In the story, R.P. McMurphy fakes mental illness while battling his sociopathic nemesis Nurse Ratchet, but the actual behind-the-scenes drama on the set of the movie spawned some real-life insane moments. Filmed on location at an actual mental health ward, things got all too real. Read on for all the mind-blowing details.
They Moved Into a Mental Home
The cast and crew moved into the Oregon State Mental Hospital to shoot the film. Director Miloš Forman’s strong commitment to method acting found many of the inmates serving as extras and others being shadowed by the actors. To keep it real, the cast agreed to reside in the hospital barracks during filming in order to know what it’s like to be committed.
In retrospect, producer Michael Douglas said the film site was crazy but effective. It got dark by 3 pm, which was one challenge, but also, he said, “I didn’t realize until later that many of them were criminally insane.”
It Almost Got Cut
The classic fishing boat scene hilariously depicting McMurphy escaping with the patients almost did not happen. At the last minute, Director Miloš Forman decided to include it.
The memorable moment, filmed at Depoe Bay in Oregon, the smallest harbor in the world, was the movie’s final shot. Tidbit: the entire crew, except Nicholson, got violently seasick.
And So Did the Beard
Nicholson was totally convinced a beard would suit McMurphy. So, on the first day of shooting, he showed up with a full beard—only to have Forman force him to shave it.
This would not be the last time the two egos clashed. Perhaps Delos V. Smith as inmate Scanlon, pictured here, provided plenty enough beard for the cast?
A Search for the Perfect Director
Acquiring the perfect director took more than one take. Ten years, to be exact. Initially, Kirk Douglas’ determination to secure Czechoslovakian cinema mastermind Miloš Forman, whose dark and sardonic style was the perfect fit, flopped. Douglas, who had the production rights and starred in the Broadway version of the story, had reached out to Forman sending him a copy of the book. Sadly, the effort was ill-fated and Czech customs confiscated it.
Both men thought they had been slighted by each other. Finally, a decade after the Broadway version, the younger Michael Douglas contacted Forman and mailed another copy. He enthusiastically embraced the venture.
Like Father Like Son
Michael Douglas took over the project from Kirk Douglas. Entreating his father, “Let me run with this,” he took it as a passion project. Michael absolutely loved the book. “It was a brilliantly conceived story of one man against the system,” and he dreamed of bringing it to the big screen.
With Michael at the helm, they went about casting McMurphy. Jack Nicholson clinched it over Burt Reynolds, Gene Hackman, Marlon Brandon, and several others who didn’t make the cut.
Casting Chief Bromden was a no-brainer. Will Sampson, a member of the northern Oregon Celilo tribe, was an unknown actor and park ranger. He was the only Native American screened who was large enough to fill the part. Size mattered. At 6’7”, he was plenty tall.
Since then, he has adorned our screens in "Alcatraz; The Whole Shocking Story" and "The White Buffalo". He was a known rodeo rider. In 1987 he tragically passed away after a long illness.
Filmed on a $3 million shoestring budget, Jack Nicholson was the cast’s only A-lister. To ink his signature, producers negotiated a box office share of the proceeds, on top of a $1 million cut. It paid off, the film cashed in with an astounding $160 million profit.
Jack Nicolson was already famous for his roles in "Easy Rider", "Passenger", and the list goes on and on. He has left his mark on the screen and is considered one of the best actors Hollywood has provided.
Read All About It
There was one incident in the movie that made the real-life headlines. During filming, a technician left one of the hospital windows open leading to a real patient, climbing over the bars and trying to escape. This resulted in him injuring himself.
The following day, The Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon reported the incident and titled the article "One flew OUT of the cuckoo's nest".
Behind the Scenes
As real patients took part in the movie, the awareness of being filmed would have interfered with its authenticity. The cameraman knew what to do to capture reality and many of the scenes were shot without people knowing.
