25 Most Shocking On-Set Accidents

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Stunt doubles have an incredible job of orchestrating complex maneuvers and tricks to sell tension and action in films, but even stunt doubles have accidents. From Daniel Radcliffe's stunt double entering lifelong paralysis to Bruce Lee's son meeting his death from a prop gun.

1. Taylor Hickson

Taylor Hickson
Image Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.

Taylor Hickson, the star of the 2016 film Incident In a Ghostland, experienced her own horror story during filming. Her director instructed her to pound on a panel of glass for a riveting scene, and when he wanted to up the ante, he told her to hit the glass with more force. His directorial desires created a beautiful image in his head, but the impact broke the glass and caused Hickson to fall through the sheet, severely scarring her face. Her surgery required 70 stitches and resulted in a permanent facial scar.

2. Dylan O'Brien

Dylan O'Brien in American Assassin (2017)
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

Everyone's favorite cast member of Teen Wolf stepped away from the television series for a venture into theatrical films. On the set of Maze Runner: The Death Cure, Dylan O'Brien was fastened into a harness on top of a car but was suddenly yanked to the ground into the path of a motorcycle. O'Brien took a year off acting, suffered brain damage, and underwent facial reconstruction surgery to restructure broken bones in his face. 

3. David Holmes 

Daniel Radcliffe and David Holmes in David Holmes: The Boy Who Lived (2023)
Image Credit: HBO Max.

Behind the Harry Potter franchise is a fabulous team of stunt doubles. David Holmes, Daniel Radcliffe's stunt double, experienced a harrowing on-set accident involving a broomstick and a paralyzing collision into a wall. During a battle between Harry and Voldemort, the cable sending Holmes's body through the air malfunctioned and thrust him straight into a solid structure. The accident paralyzed Holmes from the neck down. 

4. Uma Thurman

Uma Thurman in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

Uma Thurman pleaded for a stunt double to drive the Karmann Ghia during a scene in Kill Bill Vol. 2, but Quentin Tarantino refused to acknowledge her desires. Not only did the car have transmission issues, but the dirt road Thurman drove down contained more curves than Tarantino believed. Thurman deals with neck and knee strain to this day. 

5. Animals in Milo and Otis

Chatran and Pû in The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986)
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

The Adventures of Milo and Otis was a favorite childhood film for many, but looking back, the animals were put in dangerous situations. There were many reports of animal abuse on set and rumors that animals died during the filming.

6. Brandon Lee

Brandon Lee in The Crow (1994)
Image Credit: Miramax.

Bruce Lee's son, Brandon Lee, passed away while filming The Crow in a prop mishap. Lee's costar, Michael Massee, pointed a prop gun toward Lee, not knowing a bullet fragment remained in the prop gun. Whoever cleaned the prop gun before the actors handled it neglected to inform the actors of the bullet fragment remaining inside the barrel. Unfortunately, the gunpowder mixed with the fragment led to Lee's death. 

7. Jon Erik-Hexum

Jon Erik Hexum
Image Credit: Universal Television.

This young actor quipped about set delays, picked up a prop gun, and pointed the weapon toward his head. Before pulling the trigger, he asked his costars if they could believe how long filming took. The gunpowder caused a fracture in his skull, which hemorrhaged his brain and landed him in the hospital. Jon Erik-Hexum passed away six days later, after spending his final moments in a coma.

8. Joi Harris

Joi Harris
Image Credit: Wikipedia.

Zazie Beets' stunt double, Joi Harris, died on her first day on the job. Harris showed up for a motorcycle stunt, where she manned the bike without a helmet. Harris orchestrated the stunt five times before the cameras rolled. However, as soon as the cameras clicked on, the stunt went south. Harris struggled to control the bike, and she crashed it into a sidewalk curb. The momentum sprung her off the bike and sent her through a building's window. 

9. Olivia Jackson

Olivia Jackson on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures. Olivia Jackson on the set of Mad Max: Fury Road.

