Despite the availability of stunt performers, many actors like to try their hand at the fights, flips, jumps and more for scenes. Most of the time, they are successful. Sometimes, things go wrong and production has to pause while a star recovers.
Harrison Ford has had his share on of onset injuries throughout his career, something he does not quite wear as a badge of honor.
In a recent interview with Esquire ahead of the release of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny,” Ford acknowledged his accident-prone career.
“Yeah, well, I’m also known for shutting movies down because I get hurt, which is not something you want to be known for. But hey, s— happens,” he said.
While filming “Dial of Destiny,” Ford pulled the subscapularis muscle off his right shoulder during a fight scene. Production had to shut down for two weeks, and Ford had to sit out an additional six weeks on top of that.
Among the other injuries the star has suffered throughout his career are a broken ankle while filming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” a torn ACL during “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” and a leg injury that gave him a limp for “The Fugitive.”
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Still, Ford refuses to slow down his stunt work.
The 80-year-old star said that after filming a scene where he rides a horse on a subway platform in New York, he finished the scene and felt the stunt team’s hands on him.
“I look down and there’s three stunt guys there making sure I didn’t fall off the stirrup,” he explained. “They said, Oh, we were just afraid because we thought, you know, and bah bah bah bah. And I said, ‘Leave me the f— alone, I’m an old man—Leave me alone, I’m an old man getting off a horse and I want it to look like that!”
Ford is not alone in his willingness to put his body on the line for a movie.
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Tom Cruise has pushed his body to the limits for his work in the “Mission: Impossible” series, riding on the wings of planes, diving underwater for minutes at a time, and driving and running through cities non-stop.
However, even the seemingly indestructible Cruise can suffer an on-set injury.
While filming “Mission: Impossible—Fallout,” Cruise performed a stunt jumping between buildings, breaking his ankle in the process.
In 2018, Cruise appeared on “The Graham Norton Show” with co-stars Rebecca Ferguson, Henry Cavill and Simon Pegg while they were still in the middle of filming, which had previously paused production while Cruise healed.
“It’s still broken, but I’m doing well,” Cruise said of his injury. “It’s not fully healed, but we’re shooting.”
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Cruise added, “We have a release date, so we’ve got to keep going.”
He also brought along footage of the accident from multiple angles, explaining he was always meant to crash into the side of the building as part of the stunt, and then pull himself up. It was the crash that went wrong, and in the footage, you can see Cruise’s foot hit the building incorrectly and break.
“I knew instantly it was broken,” he said, admitting he did not want to do the stunt again, so he opted to keep going and finish the scene.
“We got the shot, it’s in the movie. That profile shot, both those shots are in the movie,” he revealed.
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Charlize Theron is the queen of action films, starring in everything from “Atomic Blonde” to the later “Fast and Furious” movies.
However, one of her earlier action roles almost caused a devastating injury for the star.
In her 2005 film, “Aeon Flux,” Theron played a futuristic assassin with flexible and acrobatic skills, who performed a lot of flips and spins.
She told news.com.au in 2017 that one of the moves led to a “freak accident” on set after she fell and landed on her neck.
“I was a centimeter away from being completely paralyzed for the rest of my life,” she said.
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The injury left Theron with ongoing pain, which she later addressed with surgery.
“I had eight years of pain management, where I just couldn’t get rid of the spasms and the nerve damage. I ended up having a [neck] fusion four years ago, and it was the best thing I ever did,” she said.
Despite the pain and potentially life-altering accident, Theron said she was still interested in “storytelling through the physical.”
“I think it’s the ballerina in me, the fact that I started as a dancer. I’m not interested in doing stupid things, but I am interested in learning new things. It’s different to getting on a motorcycle and doing something stupid — it’s precise,” she said.
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Sylvester Stallone put his body through a lot for the “Rocky” franchise, having to train and step into the ring to play the iconic boxer.
Stallone was so committed that for “Rocky IV,” he told co-star Dolph Lundgren, who played the imposing soviet boxer Ivan Drago, to allow a few punches to connect for real.
That proved to be incredibly dangerous.
“Dolph Lundgren put me in the hospital for nine days,” Stallone said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I knew I was in trouble when I showed up and nuns met you at the ICU.”
