I was reading about what happened with Landis and Morrow on the set of TZ:TM and wondered, what other films are there where shit went down on set that wasn’t supposed to happen? Whether it be of a violent, sexual, drug-related, or just plain nasty nature, I want some examples out of sheer morbid curiosity. I can think of two right away:
The butter scene in Last Tango – Maria Schneider had no idea what was going to happen until she arrived on set
Chinatown, where Faye Dunaway and Polanski clashed so much that she threw urine in his face
I hadn’t heard of any of those incidents that you mentioned (but the Twilight Zone one is really awful)!
Cinematographer Armando Nannuzzi lost an eye on the set of Maximum Overdrive as a result of a lawn mower accident.
The Conqueror – radioactive set caused cancer to 90 people including John Wayne. Doesn’t get worse than that
I suppose the obvious one is The Crow where Brandon Lee died.
Vin Diesels stunt double also dies on the set of xXx
Apocalypse Now – heart attacks, weather, fat Brando
Mutiny on the Bounty – Carol Reed gets sacked by Brando
Brad Pitt as Achilles tore his achilles tendon during the filming of Troy…nasty
A stunt extra died while filming the chariot race sequence on the Ben-Hur set.
I agree with Byron – the story of The Conquerer is the most tragic of all. John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Agnes Moorehead … the list goes on.
over a hundred horses reportedly died on the 1925 set of Ben Hur!
I assume you’re looking for contemporary examples because during the Golden Age of Hollywood it wasn’t an epic unless at least one extra died.
Apparently Andrei Tarkovsky and several crew members developed cancer after spending time near a chemical plant while shooting Stalker:
Several people involved in the film production — including Tarkovsky — had met deaths, which some crew members attribute to the film’s long, arduous shooting schedule in toxic locations. Sound designer Vladimir Sharun recalls:
That is the biggest one I had heard nothing about. Basically what happened to Wayne on the set of The Conqueror, except it was one of Russia’s greatest directors and not one of America’s greatest actors who died from the poisonous location. It’s funny, the film was sort of a precursor to Chernobyl, but I’d never heard until now about the set itself having toxic chemicals.
Vivien Leigh fell and suffered a miscarriage on the set of Caeser and Cleopatra. Also, Miss Leigh suffered a breakdown during the filming of Elephant Walk and had to be replaced by Liz Taylor.
Plan 9 from Outer Space: Bela Lugosi dies to be replaced by Wood’s wife’s chiropractor, Tom Mason.
Fitzcarraldo and Aguirre had serious production issues
Terry Gilliam’s attempt at Don Quixote has been marred by deaths and terrible weather.
By the way, I definitely plan to turn this thread into a list.
I almost think you could do a sub-list with Marlon Brando. You could add the Missouri Breaks, Dr. Moreau and the Score to his list of on-set disasters.
“Marlon Brando Films Where Things Went Horribly Wrong on Set”
On the set of Polanski’s Tess I recall in an extra – an interview with Nastassja Kinski, who gets quite emotional from the memory – of one of the main crew, can’t remember who, who had a heart attack right on set and died, if I recall correctly. Was it the cinematographer?
Two 80s examples-
Top Gun- One stunt man died filming the ejector seat scene.
Hamburger Hill- As many as 5 stunt persons died.
Neither one of those films was worth the death of a single flu virus, let alone a human being.
The story about the stunt actor who died on BEN-HUR isn’t true.
There was a mishap that made it into the final film, though. During the chariot race, the stunt driver for Ben Hur’s chariot was thrown over the front of the chariot in one shot. It looked so impressive that they decided to keep it in the finished sequence, and reshot a bit to cover it.
Damn, this Twilight Zone video is horrible.