5 Actors Who Almost Died Horrible Deaths On Camera
We can understand artists being willing to die for their art -- as long as said art has over 90 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. If Alfred Hitchcock wants to throw live birds at your face or Sergio Leone tells you to put your head next to a train track, you can at least rest assured that your death will be studied by film nerds centuries from now. But it takes real commitment to your craft to risk your neck for something that will be filling bargain bins in a few years.
Here are five famous actors who almost died so that you could have something to half pay attention to on Netflix when you're bored:
Jason Statham Almost Died In A Submerged Truck In The Expendables 3
Jason Statham is known for playing "deliciously surly" tough guys in the movies, but from what we can gather, the man is actually much more of a real-life, punk-stomping badass than just about any of his peers in the over-the-top action movie business. Not coincidentally, he's also the Expendables 3 cast member who was closest to death during the shooting of that movie, which is ironic considering he's one of the youngest ones (at the tender age of 48). We're talking about the time he, while behind the wheel of a three-ton truck with faulty brakes, plunged off the set and into the Black Sea:
In keeping with the movie's motif, it was an old truck that probably
should have stopped working in 1993.
The vehicle was then "impaled" on something in the water, leading the crew to believe that they had just witnessed a death. However, as Sylvester Stallone calmly filmed the entire event with his cellphone (presumably considering what he was going to do with the 1/17th of the royalties his co-star would never get to spend), Statham was able to quickly extricate himself from the vehicle. And thanks to his professional-level diving ability, he was also able to make his way to the surface and survived a calamity that Stallone admitted would have killed a normal, non adamantium-boned man.
Forty-five seconds later the resulting abrasions coagulated into a tattoo
of a fiery demon making finger guns.
Reports claim that Statham's drop into the treacherous drink was 60 feet, which doesn't really seem to be the case when looking at the footage -- but let's not quibble over details. Let's just go ahead and rely on the testimony of another physically superior, not-to-be-trifled-with human brick who was also present that day, and simply take Terry Crews at his word when he says: "Let me tell you something: Jason Statham is a true bad, bad dude."
Isla Fisher Nearly Drowned In A Tank In Now You See Me
Now You See Me, the star-studded, Ocean's Eleven-meets-Doug Henning's World Of Magic Jesse Eisenberg vehicle, rated a solid "mediocre" among critics. Still, perhaps the most gripping scene is the one where Isla Fisher, playing the role of an escape artist, has to Houdini her way out of a water tank before a school of ravenous piranhas are released to have their way with the parts of her that aren't covered by a bedazzled one-piece.
The difference was Houdini wore a two-piece.
When things appear to go wrong during the escape, Fisher looks downright terrified -- mainly because she was actually drowning. Fisher described her brush with a regrettably David Blaine-ish demise thusly: "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 realized I was actually struggling."
"Oh look, craft services is here with the bagels. Take 5, everybody."
Despite all her flailing and pounding (possibly accompanied by repeated SOS distress calls sent via farts), she was reportedly underwater for a good three minutes before somebody realized she was about to make like a Beach Boys drummer and finally hit the quick-release safety button to empty out all the water. It was nice that they had the foresight to install one of those, but what they didn't think to include in the plan was a safe word. Or hand signal, rather. All the profanities she may have been screaming were probably only heard by the piranhas, and they were no help.
She's Australian, right? So why didn't she call forth a horde of spiders
to spell out "Wake up, dumbass"?
Halle Berry Choked On Fruit During A Die Another Day Sex Scene (And Pierce Brosnan Was Too Naked To Help)
While Pierce Brosnan would be lucky to crack most people's Top 3 actors to have ever played the role of 007, in Die Another Day he did have the distinction of working alongside one of the most attractive Academy Award winners of all time: Halle Berry. He apparently made quite an impression on her too -- especially during their sex scene, when he made her laugh to the point that she nearly choked to death (this is not normally the response you're gunning for when you're trying to be erotic).
"Eh, still better than having to film a sex scene with Billy Bob."
The thoroughly nude Brosnan was writhing around with the equally naked Berry when he suavely delivered a deliciously British bon mot that caused Berry to gag on a piece of fruit. Then, by his own admission, he just stared at her like a goober while she gasped for air like a trout in a bucket. It's not that Brosnan didn't react at all -- he did actually slap her on the back -- but he was hesitant to perform the Heimlich maneuver because they were both naked. Or, to put it another way, James Bond didn't try to save a sexy lady's life because he was too embarrassed. That has to be the lowest Bond moment since Roger Moore went undercover as a clown.
"So you're absolutely cool with this? Blink twice if you're cool with this."
That version of the account came from Brosnan himself, who added how lucky he was when Berry finally spewed out the offending fig on her own. "I was certainly in no position to give the Heimlich to Halle at that moment," he said (you know, because of the potential for errant, bonery backstabbing). But then we have Berry in another interview, claiming that he indeed did give her the dry hump of life. So who are we to believe here? We'll just go ahead and assume that Berry's memories of the event are a little hazy. And that Brosnan's gross breach of manliness mystically summoned Sean Connery in his spectral form, who furiously slapped that fruit right out of Berry's mouth, probably without even realizing she was choking.