The Oscar-winner said he encouraged Lundgren to, “Just go out there and try to clock me. For the first minute of the fight, it is going to be a free-for-all.”
However, the punch landed him in the hospital. Doctors told Stallone that the hit, an uppercut to the chest, “caught the ribs and hit the heart against the ribcage,” and that it was an injury more typically seen in head-on collisions.
Stallone said he joked, “‘Close. I did hit a bus, of sorts.'”
Lundgren also spoke with the outlet about the accident.
“All I did was obey orders,” Lundgren joked. “He was the boss. I did what he told me. We came back to LA and the producer was like, ‘Hey Dolph, you’ve got two weeks off — Sly’s in the hospital.'”
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Tom Hanks took on one of his more physically demanding roles when he filmed 2000’s “Castaway.”
First, the two-time Oscar-winner gained 50 pounds during pre-production, then lost the weight to convincingly portray a FedEx employee stuck on a deserted island for four years after a plane crash.
However, it was an unexpected injury while filming that put his life on the line.
In 2009, he told BBC Radio 1 that the movie “put me in the hospital. I was there for three days with something that, believe it or not, almost killed me. 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’. We had to shut down for three weeks while my skin reformed,” he added.
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Blake Lively is not exactly known for being an action star, but she did suffer a severely broken hand while filming a fight scene for her movie, “The Rhythm Section.”
In the movie, Lively’s character is out for revenge after her family dies in a mysterious plane crash, donning disguises and engaging in James Bond-esque hand-to-hand fights.
“We were doing all of our own stunts. One-shot fight sequences, which is how I shattered my hand,” Lively said while promoting the movie on “Good Morning America” in 2020. “We shut down for six months. My hand basically turned to feta cheese.”
She explained, “I was lunging towards Jude Law with my fake rubber knife and my hand collided with his elbow and I broke some things, dislocated some things and severed a ligament. It was pretty intense.”
“But that’s why you guys have to see this movie, out of sheer guilt. I gave my right hand for something!” she added with a laugh.
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Jeremy Renner had a rough and tumble stunt go wrong on the set of his 2018 comedy, “Tag.”
In the movie, Renner and his co-stars Jon Hamm, Ed Helms, Hannibal Buress and Jake Johnson are engaged in an epic game of tag, doing everything to not be it.
As Renner explained to Entertainment Weekly, in one scene his character attempts to get away by racing up a set of chairs stacked roughly 20 feet high, but the rigging on the chairs broke, and he said, “I broke along with it and fell on the ground and broke my arms.”
Renner did not initially realize anything was wrong and did the stunt again.
“Then I realized, I think something’s wrong, so I went to the hospital, and they said it was broken, so I got them wrapped up, and then I went back to work and did everything I could do to continue on as we did,” he said.
The “Avengers” star even skipped pain medication, so he would be aware if he pushed himself too hard during a stunt as he continued filming with limited mobility.
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“I couldn’t rotate my hands, but I could move my arms up and down kind of like a robot, but I would do anything that didn’t hurt essentially,” he said.
He continued, “The first week was a little rough just because of the swelling, but the swelling went down after the first week. I would take the splints off as often as I could, so I didn’t stay in this sort of like arm bent position, stiffened, so I was working through therapy and all sorts of stuff throughout the whole picture, but I just limited what I could do with my hand.”
The 52-year-old said at the time he was not able to pick up his daughter due to the injury, which caused him some distress.
“When I couldn’t pick up my daughter, that was a very upsetting time, but once I was able to do that, then I was healed in my mind,” he said.
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In 2021, Jane Seymour suffered a bad fall from a horse while filming her show “Harry Wild” in Ireland.
She shared a video on Instagram, explaining that she was running across a bridge for a scene when she fell, injuring her knee.
“I did apparently smash my kneecap, and it’s really painful, and I’m not really allowed to move it for about two or three weeks, but you know what, I’m acting above the knee cap and I have a wonderful double below the knee cap,” she explained, noting she had not missed any filming despite the injury.
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In another post, she shared a photo of herself with crutches and shared some insight into her recovery.
“I’ve been taking extra care of my knee. Rest and patience is the cure! Thankfully ballet has enabled me to almost not limp on set,” she wrote. “Thank you to everyone who reached out with such kind messages.”