the injury was so bad that he needed surgical reconstruction.


Another Kubrick film and another actor injured. Hmm.

Old Stan being the ruthless perfectionist that he was, went all out to get the best shot in A Clockwork Orange .

Malcolm McDowell suffered a scratched cornea and briefly went blind while shooting the film's most iconic scene, where his character Alex is brainwashed, because his eyes were pinned open for so long.

That doctor you see next to him applying drops? He was a real doctor who had to be there to make sure McDowell wasn't blinded permanently.


William Friedkin is another director who has gone to rather extreme lengths to get real emotions from his cast.

While filming The Exorcist both Linda Blair and Ellen Burstyn were strapped into harnesses and pulled around violently by the crew.

Burstyn permanently damaged her spine during one scene where she's thrown away from her demonic, head-spinning, batshit crazy daughter, landing on her coccyx.

Blair didn't get out unscathed either; the actress was injured by a broken piece of rig as she was tossed about on the bed.


Channing Tatum burned his penis on the set of swords-and-sandals epic The Eagle in Scotland. Yes, that's right HIS PENIS.

How can such an atrocity happen, you ask? Well, the actor was shooting a scene where he had to take a dip in freezing cold water wearing a wetsuit.

The only way to keep warm was to pour a mixture of boiling hot water and river water down his suit.

Except someone forgot to dilute the kettle water and Channing singed the skin off the tip of his penis. Hot stuff, indeed.


Ever wondered who would win in a fight between Sylvester Stallone and Dolph Lundgren?

Dolph was the hands down winner on the set of Rocky IV after the pair agreed to a real punch up so that a boxing match between Balboa and nemesis Drago could look as authentic as possible.

Sly ended up in intensive care after his hulking Swedish co-star delivered an almighty wallop to his chest, causing his heart to swell and blood pressure to rocket.


Die Hard director John McTiernan certainly wanted more bang for his buck and demanded that his cast fire blanks on set as they made a louder noise onscreen.

Unfortunately for Bruce Willis, they were so ridiculously loud that he lost two-thirds of the hearing in his left ear shooting one scene because he was so close to the gun.

Still, it did mean John McClane got to kill a baddie by shooting him to bits from under a table, which was pretty awesome to watch.


The bit in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where Aragorn is howling with rage because he thinks two of his Hobbit pals have died?

Viggo Mortensen was actually screaming for real because he'd just broken two of his toes after kicking an Orc helmet in frustration.

The scene shows him dropping to his knees in anguish, most likely because he wanted to pass out right there and then.

But instead of crying like a baby to Peter Jackson, he manned up and finished the take. Gandalf would have been proud.


Normally food and sexytimes on film are a winning combination not so for poor Halle Berry who was nearly finished off by a fig.

Berry, vamping it up as Bond girl Jinx Johnson on Die Another Day , was left choking on a piece of fruit as she got down to business with co-star Pierce Brosnan.

Luckily for her, Brosnan's 007 training kicked in and he saved the day quicker than you can say "Heimlich maneuver".

Berry is definitely in the running for one of the most accident-prone stars ever (second only to Jackie Chan); she had her arm broken by Robert Downey Jnr on Gothika , hit her head on lightning equipment while shooting Catwoman and broke her foot on the set of Cloud Atlas .


Ferret bites bloody hurt. Just ask Ben Stiller who found one of the furry critters take a dislike to him on the set of Along Came Polly .

How did he know this? Because his new BFF decided to clamp its teeth down - hard - on his chin and refused to let go.

When it eventually did, Stiller needed a rabies injection and probably a big hug from co-star Jennifer Aniston to calm him down.

He later blasted them as "rat-like creatures". Yeah. Screw you, ferrets.


Was God himself a tad unhappy about the making of Mel Gibson's controversial biblical epic The Passion of Christ ?

It certainly seemed that way after Jim Caviezel, who was playing Jesus, was struck by lightning during the shoot in Italy.

Caviezel was a bit of a wreck by the time they wrapped; he had gashes on his back from the countless whipping scenes, suffered from hypothermia, a lung infection and pneumonia, and dislocated his shoulder from carrying a giant cross.

Not only that but eight-hour make-up sessions left him with bad headaches and nasty skin infections. Poor guy.


Joseph Gordon-Levitt took on a taxi and lost, ending up with 31 stitches after cutting open his arm.

Playing a courier on the set of Premium Rush , he collided with the back of a cab after losing control of his bike when a car cut him off.

Director David Koepp admitted he broke out in a cold sweat thinking he'd killed him but JGL got up and brushed himself off.

"You gotta bleed for the art," he later told MTV nonchalantly. Hell yeah.


Linda Hamilton was left with permanent hearing damage after firing a gun inside an elevator without wearing ear plugs on the set of Terminator 2: Judgment Day .

As if that wasn't bad enough, Hamilton was also left with badly bruised and battered knees during one scene with Ken Gibbel.

He refused to hit her properly with a club because he didn't want to hurt her, meaning it had to be reshot several times, each take calling for her to drop to the ground.

She got her own back though. During the escape scene, she broke off a broom handle to hit him, with each blow the real deal. That's what you get for trying to be Mr Nice Guy, Gibbel.


George Clooney once 'fessed up that he thought about ending it all because he was in so much pain after injuring himself while playing CIA agent Robert Baer in Syriana .

He was left in agony after throwing himself over the back of a chair and hitting his head as he filmed a torture scene.

The injury was so severe that he felt like he'd had a stroke and even started leaking spinal fluid - out of his nose.

He compared it to the feeling when you've eaten ice cream too quickly but we're guessing it's probably a million times more excruciating than that - and much, much less fun.

Freelance Writer

Ann is a freelance film writer and editor. Member of the London Critics, Ann has written for The Guardian, Total Film, the BFI, Radio Times, The Independent, the Telegraph, the iPaper, and more.