At least this gave us that classic moment where she sensually vomits
into his mouth like a mother albatross.
Bob Denver Was Nearly Mauled By A Lion While Filming Gilligan's Island
As bad as things ever get on Gilligan's Island, you know that at the close of every episode everyone will wind up safe from all the volcanoes and Harlem Globetrotter infestations that are constantly putting their lives at risk. The actual making of said episodes was a different story, however. And we're not talking about the on-set fisticuffs about who was next in line to look through the peephole to Dawn Wells' dressing room -- we're referring to the much more serious issue of being mauled by a goddamn lion.
As opposed to Tina Louise's real-life movie star aspirations, which were mauled by reality.
The episode where Bob Denver was nearly converted to Mufasa scat while filming is called "Feed The Kitty." That very nearly became the most ironic titling decision in television history during a scene where Denver, stuck inside a hut with the guest star (the aforementioned lion), discovered the huge predator wasn't really a fan of 1960s sitcom hijinks.
Sadly, the lion wound up being typecast as well, and took his own life
after numerous failed stints in rehab.
In the scene, Denver (as Gilligan) is supposed to sit on a bed, slowly notice the lion resting on it, and jump off as he panics like a jackass. Unfortunately, this sudden move apparently triggered the real-life lion's instinctive "eat the skinny idiot" response, and it proceeded to take an unscripted lunge right off the bed toward Denver. According to Wells, who was present for the debacle, Denver's only lifesaving reaction was to deliver an ineffective "karate chop," which presumably enraged the lion further. Luckily, the lion lost its footing due to the unstable bed (or because it really did appreciate the value of physical comedy), and the trainer, who showed up to set already covered in claw marks, tackled the lion during its attempted attack.
That also happened to be the year of the first nationally televised pants-shitting.
Invoking the "no harm, no foul" rule, the trainer reportedly begged the cast not to tell his boss, presumably to avoid getting a "Oh no, not again" lecture. Denver regained his composure, asked that the bed remain unsecured in case the lion tried to eat him again, and did another take. Say what you will about Gilligan's Island, but Bob Denver was such a pro that he sat back down next to a lion who had already tried to eat him just to make sure they got all the footage they needed.
Burt Ward Was Constantly Battered On The Set Of The Batman TV Show
If you had to guess which of the many on-screen Batman productions was fraught with the most physical peril for the actors involved, you'd probably say it was the gritty Christopher Nolan trilogy, or maybe the George Clooney version (due to the presumably frequent nipple-to-the-eye incidents). What would likely come last on the list would be the silly 1960s version -- the one that is so dumb it borders on genius and features a less-than-fit Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin.
"Stop Bat-shaming, assholes."
But according to interviews with Ward (corroborated by West), he was lucky to have made it through the experience without winding up permanently crippled. First off, the stuntman the studio hired to do all the dangerous vehicular stuff looked nothing like the actor. So instead of simply getting another, presumably less-swarthy-looking Boy Wonder stand-in, they went with the more expedient option of making Ward get in the car himself during the careening Batmobile sequences.
Ward began to see a few flaws in the plan when, during a sharp turn, his door flew open and "knocked a huge lamp over, hit the guy sitting right by the camera, knocked him over and the camera," Ward said. He was able to save himself from flying out into the road by hooking his pinkie finger on the gear shift knob, dislocating it from the joint, and causing massive swelling in his hand. The crew knew he had to get to a hospital quick: "We'll get you to the hospital just as soon as we get this shot," they told him. So they did, four hours later.
Ward later married into a family so rich that he could probably afford to pay
Chris O'Donnell to cut off his pinkie and give it to him.
Reportedly this was just the first of Ward's many trips to the ER, seeing as how survival on set was constantly endangered by reckless special effects hazards including not only the Batmobile (which handled more like a golf cart on nitrous than an actual car) but also detachable, cape-eating Batcycle sidecars (which would detach with him in it and had no way to steer) and exploding Riddler props. Oh, and then there was the dubious decision to dangle Ward over a bunch of snarling Bengal tigers.
It's true that Ward has a reputation for overstating things, but the hilarious ways the special effects department of the Batman show regularly tried to kill him are one of the only things he and Adam West agree on. At any rate, the man now lives on a giant plot of land surrounded by Great Danes, so we won't be venturing onto his property to call him a liar anytime soon.
We can't help but think this may be the result of Julie Newmar-related sexual frustration.
Which Sci-Fi Trope Would You Bring To The Real World, And Why? Every summer we're treated to the same buffet of three or four science fiction movies with the same basic conceits. There's man vs. aliens, man vs. robots, man vs. army of clones and man vs. complicated time travel rules. With virtual reality and self-driving cars fast approaching, it's time to consider what type of sci-fi movie we want to be living in for the rest of our lives. Co-hosts Jack O'Brien and Adam Tod Brown are joined by Cracked's Tom Reimann and Josh Sargent along with comedians David Huntsberger, Caitlin Gill, and Lizzy Cooperman to figure out which sci-fi trope would be the best to make a reality. Get your tickets to this live podcast here!
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