19 Actors Who Got Sick, Injured, Or Almost Died While Filming Their Movies And TV Shows

    While filming Cast Away, Tom Hanks refused to bathe and ended up catching a staph infection that was "eating its way" through his leg. He landed at the hospital just in time before the infection poisoned his blood.

    One example include topics of suicide ideation.

    1. While filming Promising Young Woman, Carey Mulligan nearly suffocated while filming her character's death scene.

    During one take, Chris placed the pillow so tightly over Carey's face that she couldn't breathe. He explained that he couldn't tell at first, but once Carrie gave him a signal, he stopped. He said, "She sat up and took the pillow off and tears just exploded out of her eyes. She knew that she was safe and okay but it was also terrifying because she was living that moment."

    One still from the film shows Chris on top of Carey holding a pillow over her face, and a second still shows Chris lying on the bed next to a dead Carey

    2. While filming Cast Away, Tom Hanks refused to bathe, which ended up nearly killing him after he caught a staph infection from a wound on his leg.

    "[Cast Away] put me in the hospital. I was there for three days with something that, believe it or not, almost killed me," he revealed. "I got an infection from a cut, and it was eating its way through my leg. I didn't know it; I just thought I had a sore. I went to the doctor who took one look and said, 'I have to put you in the hospital because we have to get this infection out of you before it poisons your blood and you die.'"

    Tom Hanks in "Cast Away."

    3. Brendan Fraser passed out after almost hanging himself while he was working on The Mummy because he wanted the scene to look as realistic as possible.

    He woke up to the movie's stunt coordinator standing over him trying to wake him up. "He's clapping in my face, going, 'Brendan! Brendan! Wake up! Wake up! Wake up!' And I did, and he goes, 'Hey. Congratulations. You just joined the club with Mel Gibson. He got choked out on Braveheart, too.'"

    The scene from the film shows Brendan struggling to get out of a noose

    4. Dylan O'Brien fell off a moving vehicle and was hit by another vehicle that was following behind while he was filming Maze Runner: The Death Cure. He ended up with a concussion, facial fracture and lacerations, and mental trauma after the accident.

    He spent months in recovery and was hesitant to go back to filming another action movie. When talking about gearing up to do his next movie, American Assassin, he said, “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.”

    A behind the scenes photo of Dylan O'Brien being put in a harness for a stunt on top of a train

    5. Back in 2019, Zac Efron was in Papua, New Guinea filming his show Killing Zac Efron, and he contracted a bacterial infection believed to be typhoid fever. He ended up having to be airlifted to Brisbane, Australia, where he could get hospitalized.

    Luckily, he had a "quick" recovery and finished filming his show: "Very thankful to everyone who has reached out. I did get sick in Papua New Guinea but I bounced back quick and finished an amazing 3 weeks in P.N.G."

    6. During his career, Jackie Chan has broken nearly every bone imaginable, but while filming Armour of God, a stunt left him with a "hole" in his head.

    He explained that the stunt required him to jump through a tree, but the branches broke. In an effort to save himself, Jackie grabbed other branches, but those broke too. He ended up falling to the ground and cracking his skull, his whole body went numb, and blood was coming out of his ear. Then, he was rushed into surgery.

    7. Charlize Theron was "a centimeter away from being completely paralyzed for the rest of [her] life" after filming a stunt for the movie Aeon Flux.

    She said that when the "freak accident" happened, she fell and landed on her neck, which caused her years of nerve damage, pain, and spasms.

    8. While filming Titanic, Kate Winslet nearly drowned when her costume got caught on an underwater set piece.

    “I had to sort of shimmy out of the coat to get free,” she remembered. “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.”

    Kate submerged up to her chest in water in a scene from Titanic

    9. During a guest appearance on The Good Wife, Kristin Chenoweth landed in the hospital after a piece of lighting equipment "hit [her] in the face and then threw [her] into a curb." She ended up with a seven-inch skull fracture, as well as a cracked hairline, teeth, and ribs.

    At the time, CBS said that “a gust of wind blew a lighting silk out of place." Kristin didn't return to the series after this accident.

    10. Sylvester Stallone wanted the fighting scenes in Rocky IV to look as real as possible, so he asked Dolph Lundgren to forget the choreography and “just go out there and try to clock me."