When everyone around him thought he was playing around with angles and lighting, he was actually filming the surroundings, and later on, these snaps were added to the movie. This way he managed to bring reality onto the screen and turn the creation into a masterpiece.
The Therapeutic Power of Acting
One incredible story happened while filming. One patient who was hired to take part in the movie had a stutter. It was something he was born with and had for his entire life. The responsibility that came along with the role, overwhelmed him in the best way possible.
Not only did this boost his confidence, but his stutter almost disappeared when he was saying his lines in the movie. After the shooting was over, the actor remained in the hospital, and believe it or not, his stutter never returned.
Nurse Ratchet Went Crazy
As Nurse Ratchet, Louise Fletcher , who sadly passed away in September 2022, stayed in character diligently, refusing to hang out with the “patients.” The isolation got to her, so, one day, she did a crazy thing to prove she wasn’t really so mean and prudish.
Posing half-naked, she said she “re-enacted that Betty Grable wartime poster, looking over my shoulder” and snapped the photo. The entire cast got a signed copy.
DeVito and His "Friend"
Lonesomeness caused Danny DeVito to invent an imaginary friend. Worried about his mental health, he consulted Dr. Dean Brooks, the hospital’s actual superintendent, who told him there is nothing to worry about as long as he knows his imaginary friend is fictional.
DeVito played his character in the stage production, so it was an easy call to cast him as Martini. His performance was overwhelming in a way that the fine line between fiction and reality became blurry.
No One Cared About the Facilities
At $250 per day, shooting at the facility was a bargain. Dr. Brooks, director of the Oregon state hospital, gave permission to film there, as long as the inmates could take part in the process.
Unfortunately, the cast and crew left the facility in shambles. Neither the head of the hospital nor the production team had imagined the wreck that was left behind after filming.
The Director's Candid Style
Miloš Forman clandestinely let the film roll to catch actors in candid shots bringing to life the naturalistic style he was aiming for. It worked. Many candid scenes made the cut.
At one point, Forman caught an icy glare from Fletcher’s Nurse Ratchet. In the film, it’s aimed at McMurphy, but actually, she was giving director Forman the stink eye.
Dr. Dean Brooks was not only the facility director, but he also played the facility director in Cuckoo’s Nest. It was a large role and his only acting gig. At his request, nearly all patients played extras or were involved in the film’s production in some way.
Sadly, during the time of the filming, Dr. Brooks diagnosed actor William Redfield (pictured on the left) who was ill. He passed away just after the film was released.
Fox Found It Too Disturbing
The quest to find a distributor stalled at 20th Century Fox. To finance it, the movie company required a significant change. They wanted a happy ending.
Though the producers were desperate for a studio, they flatly refused to alter the final scene depicting McMurphy’s devastating lobotomy. Finally, United Artists stood up to the plate.
A Rigid Writer
Author Ken Kesey was a stubborn guy. He absolutely refused to view the film after the producers decided against using Chief Bromden as the narrator. He was so angry he sued. He won just over 2% of the proceeds. Kesey’s novel was inspired by spending time working as an attendant at a VA hospital mental ward in Palo Alto. It was also inspired by his experiences as a graduate student when he participated as a paid lab rat to take illegal medication for a study by the U.S. Army.
As a nonconformist, he was part of the counterculture and frequented gigs like the Trips Festival. Kesey believed psychedelic substitutes are the gateway to individual liberation.
The Producers Got Scared
Sydney Lassick was a cast member who succumbed to the stress of staying in character at a mental ward. Lassick, who played Charlie Cheswick, dove into his part so deeply that the producers feared for his sanity.
They were told not to worry about his erratic behavior; medications were on hand. During one scene, Lassick, viewing from the sidelines, flipped out so uncontrollably that he had to be removed from the set.
Cuckoo’s Nest scripted Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd for the parts of Martini and Max as unknowns. Together, they would hit it big with "Taxi" in 1978. They worked together once again on "Man on the Moon" (1999), another film directed by Miloš Forman.
