Small injury makes it to the big screen
September 7, 2011 3:18 AM   Subscribe

Movies/shows where an actor's last-minute injury or mishap was worked into the final shooting?

This was inspired by Jeffrey Wright's leg injury being made a part of his character in "Source Code," after some initial panicking. The more outlandish and precarious the incident, the better.

I'm not really thinking of things like pre-existing conditions where it could have been planned well in advance. eg, Harrison Ford's chin scar being explained as a young Indiana Jones whip accident. But Ford's stomachache resulting in the quick shot at the Cairo swordsman would work.

Also not things related to sets, shooting conditions, or budget issues, of which there would probably be tons more examples. Nor pregnancies (eg, Gillian Anderson in the X-Files)... unless the effect on production is a really good story.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Well, it's a shitty movie but in Transformers 2 Shia LaBoef's broken arm was written into the movie so he'd have an excuse to wear a cast on screen.
posted by Silentgoldfish at 3:37 AM on September 7, 2011

Like pretty much everything else, TV Tropes covers this: Written-In Infirmity.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:42 AM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Would you want to count injuries seen on screen that aren't made into a Thing? Because Aragorn kicking that (helmet?) resulted in a broken foot/toe, and Gandalf smacking his head in Bilbo's house was also a goof but it wasn't a serious injury. Peter Jackson just likes forced method acting. Which is a trope you might want to look at (can't link at the moment.)
posted by SMPA at 3:46 AM on September 7, 2011

Not really outlandish, but when Erika Christensen broke her wrist in a bicycling accident earlier this year, the injury was written into Parenthood.
posted by Defying Gravity at 3:47 AM on September 7, 2011

I'm not sure if "The Crow" officially fits your criteria, but, you know... Dang.
posted by argonauta at 4:44 AM on September 7, 2011 [4 favorites]

Tiger on Beat II - Conan Lee takes a fall and the scene resumes several months later after his recovery.
posted by kithrater at 4:49 AM on September 7, 2011

After the actor who played Peter Campbell's father on Mad Men, Christopher Allport, was killed in an avalanche, Matthew Weiner had him die in the series.
posted by la petite marie at 4:57 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In Jurassic Park, there is a scene where some of the smaller dinosaurs are fleeing, and one trips over a branch. This is animated almost directly from some video test shots in a parking lot, where one of the animators trips over a piece of wood set between two chairs.
posted by procrastination at 5:12 AM on September 7, 2011 [2 favorites]

Jamey Sheridan started showing signs of bell's palsy and wore an eye patch in law and order: criminal intent.
posted by nadawi at 5:43 AM on September 7, 2011

Also, Ed Helms really has a missing tooth, which they wrote into "The Hangover" for him.
posted by argonauta at 5:47 AM on September 7, 2011

There was an episode of The Brady Bunch where Greg "cut himself shaving" but the cut was actually the result of (I think) a car accident.

I know way too much about that show.
posted by bondcliff at 5:48 AM on September 7, 2011

There's some debate about details, but Mark Hamill's accident toward the end of filming Star Wars and pre-The Empire Strikes Back was accommodated by writing in an accident with some other creatures (or, some say, by filming the Hoth scenes first where he has his face bandaged against the cold).
posted by cocoagirl at 5:59 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

TV: Michael Shanks (Daniel) got appendicitis whilst filming the Stargate:SG1 episode Crystal Skull. The character was given a less taxing role on the following episodes which I seem to recall were towards the season finale which were always action heavy in the series. Daniel was on base and relaying information to the team via radio instead of in the thick of it. The setup for this was that Daniel had just had his appendix out, the episode opened with Daniel on a gurney with the doc prodding his (real) scar.
posted by Ness at 6:05 AM on September 7, 2011

Brad Pitt broke his arm during the production of Se7en and they wrote it into the film.
posted by chiababe at 6:17 AM on September 7, 2011

In Mean Girls, Tim Meadows broke his hand before shooting, so the cast he had to wear was written into the script.
posted by Stephanie Duy at 6:20 AM on September 7, 2011

Best answer: Lucy Lawless suffered a fractured pelvis after her horse slipped while taping a spot on Leno in 1996. It led to various changes in Season Two of Xena: Warrior Princess, resulting in Xena bodyswapping with her arch-nemesis Callisto for a couple of episodes and Hudson Leick playing Xena while Lawless recovered.
posted by frogbit at 6:59 AM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: One of the most prominent examples may be Martin Sheen smashing his fist into a mirror in Apocalypse Now; he was being asked to improvise by Coppola and -- at Sheen's insistence -- they just kept filming. According to the documentary by Eleanor Coppola, Hearts of Darkness, there was a nurse just off-camera.

