17 Terrifying Stories from Actors Who Were Injured in Scary On-Set Accidents
Beauty is pain — and the star of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel knows this all too well. During an episode of The Late Late Show with James Corden, Brosnahan revealed that she had suffered from a “corset-related injury” from constantly having to wear one to achieve Midge Maisel’s look.
“We talk so fast on the show that to get all the words out you can’t really take very many breaths,” she explained. “And I think I wasn’t breathing a lot and I was a bit constrained and apparently some of my ribs are sort of fused together.”
“I can’t take super deep breaths anymore,” Brosnahan added.
The Batwoman star had to get emergency surgery for injuries that she sustained while doing stunt work.
The actress posted a graphic video of the surgical process to social media saying, "To everyone asking about my new Pez dispenser scar on my neck… A couple of months ago I was told I needed an emergency surgery or I was risking becoming paralyzed."
She revealed on Instagram, "I had herniated two discs doing stunts, and they were close to severing my spinal chord. I was in chronic pain and yet couldn’t feel my arms."
Theroux suffered a head injury while filming his comedy, The Spy Who Dumped Me. "I play this kind of action guy," he explained on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "I had a scooter accident... I'm peeling away, and it's like the last shot of the day or the last day I'm working, and I realize as I'm coming up on the next street that there's no lock-up, there's still actual cars going back and forth. So I grab both breaks, skidded out and kinda went flying off the bike and landed on my head. [I] broke my head open."
The seasoned star appeared to injure himself while filming a scene for Mission: Impossible 6 where he jumps between two buildings in London in August 2017. In video obtained by TMZ, Cruise was attached to a harness while making the leap. However, he landed short and crashed hard into the side of the building. He was able to hoist himself up, but walked with a visible limp before collapsing next to crew members.
The extent of Cruise’s injuries were not known, and reps for Cruise and Paramount did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Renner broke not one, but two arms on the set of his upcoming comedy, Tag. "It was a stunt — falling off a stack of chairs like 20 feet. And the chairs didn't fall, but I fell onto my arms," he explained on The Tonight Show. "I knew when I hit the ground that it wasn't good. So I couldn't feel my arms. But then I went back up the stack of chairs, did it again, did okay. And then I went to the hospital at lunch and they said, 'that's broken, that's broken.' I'm like, 'okay, cool.' And then I went back to work."
The actor stayed positive about his injury. "Fall down seven times… stand up 8! #fixedup #pushthrough," he captioned an Instagram photo of his twin splints.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas
The Quantico star suffered a concussion when she took a nasty fall on set. "It was raining and the roads were wet and I was in rubber boots and we were running out of time. I wasn't warned of the conditions that were outside before we went and me and my colleague, both of us fell and we were both rushed to the ER," she told PEOPLE shortly after the fall.
"I'm done resting after three days, I can't do more than that. It was three days of just sitting on my couch, in my bed and I was ready to get back to work. The doctors okay'd me to travel as long as I don't do any physical activity, as in stunts and stuff. But it was a little bit of a scare, I have to admit."
"I absolutely feel safe on set," Chopra added. "My show is an extremely physical show. We shoot nine scenes a day, we are an extremely fast-paced show and I have a lot of physicality. So yeah, things can happen, and the producers are very, very aware and concerned and they've been really wonderful with me. So I'm pretty sure it won’t happen [again], but when you do stunts, that happens."
Winslet almost drowned while filming a Titanic scene when her heavy coat snagged on a gate and she was briefly submerged. "I had to sort of shimmy out of the coat to get free," she told the Los Angeles Times. "I had no breath left. I thought I'd burst. And [director James Cameron] just said, 'Okay, let's go again.' That was his attitude. I didn't want to be a wimp so I didn't complain."
Maze Runner: The Death Cure production was halted in March 2016 after the star suffered a "concussion, facial fracture and lacerations" while performing a stunt. A source told The Hollywood Reporter that he was "in a harness on top of a moving vehicle when he was pulled off the vehicle unexpectedly and hit by another vehicle."
Following the accident, O'Brien's director Wes Ball shared his feelings of guilt on Twitter. "Well, it's been a whirlwind of emotions these past few days," he wrote. "I've been overwhelmed with feelings of anger and sadness and guilt. But ultimately, I find myself left with a deep love and respect for Dylan. He is one tough cookie."
In July 2017, O'Brien discussed starting work on American Assassin while still recovering from his injuries. "The state that you're in after something like that, you just want to run from all that stuff. I didn’t really even want to leave my couch necessarily when I was allowed to. So, yeah. It was a big step doing this," he told Entertainment Tonight.
"At the time that I came in … I was still at the very end of recovery there when I started, so that was probably the biggest challenge,” he added. "All the training was very good for my mind and very good for recovery, in a way…It really ended up being [therapeutic]. It came at a great time for me."
