They may be paid the big bucks, but Hollywood actors and stuntman do often put themselves on the line in order to shoot the kind of movies that will encourage the general public to turn off Netflix for five minutes and visit their local multiplex.
From car chases to fight scenes to massive explosions, movie studios are having to outdo themselves by going bigger and better, and whilst stunt coordinators work tirelessly to ensure the safety of all those taking part in the filming process, the dangers involved means that there are occasions when tragedy strikes.
Continue reading to find out about eight movie stunts that went horribly wrong, and we promise that you’ll never watch a Hollywood movie in the same way ever again.
8. Romancing the Stone
Veteran Hollywood stuntman Terry Leonard performed many legendary stunts over his long and distinguished career, but a mechanical malfunction whilst trying to leap clear of a car jumping over a waterfall in Romancing the Stone almost caused him to drown.
Instead of jumping free of the whirlpool that was at the base of the waterfall, Leonard fell straight into it, but thankfully the stunned stuntman was pulled free of the water by some local fisherman before he reached a second, more dangerous waterfall. “I thought I was history”, Leonard was later quoted as saying.
7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows—Part 1
David Holmes was the stunt double for Daniel Radcliffe from the very first Harry Potter movie, but a serious accident whilst shooting Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 left him paralysed from the neck down.
Holmes was performing a ‘jerk-back’, where a stuntman is pulled backwards by a wire, but on this particular occasion something went terribly wrong and he slammed into a wall, breaking his neck.
6. Now You See Me
During filming of the scene in Now You See Me where Isla Fisher was dropped into a water tank, she got genuinely stuck underwater for three long minutes.
Problems arose when the crew assumed that the Australian actress was just giving a realistic performance, and wasn’t actually in any real danger.
5. Quantum of Solace
During filming of the James Bond movie Quantum of Solace, a car that stunt man Aris Comninos was driving whilst shooting the movie’s opening chase sequence crashed into another vehicle before hitting a wall.
After being pulled from the wreckage, Comninos was left in a coma, although we’re pleased to report that he was soon up and about and has since made a full recovery.
Whilst we’re extremely grateful that most of these accounts of stunt accidents only end in injury, there are cases where the stunt person in question lost their life, and that was the case with Harry O’Connor.
O’Connor was performing a paragliding stunt on the Vin Diesel action movie XXX when, rather than sail under the bridge as planned, he collided with it, a tragic accident which sadly killed him instantly.
3. The Cannonball Run
The 1981 movie The Cannonball Run was directed by legendary stuntman Hal Needham, but it was Heidi von Beltz, stunt double for Farrah Fawcett, who crashed a faulty Aston Martin during filming of a chase sequence.
The accident left von Beltz quadriplegic, and she later sued Hal Needham’s stuntman corporation, winning nearly $5 million in damages.
2. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Olivia Jackson had worked on some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, but tragedy struck on the set of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter when she attempted to ride a motorcycle underneath a camera that was attached to a crane.
The camera was meant to rise up so it missed the oncoming Jackson, but she instead collided with it, and not only were her injuries so severe that she had to be put into a two week medically induced coma, but she was later forced to have one of her now paralysed arms amputated.
1. Back To The Future Part III
Believe it or not, Michael J. Fox almost died filming a scene in the Wild West themed Back to the Future Part III.
In the scene where Mad Dog tries to lynch Marty, Michael J. Fox was accidentally hanged for real, rendering him unconscious for a short time.