Harrison Ford’s injury on the set of Star Wars Episode VII is now worse than initially reported. The 71-year-old damaged his ankle last week when a hydraulic door (apparently aboard the Millennium Falcon) fell on him. Yesterday, Harrison Ford's publicist confirmed that the injury was more severe, announcing that the actor was actually suffering from a broken leg.
Ford has already undergone successful surgery and will soon begin rehab. Unfortunately, the man who brings Han Solo to life will still miss 6-8 weeks of filming.
While we all wish him a speedy recovery, Star Wars fans across the world have also been wondering whether the injury could impact on Episode VII. Maybe more scenes of Han Solo sitting down will be written in, or even a rewrite that explains why the smuggler might be immobile for scene or two. In an attempt to put our minds at rest, let’s take a look at some movies, some of which we all know and love, that suffered similar setbacks.
Viggo Mortensen - The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
It should be no surprise that Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy features on this list. A number of cast members suffered injuries during the decade-long production, including Orlando Bloom’s cracked rib after being thrown off a horse and John Rhys Davies damaging his knee. However, Viggo Mortensen’s broken toe gets most notable mention because the final cut of the film used the actual footage of his injury!
That’s right! Aragorn’s grieving scream at 0.35 is actually Viggo yelling about his broken toes, which break as soon as he kicks the orc helmet. The scene where Gandalf bangs his head on Bilbo’s ceiling was also a genuine mistake turned into acting improvisation.
Brad Pitt – Troy, Fight Club, Se7en
Although it was unintentional (and unfortunate), Brad Pitt took method acting to another level when he injured his achilles tendon whilst playing - ironically enough - Achilles in Troy. But that’s not all – the actor also suffered from an arm injury whilst filming Se7en, forcing screenwriters to write an accident into the movie so that Pitt could continue filming with a bandaged arm.
But the most memorable injury Pitt suffered is a simple slap on the ear by Fight Club co-star Edward Norton.
Before shooting the scene where Norton would ‘pretend’ to hit Pitt, high-intensity director David Fincher told Norton to ‘clip him on the ear’. The surprise for Pitt ended up being such a great take that his angry rant at Norton was left in the final cut. Luckily for Norton, the first rule was not to talk about it.
Malcolm McDowell - A Clockwork Orange
Speaking of intense directors, here’s another example of filmmakers suffering for their vision - if you’ll pardon the pun. The famous ‘eyes wide open’ scene in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange had Malcolm McDowell’s eyes strapped open for hours.
The scene caused Malcolm McDowell to suffer from a scratched cornea and temporary blindness.
Halle Berry – Gothika, Catwoman, Die Another Day, Cloud Atlas
Halle Berry also nearly lost her sight from smoke grenade debris on Die Another Die – but that’s not all. Berry’s suffering also includes a broken arm from Robert Downey Jr. whilst filming Gothika, a head injury on the set of Catwoman and near-suffocation whilst choking on a fig during her sex scene with Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day.
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
Taking things to another extreme, Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence nearly died filming the latest installment of The Hunger Games franchise!
The life of the young actress was endangered when a fog machine broke and spewed so much smoke that she began to suffocate. Fortunately, she was rescued minutes later and has since recovered from the temporary nausea, vertigo and loss of breath.
So, to anybody who still thinks Ford’s injury will negatively affect the outcome of Episode VII, I say “never tell me the odds!”. But what do you think?