The Mindy Project star broke his neck while shooting his film, The Pact. "We knew something was wrong right away," he told PEOPLE of falling from a high platform. "It was scary and was touch and go for a while. Luckily, I've had great doctors who have really helped me with my recovery." Barinholtz's injuries included two fractured cervical vertebrae in his neck. "I have to wear an incredibly stylish neck brace for a while as the bone heals. It's a cool look, especially in the summer," he joked.
Despite the injury, the actor still appeared in the final season of The Mindy Project. "After the accident, I talked to Mindy [Kaling] and we agreed that the only option was writing it into the show," he shared. "Luckily, on The Mindy Project I play[ed] a character who could break his neck falling out of his bunk bed and it's completely believable."
While performing a series of backflips for Æon Flux, Theron landed on her neck and herniated a disk near her spine. "That injury scared me - I was almost paralyzed," she told Total Film magazine. As a result, she was cautious about her stunt work on Mad Max: Fury Road: "You do everything you can do, but I'm definitely at a place where I can say, 'I don't need to do that."
Lawrence injured her ear while working on The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. "I went deaf in one ear for months... But that wasn't actually physically challenging," the actress told Vanity Fair in 2013. "It was just ear-challenging because I got all of these ear infections from the diving and the water and all of that stuff. And then a jet from one of the Cornucopia scenes punctured my eardrum."
Thanks to an unlikely animal hero, the actor escaped an avalanche, injury-free, while filming his movie Gold in the jungles of Southeast Asia. “Yeah, there was an avalanche, there was a tree avalanche when we were shooting in a little hut, this little cabin in the jungle, and there was this noise that was getting louder and louder and louder," Ramírez recounted on PEOPLE Now. "And then suddenly we looked at the Thai crew, [they] started to scream in Thai, but in horror. And then we realized that something was coming down on us and then we had to jump out of the cabin. I landed on a goat." Ramírez assured PEOPLE that everyone, including the goat, was unharmed.
Clooney endured such a grueling recovery process after sustaining injuries on his 2005 film Syriana, for which he would eventually win an Oscar, that he began contemplating suicide.
"There was this scene where I was taped to a chair and getting beaten up, and we did quite a few takes. The chair was kicked over and I hit my head," Clooney explained of the accident on NPR. "I tore my dura, which is the wrap around my spine, which holds in spinal fluid."
Recounting his almost unbearable pain in Rolling Stone, the actor revealed that he at times considered "drastic" measures to escape his suffering, although he was ultimately committed to surviving the ordeal.
"I was at a point where I thought, 'I can't exist like this. I can't actually live.' I was lying in a hospital bed with an IV in my arm, unable to move, having these headaches where it feels like you're having a stroke, and for a short three-week period, I started to think, 'I may have to do something drastic about this,'" he said. "You start to think in terms of, you don't want to leave a mess, so go in the garage, go in the car, start the engine. It seems like the nicest way to do it, but I never thought I'd get there. See, I was in a place where I was trying to figure out how to survive."
Fisher almost drowned while performing a water tank magic trick scene for 2013's Now You See Me. "I was in a tank of water … even though I had a quick release magnetic thing on my handcuffs, the chain that went between my ankles and my wrists was not able to be broken and it got stuck underneath the slot and I was trapped," she explained in an interview with On Demand Entertainment. "I was very scared. I was banging and saying 'set me free' but everyone just thought I was doing fabulous acting. They thought I was being Meryl Streep in the tank; actually, I was drowning," she added.
While filming 2013's The Lone Ranger, Depp was thrown from a horse and almost trampled by the animal. The harrowing ordeal was captured on film. A mostly injury-free Depp lived to tell the tale on Entertainment Tonight. "'Hooves.' 'Hooves' is what was going through my mind," he recalled. "It was a strange moment because it wasn't like one of those adrenaline-filled moments where you're flipping out and panicking and stuff like that … I was very lucky, because it could have been horrific."
The actress took a horrific fall on the set of Thor: The Dark World. "I herniated a disk in my thoracic spine, I dislocated my left shoulder, I tore my right rhomboid, and chipped 11 of my vertebrae," she told MTV. "I slipped and fell down something very high, and I hurt myself pretty badly and it scared me. I knew when I couldn't get off the ground, I was like, 'Okay, I'm in big trouble.'"
"Then, I was okay, but I was in a lot of pain. The next morning I got in a car to go back to the hospital, because I said 'something feels wrong,' and I sat in the car where I compressed my spine a little bit, and I went paralyzed in my right leg and my right hand. So I was in the hospital for a week, but it was a thing where it was just a swelling thing." Alexander was back in fight mode after a month of daily physical rehab.
The Passion of the Christ lead actor was struck by lightning while filming the 2004 drama. "I was lit up like a Christmas tree! I was doing the Sermon on the Mount. I knew it was going to hit me about four seconds before it happened. I thought, 'I'm going to get hit.' And when it happened, I saw the extras grab the ground," he recalled during an interview with Scott Ross. "What they saw was fire coming out the right and left side of my head. Illumination around the whole body." Luckily, Caviezel was not seriously harmed by the strike.