Stunts That Seriously Hurt Actors
ManOfTheCenturyMovie Film Stunts that seriously injure actors: ‘Kill Bill Vol. 2, “Mission: Impossible” and other dangerous films

Stunts that seriously injure actors: ‘Kill Bill Vol. 2, “Mission: Impossible” and other dangerous films

Stunts That Seriously Hurt Actors

As spectators of the epic chases, crashes, explosions, fights and other mayhem that make up the action genre, audiences assume that the actors face no real danger. But while there are precautions and preparation that go into any stunt, things don’t always go as planned – and some scenes are seemingly only made possible at the expense of the actor’s health.

While directors often cast a stunt double in their stars’ stead when danger calls, it’s quite common for adrenaline-junk actors to push their bodies (and sometimes beyond) their limits to make a production work. Longtime daredevils, like Tom Cruise and Jackie Chan, are actually expected to produce nail-biting action blockbusters with minimal CGI. But even those who don’t specialize in action have made the sacrifice.

Actors often take their cuts, burns, bruises, and broken bones as champions and will often make it through if the injury allows. Even those who were rushed to the hospital and mothballed in the middle of filming aren’t always discouraged by the pain. Some rushed back to generally fine acclimatization, but before they had fully recovered; while others returned with permanent afflictions, eager to do it again. The risk of injury can be a deal breaker for some, and Hollywood incidents have led to a smattering of spectacular lawsuits. But for others, it’s the price of a clean shot, and just another reason the Oscars should have a category for best stunt.

While hand-to-hand combat adds excitement to any storyline, there’s a lot more that goes into production than pointing the camera at two actors trading barns. Fight choreography and pre-production planning are essential to any successful action scene. Timing, location, camera movements and reactions all play into the story’s plausibility and are just as important as the bold main events of the scene. Even if the stunts are rehearsed and planned in advance, filming them for the first time can be nerve-wracking, even for veteran stuntmen and actors, like Cruise who has to be reminded by the producers to contain his smiles of excitement during filming. For those less eager and more crippled by fear of heights, fire, or grievous bodily injury, pulling your own stunts is a terrifying curve to learn from.

Read on for an incomplete list of stunts that seriously injured actors during production, which will be updated over time. Then, check out IndieWire’s guide to making nightmarish movies with The Most Grueling Movies Ever Made.

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