When you come across such chemistry between two actors, it only makes sense to team them up again for future productions. Success is guaranteed.
It Made Bank
"One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest" opened as the second-highest-grossing film in November of 1975 at the Sutton and Paramount Theatres in NYC. It went on to be the seventh-highest-grossing film of all time.
In Sweden, it played continuously for 12 years, from 1975 to 1987, a standing record. It is United Artists’ biggest success. Until today, no one has reproduced the feelings and overall impact the movie had on viewers.
The late Louise Fletcher made Oscar history when she thanked her deaf parents. She signed, “I want to say thank you for teaching me to have a dream. You are seeing my dream come true.”
Afterward, she heard from countless adoring deaf fans from around the country who expressed overwhelming affinity with her gesture. She won the Best Actress Award for her unsurpassable role as the nasty Nurse Ratchet.
Oscars for All
The late Louise Fletcher was not the only one to earn an Oscar thanks to this movie. Jack Nicholson won Best Actor, Forman won Best Director, Best Picture went to Michael Douglas and Saul Zaentz, and Best Adapted Screenplay went to Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman.
Scoring all five major Academy Awards, Cuckoo’s Nest made history at the 48th Oscar ceremony, matching the success of Frank Capra’s "It Happened One Night". "Silence of the Lambs" would follow suit.
Nicholson Dove Deep
Jack Nicholson’s commitment to method acting in preparing for the film spanned from living in the psychiatric ward amongst the patients to participating in real-life group therapy sessions. Fully immersing himself in the rebellious mind of McMurphy triggered some hitches. In developing the character, Nicholson sparred often with director Forman.
First, they clashed over Nicholson’s beard idea, then, the two butted heads so squarely over the telling of the story that they were not on speaking terms during most of the filming. To communicate, cinematographer Bill Butler had to serve as a go-between.
No Stranger to the Crazy
Nicholson is known for mentally committing to his roles. Later, in Kubrick’s "The Shining", he was caught on tape preparing for the ax scene by running around the set screaming maniacally, “Ax, murder, kill!”
Nicholson's Jack Torrance is one of the most terrifying characters in the movie, immortalized for all eternity by the freaky improvised line, “Heeeere’s Johnny!”
Method actors are can be found all over the film industry. Other film legends have gone to shocking extremes to create outstanding and memorable characters. Here are some more of the very best.
Seriously Method Acting
When it comes to method acting, Robert De Niro is the champ. He had his teeth shaved down for "Cape Fear" and worked as an NYC cabbie preparing for his iconic role in "Taxi".
What he does to prepare for roles is truly astounding. No wonder he is considered one of the best in Hollywood.
De Niro Got Ripped
Portraying Scorsese’s "Raging Bull" star, world champion boxer Jake LaMotta, took role prep to an entirely new level. De Niro packed on a mind-blowing 60 pounds, ameliorating the ripped boxer physique he trained for in the first part of the film.
He achieved the authentic old Italian guy look by traveling to Sicily and consuming as much pasta as possible while hanging out with elderly Italians. He won the Oscar for Best Actor.
Hoffman Didn't Sleep
Dustin Hoffman was trained at the celebrated Actor’s Studio in NYC. In "Marathon Man", he played opposite Laurence Olivier, a classically trained actor. When Hoffman had a scene in which his character did not sleep for three nights, Hoffman stayed up for three nights.
Legendarily, when he told Olivier his method, the response of the classically trained actor was, “Why don’t you just try acting?” Hoffman had the last laugh. Method acting made him a two-time Oscar winner ("Kramer vs. Kramer" and "Rain Man").
Then There Was the Slap
But it took a toll. Sleep deprivation nearly compromised his sanity. Hoffman narrowly averted a psychotic break. And in "Kramer vs. Kramer", he went overboard accosting Meryl Streep in off-camera clashes.
On camera, an unscripted slap in the face was as unwelcome as his heckling of the actress over her recently deceased boyfriend.