Milla Jovovich's stunt double in the Resident Evil franchise also experienced injuries from a brutal motorcycle crash. The motorcycle stunt involved Jackson speeding toward a craned camera, which would move out of the way as she barreled toward the device. The camera remained in the same spot — a last-minute choice that slit into Jackson's face and arm. The crash resulted in Jackson losing half of her face and one of her arms, among severe brain bleeding and spinal fractures.

10. Jim Engh

Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny in The X-Files (1993)
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television.

Jim Engh passed away on the set of The X-Files after an electrical line came in contact with the scaffolding and electrocuted him. One of the pipes collided with the powerlines and sent a high-voltage electrical shock through the platform. The scene followed a chase down a stairwell, hence the scaffolding.

11. Isla Fisher

41 of 238 Isla Fisher in Now You See Me (2013)
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

In the 2012 film Now You See Me, Isla Fisher attempted her own stunts, including a prolonged amount of time submerged and shackled in a tank filled with water. The directors kept the scene of her struggling in the film, and halfway through the underwater portion, Fisher points to the camera and signals for the crew to stop recording and help her. She did survive this scene, but watching it, knowing she almost drowned, induces chills. 

12. Letitia Wright

Letitia Wright
Image Credit: Fred Duval/Shutterstock.

After falling off a stunt rig on the set of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Letitia Wright's team rushed her to the hospital. In the mishap, Wright rode a motorcycle when she crashed into a median. The impact launched her into the air, and when she landed on the ground, she fractured her shoulder and received a concussion. 

13. George Clooney

George Clooney
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Before Oscar-winner George Clooney received an award for his role in Syriana, he suffered horrific damage to his spinal cord. During a tense scene, Clooney sat in a chair, restricted by tape, while antagonists attacked him. The chair toppled over, and Clooney's head smacked the floor as he tore his dura, and spinal fluid leaked out of his nose. 

14. Conway Wickliffe

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008)
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

This acclaimed stuntman had his stunt perfected, yet the driver lost control of the car, causing a tree crash to turn fatal. Conway Wickliffe's stunt consisted of him sticking his head out of a moving vehicle — with a camera capturing the moment — as the driver progressed at 20 mph. The driver unfortunately could not keep control of the vehicle and crashed into a tree and Wickliffe died on impact.

15. Sarah Jones

Train trestle
Image Credit: Appealbydesign/Shutterstock.

A bright-eyed camera assistant, Sarah Jones, arrived on the set of Midnight Rider with a trembling stomach, nervous about the set's safety measures, and for good reason. Jones and another woman, Joyce Gilliard, set up their equipment on a live train track when the crew alerted them to abandon the tracks as a train chugged toward them. The crew had a mere 60 seconds to gather their belongings and jump out of the path, along with clearing their set from the live track. Sixty seconds was not enough. Gilliard lost her arm in the accident, and Jones lost her life.

16. Scott McLean

Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, and Ed Helms in The Hangover Part II (2011)
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Scott McLean worked as a stunt double for the The Hangover Part II, where he sustained permanent injuries. McLean's character stuck his head out of a moving vehicle's window as another car progressed toward the car. The other car should have nearly avoided McLean, yet the ground proved slick and it hit McLean's head. The stuntman entered into a coma and had permanent brain damage.

17. Art Scholl

Art Scholl
Image Credit: National Air and Space Museum-Smithsonian Institution.

The final words others heard Art Scholl utter were, “I've got a problem. I've really got a problem.” The airplane aficionado served as a stunt pilot on the set of Top Gun and died in the same way a fictional character did. After the plane enters a flat spin — a phenomenon where the airplane cannot stop rotating — the two men eject themselves from the plane. Sadly, Scholl's ejection did not work, and he plunged into the ocean. Only a few scraps of the plane were found. 

18. Roy Kinnear

Roy Kinnear in The Return of the Musketeers (1989)
Image Credit: Universal.