    He got beaten up so badly that he ended up in the ICU for nine days. His doctors even told him that Dolph's punch was so powerful that it "caught the ribs and hit the heart against the ribcage" — an injury commonly seen after head-on collisions.

    Rocky's body recoiling after being punched in the film

    11. George Clooney fell and hit his head while filming Syriana. He ended up tearing his dura, the sack that holds in spinal fluid, and was left in excruciating pain.

    George explained that the pain was so unbearable that he even considered ending his life. "I was at a point where I thought, 'I can't exist like this. I can't actually live,'" he said. "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.'"

    12. Isla Fisher nearly drowned in front of the entire cast and crew while filming an underwater magic trick for Now You See Me. She said that the crew didn't catch on right away because everyone just assumed she was acting. "They thought I was being Meryl Streep in the tank — actually, I was drowning," she said.

    In the scene, she was chained and submerged in a tank of water, with quick-release magnetic chained handcuffs meant for an easy escape. She said that "the chain that went between my legs couldn't be broken, and it got stuck."

    The scene from the film shows Isla unclasping her chains while fully submerged in water

    13. Ashton Kutcher gave himself pancreatitis and was hospitalized twice (!!!!) while preparing to play Steve Jobs in Jobs.

    Steve Jobs was known to be a "fruitarian" and lived on a mainly fruit diet, which Ashton tried to replicate. His wife Mila Kunis explained, "He was so dumb. He...only ate grapes at one point...we ended up in the hospital twice. With pancreatitis! It was really dumb!"

    Ashton working on a computer as Steve Jobs

    14. While working on The Wizard of Oz, Margaret Hamilton — the Wicked Witch of the West — got second-degree burns on her face and third-degree burns on her hand after a stunt went wrong.

    In the scene, she was supposed to make a fiery exit from Munchkinland, but when the trapdoor didn't open, she was engulfed in flames and spent six weeks recovering. Later, she returned to production and said, "I know how this business works, and I would never work again. I will return to work on one condition — no more fireworks!"

    the fire bursting on set that was supposed to cover Hamilton

    15. Jennifer Lopez almost fell off a cliff while she was filming Shotgun Wedding, and her costar, Josh Duhamel, saved her.

    In one of the scenes, her dress was meant to get caught on a car that toppled off the cliff. While filming, she realized her dress actually got caught — she grabbed onto Josh, who pulled her back to safety.

    The scene from the film shows J.Lo's dress caught in the back wheel of the car as it tumbles off a cliff and Josh pulls her back to safety

    16. While Priyanka Chopra Jonas was filming a stunt scene for Quantico, she fell and hit her head, sending her to the emergency room. She said, "I was supposed to be saving someone, as usual. And I was wearing rubber boots, it was raining, and there was plastic on the floor, and I slipped on that. Can you imagine, after all the action I do, that's how I get a concussion?"

    After the fall, she assured fans that she was okay and praised the show's production environment. "I absolutely feel safe on set. 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."

    Chopra during a fight scene

    17. While filming Gangs of New York, Daniel Day-Lewis caught pneumonia because he refused to wear a warmer coat between scenes since those coats didn't exist in the 1860s.

    He later said, "I will admit that I went mad, totally mad," and that the role was "not so good for my physical or mental health."

    Day-Lewis in a fight scene outside in the cold

    18. Gary Oldman gave himself nicotine poisoning after smoking $20,000 worth of Winston Churchill's favorite cigars for Darkest Hour.

    He told the Hollywood Reporter, "I got serious nicotine poisoning. You’d have a cigar that was three-quarters smoked and you’d light it up, and then over the course of a couple of takes, it would go down, and then the prop man would replenish me with a new cigar — we were doing that for 10 or 12 takes a scene.”

    A close up of Oldman smoking a cigar

    19. Finally, Michael J. Fox was nearly hanged while filming Back to the Future Part III. While practices for the stunt had gone well, Michael couldn't get his hand in the right place in time and the rope got so tight, it cut off his airway.

    In his book Lucky Man: A Memoir, he wrote, “I swung unconscious at the end of the rope for several seconds before Bob Zemeckis, fan of me though he was, realized even I wasn't that good of an actor."

    Fox chocking on the rope he was hanging from