Later, Sheen had a heart attack, which interrupted filming, but which was not noticeably written into the story. Much of the trip upriver, however, was filmed with Sheen's brother as a stand-in, although Sheen later did his own close-ups.
As a somewhat related matter, a typhoon destroyed sets such as the temple city, as well as the French plantation that can be seen in the Redux edition. They used the damage to portray the devastation of the war, something that wouldn't normally be appropriate.
posted by dhartung at 7:51 AM on September 7, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: In Ronin, two characters were fighting in an ancient arena in Arles. While filming, the stuntmen accidentally fell over a railing to the level below. I'm not sure if anyone was injured, but John Frankenheimer liked it and changed the rest of the sequence to incorporate it.
posted by infinitewindow at 8:55 AM on September 7, 2011

In Lord of the Rings, Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn kicks a helmet and screams in anguish because he thinks the Hobbits were killed. In reality Viggo hurt his foot and was screaming because he was in physical pain, not mental.

I think I heard that in the commentary track of the film's DVD release.
posted by Green With You at 9:31 AM on September 7, 2011

I think they do this with Christian Kane on Leverage periodically.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:43 AM on September 7, 2011

Best answer: So goes the story, Bette Davis showed up for the first days of filming of All About Eve suffering from laryngitis, which lowered her voice into the foghorn register. She assumed she'd have to return post-production to loop the dialogue in her "real" voice, but director Joseph L. Mankiewicz thought the hoarseness appropriate for Davis's character and asked her to play the rest of the film using the same raspy tones.
posted by La Cieca at 11:03 AM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jim Carrey has a capped tooth that he took the cap off of to play Lloyd in Dumb and Dumber.
posted by Fuego at 12:33 PM on September 7, 2011

Megan Mullally showed up to her first day at Party Down with a broken wrist from a car crash, and they had her character wearing a cast for that season.
posted by Gortuk at 1:24 PM on September 7, 2011

Robert Guillaume suffered a stroke that was written into the second season of Sports Night.
posted by platinum at 2:53 PM on September 7, 2011

Best answer: There is an episode of Friends where the opening scene has Chandler waking up to the sound of Joey jumping on his bed and then falling and hurting himself. You only ever see Chandler standing outside Joey's room, you don't actually see Joey. The rest of the episode has Joey's arm in a sling. This seemed like a very "Joey" way of covering Matt LeBlanc's actual injury.
posted by magnetsphere at 2:59 PM on September 7, 2011

When the actor who was Leo on The West Wing died, Leo had to die too.

I've read that Tony Almeida had to get beat up by Jack Bauer in the 2nd season of 24 because the actor broke his ankle playing soccer or something and needed a cast.
posted by lakeroon at 3:09 PM on September 7, 2011

Best answer: Matthew Gray Gubler had a leg injury in 2010 and this was written into the storyline on Criminal Minds. His character Dr. Reid was hobbling around for many episodes, gradually getting better - going from crutches to a cane, IIRC. It seemed like a pointless storyline and I found it annoying until I heard about the real accident.
posted by daikon at 6:47 PM on September 7, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jared Padalecki broke his wrist during a stunt, so his character Sam in Supernatural was shown wearing a cast for like half the season afterwards. (This was Season 2, I think, so 2008-ish?)
posted by ashirys at 8:08 AM on September 8, 2011

I'm surprised Harrison Ford's injury in The Fugitive didn't come up:
Harrison Ford damaged some ligaments in his leg during the filming of the scenes in the woods. He refused to take surgery until the end of filming so that his character would keep the limp. The limp can be seen in any subsequent scene where Richard Kimble is running.
posted by NortonDC at 1:28 PM on September 9, 2011

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