15 Actors Who Almost Died During Shooting

POSTED BY , UPDATED ON February 28th, 2019

15 Actors Who Almost Died During Shooting

Being a Hollywood star is not as easy as it looks. Numerous obstacles are bound to stumble upon the way while shooting and that can include a brush with death. Here are a few actors who almost died during shooting:


15. Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future Part III)

Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future Part III)

Best known for portraying Marty McFly, it is often overlooked that Michael J. Fox almost died while playing his most famous role in the third installment of Back to the Future series. When his character is hanged by Buford “Mad Dog” Tannen, Fox was actually suffocating.

Due to misplacement of his hands during the stunt, Fox was hung by a noose for real and the production crew failed to realize the unfortunate predicament until he passed out for about 30 seconds.


14. Martin Sheen (Apocalypse Now)

Martin Sheen

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As one of the movies notorious for its troubled production, Apocalypse Now was bound to enter the list. The harsh shooting conditions took a great toll on leading star Martin Sheen who had a nervous breakdown and a near-fatal heart attack during shooting.

“I completely fell apart. My spirit was exposed. I cried and cried. I turned completely gray — my eyes, my beard — all gray. I was in intensive care,”

recalls Sheen. As he recovered for the following six weeks, his brother Joe Estevez filled in as a replacement.


13. Jackie Chan (Armour of God)

Jackie Chan Armour of God

It is no secret that martial arts icon Jackie Chan is always willing to perform his own stunts and it is a miracle that he is still alive since a number of them have backfired and brought him inches away from death.

While shooting Armour of God, he leaped from a wall to a tea branch that snapped and had a nasty fall of 5 meters. His head collided with a rock that broke his skull and he immediately required surgery. As a result of the disastrous stunt, Chan suffers from slight hearing loss in one of his ears and has a permanent hole in his head which is occupied with a plastic plug.


12. Charlize Theron (Æon Flux)

Charlize Theron

Image Source: thewrap.com

The 2005 sci-fi movie Æon Flux barely did any favors to the career of Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron. The movie was a critical and commercial flop and to add insult to injury, the actress suffered a gruesome injury in the midst of production.

While performing a backflip for a stunt, she landed on her neck and was nearly paralyzed. The production was immediately halted for eight weeks as Theron steadily recovered from her injury. 


11. Tom Cruise (Mission: Impossible – Fallout)

Tom Cruise

Image Source: hollywoodreporter.com

With every passing installment of Mission Impossible franchise, it seems that Hollywood megastar Tom Cruise has a death wish. Performing one horrific stunt after another, the actor almost killed himself while shooting the iconic helicopter scene in Mission: Impossible – Fallout.

The scene required Cruise losing his grip from a helicopter and falling onto the cargo lifted by it. Despite having a safety harness, it was an incredibly dangerous stunt that could have instantly ended the actor’s life.


10. Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games)

Jennifer Lawrence

Image Source: hollywoodreporter.com

During the shoot of the first installment of The Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence was on the verge of being choked to death by a malfunctioning fog machine. While filming the scene in which her character leads the rebellion through a tunnel, they are abruptly stopped due to smoke.

However, the fog machine broke and the subsequent overload created dense smoke that made the cast members barely visible. The actors including Lawrence began aggressively coughing but narrowly survived suffocation.


9. Daniel Day-Lewis (Gangs of New York)

Daniel Day Lewis

Image Source: actoroscar.blogspot.com

Undoubtedly the greatest method actor, the brilliance of Daniel Day-Lewis might never be replicated. Bent on staying in character on and off the sets as well, it nearly cost him his life while shooting Gangs of New York.

Set in 1846, the movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio but it was supporting actor Day-Lewis who daringly stole the spotlight. The former would stay in character while hanging out in bars and would sharp knives when he was not filming. He had also restricted himself to wearing clothes that were suitable for the movie’s era but paid dearly for it.

He refused to wear a warm jacket during the rain because it was not period-accurate and got pneumonia. Being the method actor he is, Day-Lewis refused to take medications for it since they were not available in 1846. He was finally convinced to undergo medical treatment once he learned that he would die without them.


8. Isla Fisher (Now You See Me)

Isla Fisher

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Death by drowning is one of the most agonizing ways to end a life and Australian actress Isla Fisher realized that the hard way. During her drowning scene in Now You See Me, she had accidentally become stuck and was in the water tank for about three minutes.

The actress banged on the water tank to signal the crew about her situation but they did not react since that was exactly what her character was supposed to do. Fortunately, Fisher managed to escape the tank without any harm.