Kate Winslet Became a Prison Guard
There is more to Kate Winslet than diving ships and Shakespearean plays. In "The Reader" Winslet dove into a role of a prison camp guard, taking place in WWII Germany.
She annoyed her kids when she took on a German accent and kept using it off the set. She didn’t break character, not even when she read them bedtime stories. They said, “Mum, just be plain. Don’t do any funny stuff like voices.”
There Were Some Dark Moments
In the end, it was worth it. While the actress felt that the role took her to a dark place, she did end up grabbing an Oscar for it. She pulled off that accent with such professionalism, for a minute there she was thought to be a native German.
Kate said that it was like she'd escaped from a serious car accident and needed to understand what has just happened. She already earned her title of a fabulous actress, but after this appearance, she showed sides that weren't revealed before.
Marlon Brando Went Psycho
Marlon Brando needs no introduction, but you might not know how the fabled actor physically tortured himself each night during the 1946 Broadway run of "Truckline Café". The final scene depicts his character, a psychopath, emerging from an icy lake.
Brando had a stagehand dump an ice-cold bucket of water over his head as he ran up and down the stairs getting properly winded for the lake scene.
The Master of Method
He also spent a month bedridden at a VA hospital to convincingly portray an injured WWII lieutenant in "The Men". Brando is responsible for popularizing method acting. He was one of the NYC Actor’s Studio’s original students. One of Brando’s best examples of method acting is found in "A Streetcar Named Desire".
Marlon Brando didn't enjoy the technology the industry has these days and had to work much harder than the actors of the 21st century. He was for sure one of a kind.
Leto Can't Let Go
Known for his insane dedication to various roles, none of Jared Leto's characters seem like they're played by the same person. The ability to switch from one mode to another has made him a true phenomenon.
For "Dallas Buyer's Club", he lost thirty pounds, waxed his entire body, and arrived on set already in costume every day. For a later role, he upped his game as we were all in for another surprise.
He Was Not Joking Around
As the Joker, Leto sent creepy gifts to his fellow actors, including a live rat to Margot Robbie. Leto outdid himself in "Requiem for a Dream". He lived homeless, wandering the streets of Brooklyn for a week, starving himself to lose weight and gain the appearance of an addict.
Additionally, he stayed abstinent for two months. Sometimes it pays off. Jared Leto won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a SAG for best supporting actor in "Dallas Buyer’s Club". When Leto sets his mind on something, he takes it all the way.
Day-Lewis Czeched in
As the only film star to win three Best Actor Oscars, Daniel Day-Lewis must have been doing something right. In "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", Lewis learned to speak Czech. All it required was a Czech accent, but he did it the hard way and learned the actual language.
And that wasn’t all. Oh, no. He felt a proper preparation of Hawkeye should include learning to fight with tomahawks and carrying a gun with him everywhere. For "The Crucible" he kept it real by living in a cabin without electricity or running water, just like they did in the 17th century. Rumor has it that the actor did not bathe for the entire shoot.
And Became a Fighter...
In "Gangs of New York," he refused to wear a contemporary jacket and caught pneumonia. Like Abe Lincoln, he sent texts, in character, to his castmates. For the "Last of the Mohicans", Day-Lewis built a canoe from scratch, on top of a brutal fitness regimen.
Daniel Day-Lewis made us fall for him in "The Age of Innocence", stunned us in "In The Name of The Father" and became one of the best actors in Hollywood after his remarkable role in "My Left Foot".
The Mystery Character
When asked by local ABC WTVC if he’s a method actor, Danny Glover said that people like to call it that, but “I call it ‘immersion acting.’” He said that he studied the great theories about acting. He added that sometimes people read something and start thinking and that he does that organically.
He said that he doesn't have the name for it but organically that’s where he goes. He also told WTVC that he was heavily influenced by his parents and their dedication to the Civil Rights movement.