British actor Roy Kinnear fretted about filming a horse scene in the movie The Three Musketeers. Kinnear sensed danger and unease about the scene due to the conditions the horse would trot across. For the film, the directors wanted the horse to spring across a cobblestone bridge sprinkled with sand. The workers believed implementing the sand would aid the horse's traction, but that was not the case. The horse slipped and catapulted Kinnear from the saddle.

19. Sonja Davis

Angela Bassett and Eddie Murphy in Vampire in Brooklyn (1995)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Sonja Davis worked as Angela Bassett's stunt double in the 1995 film Vampire in Brooklyn when she fell over 30 feet to her death. Davis fell backward off a skyscraper onto the cement instead of the airbags promised by the crew. The lawsuit claimed that the airbags were out of place and not functioning properly. 

20. Halyna Hutchins

Alec Baldwin in Rust
Image Credit: The Avenue.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins died at the hands of Alec Baldwin and a loaded prop gun. On the set of Rust, Baldwin rehearsed his shooting scene to assist the camera crew in blocking. He believed the gun was safe to fire, as it was a prop gun; however, the gunpowder and projectile struck Hutchins and the director, Joel Souza. Hutchins passed away a few hours after the incident.

21. Vic Morrow, Myca Dinh Le, and Renee Shin-Yi Chen

Vic Morrow, Myca Dinh Le, and Renee Shin-Yi Chen in Twilight Zone: The Movie
Image Credit: ABC Television, Public Domain/unknown author, Public Domain/Wiki Commons.

The final day on set should evoke heartwarming moments and sentimentality. The final day of the Twilight Zone: The Movie set stirred up terror for the actors. The scene included Vic Morrow (an adult) and Myca Dinh Le and Renee Shin-Yi Chen (two children) sprinting away from a helicopter in a reprise of the Vietnam War. While this idea seemed like an artistic recreation to boost cinematic quality, the pilot of the helicopter could not navigate around the on-set explosions, and he hit all three actors, killing them upon impact. 

22. Gabriella Cedillo

Shia LaBeouf in Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Gabriella Cedillo worked as an extra on the set of Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Her accident involved conducting a vehicle stunt that went awry. Hollywood attempted to cover up the accident, pushing the narrative that a strange course of events led to Cedillo's coma, while local news stations wrote that a cable lacerated her car and head. 

23. David Ritchie

Hayden Christensen in Jumper (2008)
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

The collapse of a set killed David Ritchie on the set of Jumper. The set dresser began disassembling the set when an amalgamation of frozen sand, earth, and ice crushed Ritchie. The production designers and set dressers fastened frozen elements to the walls to replicate a sci-fi environment, but their vision did not translate properly. The structures fell with little contact, killing Ritchie and injuring another worker. 

24. Joe Watts

Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez in F9: The Fast Saga (2021)
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Vin Diesel's stunt double for F9: The Fast Saga, Joe Watts, took a 30-foot fall attached to a faulty safety wire. Allegedly, Watts performed the stunt inches away from rehearsal. Therefore, he missed the safety mat by a smidgen. He exited the film with a fractured skull, brain damage, psychological trauma, and the inability to work as a stuntman again. 

25. Harry O' Connor

Vin Diesel in xXx (2002)
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Another one of Vin Diesel's stunt doubles paid the ultimate price on the set of XXX. Harry O'Connor nailed his first paragliding stunt but passed away following the second take. O'Connor clashed with a pillar on the Pilacky Bridge in Prague, dying on impact. Since O'Connor's first stunt proved successful, the film crew kept it in the film.

Author: Gabrielle Reeder

Title: Entertainment Journalist and TT Writer

Expertise: Film, Travel, Taylor Swift, Music, Lifestyle


Gabrielle Reeder is a vibrant entertainment and travel journalist with over six years of experience in the field. She serves as an Entertainment writer and a Trending Topics Writer at Wealth of Geeks. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing and Human Development from Eckerd College, allowing her to see the intersection between entertainment and humanity in her writing. She specializes in weird film, music, Taylor Swift, travel, and lifestyle topics.