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Who said acting was a safe gig?! Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the "Top 10 Actors Who Permanently Damaged Their Bodies."
For this list, we’ll be looking at actors who suffered injuries that were not quick to heal or mend. We felt it would be in poor taste to include actors who tragically died on set, like Brandon Lee, so we did not include fatal injuries.
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#10: Jim Caviezel “The Passion of the Christ” (2004)
Jesus may have suffered for the sins of humankind, but Jim Caviezel suffered to bring his story to life. You may have heard how while affixed to a cross, Caviezel was struck by lightning, but as far as we know, that didn’t leave any permanent damage. On the other hand, while shooting a prolonged torture scene, one of the actors missed with the whip and tore a genuine 14-inch gash into Caviezel’s back. The actor still carries a scar, but defends the violence portrayed in the film as necessary to telling Christ’s story.
#9: Blake Lively “The Rhythm Section” (2019)
In this spy thriller starring Blake Lively, slated for a February 2019 release date, the actress plays a mother in search of the truth behind her family’s murder. Details are scarce on what exactly happened on set, but reports state that Lively suffered a relatively serious hand injury while shooting in December 2017. Production took a break while she had surgery, but then shut down again after Lively stated she would need a second surgery. However, the film is still expected to be completed on schedule.
#8: Uma Thurman “Kill Bill: Volume 2” (2004)
More than a decade after the film’s release, Uma Thurman provided this startling revelation about working with Quentin Tarantino on the second Kill Bill film. Understandably nervous about doing her own driving stunt, Thurman apparently only agreed to film a certain driving scene under pressure from the director. Due to the road conditions, Thurman lost control of the vehicle and wound up crashing into a tree. The footage has since been released, and Thurman has stated that the experience left her with a permanently damaged neck and knees.
#7: Michelle Yeoh “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000)
Legendary martial arts actress Michelle Yeoh had her work cut out for her when taking on the demanding fight choreography of this martial arts masterpiece. When shooting one fight sequence, Michelle Yeoh’s knee gave out. Although she soldiered on and continued shooting, it was later revealed that she had torn a tendon in her knee—an injury that would require surgery and months of therapy. Although recovered now, Yeoh has reportedly stated that it is impossible to recover 100% from an injury like that.
#6: Daniel Craig “Spectre” (2015)
You have to give Craig full props to committing to the role of James Bond as much as he did, as even a serious knee injury barely seemed to slow him down. While shooting a fight sequence with Dave Bautista, Craig suffered a meniscus tear, a relatively common injury in which knee cartilage is damaged. Craig took it on the chin with a stiff upper lip though, and after taking a mere two weeks break for surgery, he was back on set and bringing double-o-seven to life. It wasn’t all smooth sailing though, as Craig has required additional surgery since then.
#5: Linda Hamilton “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” (1991)
You’d never know it watching an action movie, but guns are extremely loud! A clap of thunder is about 120 decibels of volume, but a gunshot can be anywhere from 140-190 decibels. In this scene from the Terminator sequel, the characters are escaping a mental hospital in an elevator. Hamilton forgot to put in her earplugs as she was supposed to, so when she and Arnie started wielding shotguns, she suffered permanent hearing damage. This is pretty common actually, as Bruce Willis suffered a similar fate in one ear while shooting Die Hard.
#4: Dylan O'Brien “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” (2018)
Fans of the Maze Runner saga will remember having to wait longer than they anticipated for the final chapter to be released. That’s because the film’s productions suffered a massive delay after a driving stunt resulted in the actor suffering multiple lacerations to his face, a concussion, and serious brain trauma. Production of the film didn’t resume until almost a year later, pushing the film’s release date into 2018. Although O’Brien’s injuries were not life threatening, it’s been reported that he had to undergo reconstructive surgery, and still has metal plates in his head.
#3: George Clooney “Syriana” (2005)
It was during a stunt while filming a torture scene in this 2005 film that George Clooney suffered an injury that resulted in a cracked skull and a severely injured spine. While his commitment to the role did win him an Oscar, the injury has had a lasting impact on the actor’s health—both physical and mental. The actor revealed to Rolling Stone magazine that after weeks of frequent pain and headaches, he considered ending his own life. After surgery, and medication, Clooney turned to pain therapy to help relieve his symptoms.
#2: Sylvester Stallone “The Expendables 3” (2014)
This is one actor who’s had more than his fair share of pain dealt to him on set, including broken bones. He seemingly saved the best—or worst—for his golden years though, as while shooting the third film in the Expendables franchise, he suffered what is possibly his most horrific injury to date. He apparently took a nasty fall onto his back while shooting, resulting in him needing surgery and, as he put it, having “some metal put in there.” Ever the tough guy though, Stallone didn’t complain, even joking that he judges how good a movie is going to be based on his injuries.
#1: Jackie Chan “Armour of God” (1986)
Jackie Chan achieved widespread fame for his martial arts prowess and for doing his own stunts, but that’s also meant a career full of injuries. He’s described his most serious injury, however, as one he received shooting Armour of God. Chan was supposed to jump and grab a tree branch, but the tree snapped and he wound up crashing down onto the rocks below. His skull was fractured, and reportedly a piece entered his brain. He thankfully recovered, but Chan is reportedly hard of hearing on one side thanks to the injury.