Glover's accomplishments become even more impressive when you learn a little more about his background. When he first started dabbling in acting it had to be in the Black Actors' Workshop of the American Conservatory Theater.
The man had to fight through dyslexia and his personal feelings of general awkwardness in order to become the man who played memorable characters in "The Color Purple", the "Lethat Weapon" franchise, and more.
The One and Only
Heath Ledger’s Joker portrayal in "The Dark Knight" was an all-encompassing journey into the clownish villain’s mind. Fully absorbed in the creepy criminal mind, Ledger totally isolated himself in a hotel room for a month.
Between filming, the actor would write in his journal and read nothing but comics and source material related to the film. Rumors say the extreme role prep caused his untimely passing.
Christian Bale (Batman) remembers Ledger being aggressive, saying he “was kinda egging [him] on.” Pushing for an authentic physical altercation during the interrogation scene, Ledger smashed into walls and damaged tiles of the prison setting. Some said depression led to his tragic passing, but Ledger’s sister Kate said he loved doing the film and looked forward to another Batman movie.
His life ended before the film was released. Posthumously, he was awarded an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor.
As it turns out, Christian Bale also adheres to extreme role-prep measures. In "The Machinist", he nearly starved himself, shriveling down to almost nothing and shedding over 60 pounds.
Swinging the other way, Bale packed on 42 pounds to play Irving Rosenfeld in "American Hustle" and not just that, he shaved a receding hairline into a thick mop to achieve the perfect comb-over look.
Not every successful actor sacrifices physical or mental health to play a role. In these cases, a stuntman comes in handy to fill in for the death-defying feats. Check out these striking images of Hollywood heavyweights posing with their stuntmen.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s double is Tanoai Reed. He’s been filling in for the Rock since "Waterworld" in 1995. How does he achieve the stunning likeness? Reed is Johnson’s cousin! He also worked with the actor on "The Scorpion King".
Andrew Garfield’s performance in "The Amazing Spider-Man" (2012) was easily assisted by a costumed stuntman. Conveniently, Spiderman always looks the same, no matter which actor plays him. But in this case, the double for Peter Parker is seen wearing sweatpants.
Though he doesn’t mind having a stunt-Spidey, Garfield did prepare by studying the movements of athletes and spiders, mimicking both.
Sometimes real-life love stories are born on set, not only between two actors. "Fury Road" demanded scene after scene of reckless maneuvers, so Charlize Theron wisely opted for a stunt double as Furiosa.
The on-set feud between Theron and Tom Hardy did not stop their stunt doubles from falling in love and getting married. So the stunts went together along with the set and stayed together happily ever after.
When it comes to child actors, the law requires producers to bring in doubles to take over for scenes that could be potentially dangerous. It happens on all movie sets and all TV shows and it happened in the case of Quvenzhané Wallis.
From afar, the two look the same, and when in costume they are almost identical. Quvenzhané's double is much older than her, but you'd never notice in the film. We can thank movie magic for that!
Could there be four Marty McFlys? That’s right. Michael J. Fox employed three different doubles in "Back to the Future II". Pictured here on the film set, he has a photo double (Kevin Holloway), a stand-in (Robert Robert Bennett), and a stunt double (Charlie Croughwell).
With this crew, the next "Back to the Future" could be extra daring with a Marty spread over four centuries, and each having a stunt double. So, how many Marties would that be altogether?
Tarantino's Fave Stuntwoman
Zoë Bell covered for Uma Thurman in several of Quentin Tarantino’s films; both volumes of "Kill Bill", "Deathproof", and "The Hateful Eight". In "Deathproof", Tarantino gave her an actual part for which she obviously performed her own stunts.
Memorably, she’s the woman clinging to the hood of the Dodge Challenger commandeered by its psychopath driver. Zoë Bell has done stunts in many widescreen hits such as "Hercules", "Xena", "Ironman" and "Catwoman". What a woman.
