Safety on movie sets is one of the main priorities in Hollywood right now, especially after the tragic death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones on the set of [Midnight Rider](movie:924598) back in February.
But some of you may think, actors... they have it easy right? They get paid a lot of money and all they have to do is look good and recite some lines. But that's not always the case. These are some seriously famous actors who had a brush with death on the set of big budget movies:
Jason Statham fell off a cliff in a truck on the set of Expendables 3
Actor Jason Statham was in Bulgaria driving a truck with faulty brakes (shouldn't somebody have checked those?) on the set of [The Expendables 3](movie:388705), causing Statham to plunge 60 feet off a cliff into the Black Sea. Luckily, he had past experience as a professional diver and was able to leap to safety before he was trapped or drowned.
It could have been tragic, but since Statham survived (in bad ass fashion, I might add), we can laugh it off and watch Statham's fellow cast member Terry Crews recount the story in this hilarious interview with Jay Leno (Also, I wish I could pull off that suit):
Jackie Chan nearly died doing a stunt he would later describe as 'easy'
When Jackie Chan was filming Armour of God in Yugoslavia, he fell doing a jump-stunt that wasn't even overly difficult by his standards (he does all of his own stunts). He had to go into brain surgery and now has a plate in his head as a reminder that he probably should've hired a stuntman. It seems as if they could've set up a net below him or taken some other kind of precautionary measure here.
George Clooney nearly died on the set of Syriana
No, Clooney didn't almost die from Too Handsome Disease. He actually broke his back while filming Syriana. The pain was so bad, he admits it had him fleetingly contemplating suicide in the hospital...
"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' ... but I never thought I'd get there."
Isla Fisher nearly drowned filming Now You See Me
Isla Fisher was performing an underwater stunt while filming [Now You See Me](movie:202474) and was trapped for 3 minutes... I know from playing the "how long can you hold your breath underwater" game, that that's a long time:
"My chain got stuck. I had to really swim to the bottom; I couldn’t get up. Everyone thought I was acting fabulously. I was actually drowning. No one realised I was actually struggling."
The safety latch was eventually pulled once they realized she wasn't just acting extremely well... but in fact, she was in the process of drowning!
Viggo Mortensen also almost drowned, on the LOTR set
On the set of Lord of the Rings: Two Towers, Mortensen, as Aragorn, had to float face-down along the river after being shot with arrows. In real life, the production crew didn't realize how strong the current was. There was undertoe and Mortensen nearly drowned due to the weight of his costume.
Chevy Chase was almost electrocuted on set
Chevy Chase almost died in 1981 when he was electrocuted on the set of Modern Problems. He lost consciousness and had a near-death experience.
Gerard Butler nearly drowned on the set of Of Men and Mavericks
Gerard Butler was filming surf film Of Men and Mavericks at Half Moon Bay in Northern California and nearly drowned. The waves that were coming in while they were filming were of the 15-foot variety... they should have known it would be dangerous since in 1994, Mark Foo, a professional big-wave surfer from Hawaii, died while surfing at the same location (Mavericks).
Charlize Theron tried to perform a backflip and broke her neck on set
Charlize Theron almost died when she got injured on the set of Æon Flux. She was doing a backflip and broke her neck. She was hospitalized, and shooting was postponed eight weeks.
Quentin Tarantino nearly strangled Diane Kruger to death on the set of Inglorious Bastards
Kruger was nearly strangled to death on the set of Inglorious Bastards by director Quentin Tarantino. He wanted to get a realistic strangling reaction out of her for a scene but went too far... Kruger actually lost consciousness.
Michael J. Fox nearly ended up hanging from a noose while filming Back To The Future III
In a stunt that went wrong, Michael J. Fox misplaced his hands during a hanging scene and ended up hanging from a noose. The rest of the cast and crew brought him down after realizing he wasn't acting.
Martin Sheen almost had a heart attack while filming Apocalypse Now
While shooting in the jungle, Martin Sheen had a heart attack and had to crawl to help. It took him a few weeks to recover.
How many people can say they had a near-death experience while working at their job (outside of, like, coal miners back in the day)? Some of these stories are hilarious in hindsight, but I'm sure at the time, they were pretty freakin' scary!