Just Hanging Out
More than any other character, Carrie Fisher is Princess Leia — a role for which she was nominated for four different awards. As you can see in this photo, she was not always a goody two shoes. Here she is hanging out on the set of "Return of the Jedi" with her friend and stunt double Tracey Eddon.
Princess Leia’s metal bikini made of gold has its own history, forever enshrined within Star Wars nostalgia. Looking at this photo, you wouldn't believe she's was once a real princess
Even the Stuntman Bailed
Tony Angelotti used to be Johnny Depp’s stuntman. His double nearly ended his life in a “human yo-yo” maneuver and sued Disney for negligence. The maneuver in question featured Captain Jack Sparrow falling hard from a height of 30 to 40 feet in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest".
For the fall, Angelotti was released from a crane while harnessed to a cord. Unfortunately, the cord's tension was too intense, so when it reached maximum length, the stuntman jackknifed (like whiplash but for the whole body), fracturing bones, and bleeding internally. Luckily there's always an extra double around to replace the stuntman, who is there in the first place.
An Aging Cruise Can't Do It All
Some actors are very proud of pulling off their own stunts, Tom Cruise is one. The "Mission Impossible" star is a passionate stuntman. He wants to do it all by himself, grasp the fame and earn the glory.
Finally, he has begun coming to his senses and as he matures and gets older, he has had to defer to a stunt professional. He used a double in "The Mummy" and will most likely use one in the future.
Both Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz needed stunt doubles in "The Mask", where the zany antics get comically wild. Which was more difficult? The tedious makeup sessions piling on green paint for four hours or the stunts?
You may think that pulling off physical stunts, however, sitting in the makeup van without moving for several hours with all that green stuff being put on your face can be even harder.
Bowie's Stunt Guy
No matter how outrageous David Bowie might have been throughout his life, in some cases he had someone do the hard stuff for him. Nick Gillard performed stunts for David Bowie in "Labyrinth". He was also Mark Hamill’s first lightsaber fighter. For Bowie’s Jareth, he jumped in to provide lighter-than-air stunts on the castle stairs.
Bowie was always known for taking the extra step and for testing his own boundaries, however, when it came to real life-threatening moments, he preferred for someone to fill in for him.
A Lot of Car Crashes
What does one need to be a stuntman for Bruce Willis? A bald head. The two massive men on the right stepped in for him in "A Good Day to Die Hard". With more car crashes than you can count, they were a great help.
Larry Rippenkroeger, Willis’s double for over ten years said, “The hardest thing is when the director wants me to deliver a line.” By the looks of it, Rippenkroger prefers to stick to actions and leave the lines to Wills.
Even Arnold Has One
Even the Terminator needs some backup. Here he is posing with Pete Kent. In "Commando" (1985), a $10 million budget surely covered plenty of stunts and CGI. According to Ranker, since Schwarzenegger could bench 520 and deadlift 710, the "Commando" director assumed he could do his own stunt, holding a dude over a cliff.
This didn't work according to plan and they ordered a crane the next day to complete the scene. So much for Mr. I-can-do-it-all.
When Hollywood has a good day, then it's a really good day. One of the best things that can happen to the casting team, is finding a stuntman that looks pretty much the same as the star. The Jurassic Park foundation did not clone Chris Pratt. That’s his stunt double Tony McFarr!
They also teamed up in "Guardians of the Galaxy" volumes 1 and 2. This makes the entire filming and editing process so much more manageable as we have come across some incidents where the editing was affected due to the poor resemblance of the stunt double to the actor.
Here's another example of a star who wants to show he has it all. Stallone should have opted for a stunt double in "Rambo" but instead, he played daredevil all on his own and did a stunt that involved him falling through trees. After three takes, he hit a branch the wrong way and broke three ribs.
Some actors take the hard way, and some choose the easy way out. For Stallone, it was obviously the hard way as he refused a double until then. Stallone is not the only one though...
Smashing It Up
Tom Cruise famously does his own stunts. His last "Mission: Impossible" might have made him rethink things. During a rooftop pursuit chase, Cruise missed his jump and broke his ankle after smashing his foot.
These incidents can be costly as the production was delayed for months. On the upside, the shot made the final cut. It’s in the movie and Tom can take all the credit.
It's Got a Little Chilly
During the sinking ship scenes of "Titanic", Winslet tried to take every precaution, but she was lucky she didn’t drown. First, she suffered a serious case of hypothermia submerged in the frigid water. It wasn't an easy scene to play.
In another water scene, her coat got stuck on an underwater gate and she came close to drowning. Using a stunt double is not always wise as it may interfere with the authenticity of the scene, but if your stars are at risk, maybe compromises need to be made.
Too Much Horse Action
Charlton Heston Heston’s stuntman in the "Ben Hur" chariot race scene was almost trampled to death. The 1959 production featured stunt double Joe Canutt with reins in hand. We must add that no animals were injured during production.
Being thrown from the chariot may have sealed the Oscar for Heston, but Canutt barely survived. The writers of these action movies don't always take the performer's well-being into account and rely on doubles for all the inhuman scenes.
The wingsuit flight scene in "Point Break" (1991) was extremely hazardous. “It’s one of the most dangerous stunts that has ever been filmed,” according to film technical adviser Jeb Corliss. A team of Red Bull athletes pulled it off in this extreme sports flick.
The action scenes in this movie are all real, however, the stars in the movie (Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze) didn't perform any of them by themselves. No, not the skydiving scenes either.
They could have made life easier for everyone while taking advantage of special effects, however, the production wanted the real thing. In the tractor-trailer flip-scene in "The Dark Knight" (2008), they used a full-sized eighteen-wheeler despite the film special effects supervisor’s recommendation to use a small-scale truck.
Christopher Nolan was set on a real semi-truck for a 180-degree flip. Stuntman Jim Wilkey was in the cab, protected by large bars. Using a life-sized vehicle was one thing, but taking chances with risking real lives was another.
Isla Fisher was lucky to go away from "Now You See Me" unscathed. In the water-escape scene, a technical glitch snagged her. She was trapped underwater while the crew thought she was performing an awesome take. Three minutes later, they realized rescue was in order.
In 2016 "Now You See Me 2" was launched, but why wasn't Isla Fisher in it? Well, it was just because she was pregnant at the time. According to production, she will return for the third volume of this creation.
Shipwrecked in Waterworld
In 1995, "Waterworld" was released, exposing to us the world beneath the waters. The ice caps have all melted, and one man finds himself searching for dry land. While filming one scene, Kevin Costner was trapped, tied to the top of a ship when a surprise storm broke out.
The unscripted weather event doused him relentlessly for almost half an hour. Unplanned, Kostner was giving a real feel of what life could be underwater.
Let's talk about Bond. James Bond. In all 26 Bond Movies, there are flying, drowning, car chasing, or bungee jumping scenes. It just wouldn't be Bond without them. In "GoldenEye", things almost ended tragically. Something that could have changed movie production forever.
Stuntman Wayne Michael hurled himself over the Contra Dam in Switzerland. This place is also known as Verzasca Dam or Locarno Dam and people to this day travel all the way there to experience bungee jumping. The "Golden Eye" stuntman lost consciousness after falling at too rapid a pace during the bungee jump stunt.
You think "The Wizard of Oz" was all good witches and yellow brick roads? Think again. It was more dangerous than you might think. Margaret Hamilton’s 1939 performance of the Wicked Witch of the West’s fiery exit from Munchkinland did not go as scripted.
The flames shot up, but the trapdoor failed to release, stranding the actress in the flames and leaving her with severe burns.
Whip It Up
You might think that "The Passion of the Christ" is an old 20th-century movie, but in fact, it was released less than 20 years ago. The production spared no descriptions and illustrations and showed things as they were.
As it turned out, Jim Caviezel endured real-life medieval torture. The actor went through some harsh treatment for real, several times. He dislocated a shoulder, became hypothermic, and, most surprising, was hit by lightning.
Depp Was Thrown
No matter how good of a rider you are, when it comes to stunts and tumbling on a horse's back that has a mind of its own, trust the production team and get a stunt double. They know what they are talking about.
Johnny Depp risked his life in "The Lone Ranger". Refusing to get a stuntman, Depp attempted to do the high-speed horseback scene on his own. After being thrown off the saddle, he was nearly trampled by his own horse.
High Speed Uma
You may think the Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino are a match made in heaven when it comes to production and cast relations, however, there is a story behind these two. Actress Uma Thurman wanted to sue Quentin after he apparently forced her to take things a bit too far.
He made her perform a high-speed car stunt that injured her so severely that it almost ended her life. If she wasn't comfortable with doing this, why did she accept his request in the first place?
"Premium Rush" brought many challenging scenes to the actors and stunt crew. The story tells the tale of a brake-free single gear bike that ends up involved with a corrupted police officer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt who played the rider got into a bit of trouble.
He found himself in a freak accident during the shooting of a cycling scene. He crashed through the rear window of a wayward taxicab, lacerating his arm. After 31 stitches, he was back on set the next day.
That's Not Harrison Ford
Not everything you see is everything you get, especially when it comes to iconic scenes in iconic movies. The stunt performers do such a great job that the star on the screen magically appears to have amazing talents and the ability to pull off any stunt.
This iconic scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was actually performed by stuntman Terry Leonard. The man risked his life being dragged by the big truck and then, of course, climbing underneath it.
"The Exorcist" is labeled as an American horror movie series, however, it doesn't have that many stunts. It is based on the 1972 novel written by William Peter Blatty and altogether has grossed more than $500 thousand.
There is one part in the movie that injured actress Ellen Burstyn. In one scene she is slapped across her face. In the process, a stunt cable yanked her so violently that she fell and broke her tailbone.
Jamie the Dangler
Jamie Lee Curtis spent her 36th birthday dangling from a helicopter over the ocean for "True Lies" (1994). Also in that movie, Arnold Schwarzenegger nearly ended his life when his horse got spooked and reared near a cliff just a hair from a 90-foot drop. Luckily, he was able to escape in time.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is familiar to us in many action movies. He played in "Batman and Robin" (1997), "End of Days", and "Terminator" so the danger zone in filming wasn't unfamiliar to him. Curtis had less experience than him when it came to stunts and she dragged an aftereffect after filming that scene.
In "The Princess Bride", actor Cary Elwes took on too much. In one scene, his character gets hit over the head with the butt of a sword, so he asked Christopher Guest to hit him for real. Hopefully, they got the shot they needed because, next, Elwes was in an ambulance heading to the hospital to be treated for a mild concussion.
The movie is hilariously funny and you can't take your eyes off these talented comedians, however, this was no joke and it could have ended in a completely different way.
"Roar" tells the story of a normative family that goes on holiday to meet their father who lives in the wild. The holiday turned into a nightmare and several members of the family are attacked in a severe way by the animals. The 11-year production of "Roar" is one of the most dangerous films on record. Seventy members of its cast suffered serious injuries while filming as stunt people weren't used in all scenes.
This was the film in which Tippi Hedren legendarily starred alongside her real-life husband Noel Marshall and Melanie Griffith plays the daughter. The entire production was controversial among the viewers and no other movie was made that way since.
The movie "Whiplash" shows us that there is a lot more to music lessons than what we may think. In this movie, J.K. Simmons as Terence Fletcher brings to life the enthusiasm which lies beneath the music notes, sometimes taking the musician beyond insight and borderlines.
Simmons received a violent blow worse than he expected on the set of "Whiplash". Miles Teller says his favorite part of filming was when he attacked and leveled Simmons which resulted in a bad way. “I always dug that scene because he just finally snaps,” says Teller.