10 Times Actors Have Been Seriously Injured on Set

I get easily obsessed. Though I have not posted in a long time, I have not given up on my crazy, media mania, quirks. A recent example of this is that I have watched the same film every day this week. Yes, I am that level of media crazed. While viewing films over and over again, something that often crosses my mind is “they have to sometimes get hurt doing this crazy shit.” On a whim I looked up instances of actors getting hurt during filming. I have compiled a few times the show really did have to go on.

1. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Fire caused several serious injuries on the set of the classic film “The Wizard of Oz.” The actress who played the Wicked Witch of the West, Margaret Hamilton, and her stunt double were both seriously burned on set. In a scene where the Wicked Witch of the West was skywriting with her pyrotechnic broom, Margaret Hamilton’s stunt double badly burned her legs, landing her in the hospital for several weeks. Hamilton herself had over a months stay in the hospital after being burned on the hands and face after flames were triggered to soon. Continue reading 10 Times Actors Have Been Seriously Injured on Set

Awesome J.R.R Tolkien Facts Even the Craziest Fans Won’t Know

s1600_Tolkien     The Lord of the Rings was one of the first books I read cover to cover when I was a kid. It sparked my imagination as well as a love for reading that has ruined many nights of sleep (and not just because I would read all night. I also was terrified that Gollum would come strangle me while I slept).
I have always been blown away with the amount of detail, thought and care that went into The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit as well as the Simarillion. J.R.R Tolkien didn’t just create a whole different world, he gave them identities, cultures, grudges, histories, poems, music, and even an entirely made up (but functional) language. Side note– I have actually met some rabid, albeit harmless, nerds that know how to read, write and speak Elvish.
A mind like this is actually somewhat frightening to me. Such brilliant originality and detail shows a true genius of more than just literature. So I decided to try and find things about this giant of a man, that even the most obsessed fan probably doesn’t know.
1. Tolkien Had A Dramatic Flair
As a linguist and expert on Old English and Old Norse literature, Tolkien  was a professor at Oxford University from 1925-1959. Although quiet and unassuming in public, Tolkien wasn’t the stereotypical uptight British professor. Tolkien would go to parties dressed as a polar bear, chased a neighbor dressed as an ax wielding Anglo-Saxon warrior and was known to hand shopkeepers his false teeth as payment. As one of his students put it, “He could turn a lecture room into a mead hall.”
2. He Felt Many of His Fans Were “Lunatics”
Tolkien saw himself as a scholar first and a writer second. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings were largely Tolkien’s attempt to construct a body of myth, and their success caught him largely off guard. In fact, he spent years rejecting, criticizing and shredding adaptations of his work that he didn’t believe captured its epic scope and noble purpose. He was also utterly skeptical of most LOTR fans, who he thought incapable of really appreciating the work, and he probably would have been horrified by the movie fandom dressing up like Legolas.
3. He Was Quite The Romantic (and he’s got a geeky gravestone to prove it)

s1600_JRR-Tolkien-Grave At 16 years of age, Tolkien fell in love with Edith Bratt. His guardian, a Catholic priest, was horrified that his ward was seeing a Protestant and ordered the boy to have no contact with Edith until he turned 21. Tolkien obeyed, pining after Edith for years until that fateful birthday, when he met with her under a railroad viaduct. She broke off her engagement to another man, converted to Catholicism, and the two were married for the rest of their lives. At Tolkien’s instructions, their shared gravestone has the names “Beren” and “Luthien” engraved on it, a reference to a famous pair of star-crossed lovers from the fictional world he created.4. He Liked Clubbing     -Not the kind of clubbing you are thinking of. I mean the extra curricular, after-school sort. Wherever Tolkien went, he was intimately involved in the formation of literary and scholarly clubs. As a professor at Leeds University, for example, he formed the Viking Club. And during his stint at Oxford, he formed the Inklings- a literary discussion group. I find this so delightfully nerdy!
s1600_Tolkien-Soldier5. When It Came to War He Knew What He Was Talking About
Tolkien was a veteran of the First World War. He was present for some of the most bloody trench fighting of the war, including the famously horrific Battle of Somme. The deprivations of Frodo and Sam on their road to Mordor had their origins in Tolkien’s time in the trenches, during which he contracted a chronic fever from the lice that infested him. He later said that all but one of his closest friends died in the war. Giving him an all to keen awareness of its tragedy that shines through in his writing.

6. He Invented Languages For Funs1600_Tolkien-Elvish_watermarked
A philologist by trade, Tolkien invented languages just for shits and giggles. That is what you do for fun right? He invented languages such as Elvish, Quenya and Sindarin. He even wrote songs and poems in his fictional languages. In addition, Tolkien worked to reconstruct and write in extinct languages like Medieval Welsh and Lombardic.

7. He Wasn’t Nearly as Fond of Nazis as They Were of Him
Tolkien’s academic writings on Germanic history, language and culture were extremely popular among the Nazi elite, who were obsessed with recreating ancient Germanic civilization. But Tolkien was disgusted by Hitler and the Nazi party, and made no secret of that fact. He considered forbidding a German translation of The Hobbit after the German publisher, in accordance with Nazi law, asked him to certify that he was an “Aryan.” Instead, he wrote a scathing letter asserting, among other things, his regret that he had no Jewish ancestors. He wrote “I have, in this War, a burning private grudge — which would probably make me a better soldier at 49 than I was at 22: against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler … Ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making for ever accursed, that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in its true light.” —-Now THAT is an OH SNAP moment if I have ever heard one!!

Stop Saying ‘Break A Leg’- Terrible Injuries While Filming

A large number of movies have shocking acrobatics, explosions and detailed fight sequences. Though often times these sequences are shot using professional stunt artists or artificially created using CGI, there are actors who pride themselves in doing their own stunts, but in doing so they risk serious injury which can happen from time to time if even the smallest thing goes wrong.

Russell Crowe- Cinderella Man

     – It is almost poetic that Crowe actually got hurt during the filming of his gritty great depression time piece. Before filming, Crowe went through intense training in the same manner as the old time boxers. Crowe dislocated his shoulder and had to have surgery to fix the damage, pushing back the movie two months.

Sienna Miller- G.I Joe

     -Sienna suffered two separate injuries during the filming on the set of “G.I. Joe.” The first one involved her slipping on a rubber bullet and severely spraining her hand while she was attempting to safely break her fall resulting in it being greatly swollen, painful and limiting during filming. Her second injury involved the girls (her cleavage area) catching on fire while she was wearing her cat suit during an explosion gone awry. For those gents out there reading this, that would be like your spedo catching fire, it is equally as important and traumatizing.

George Clooney- Syriana
     – Clooney suffered from a fractured spine during the making of this movie. Because of the severity of the injury he had to remain completely immobile for over a month. On top of this, Clooney had a persistent migraine while bed ridden and even admits to thoughts of suicide because of the intensity of it.

Leonardo DiCaprio- Django Unchained

     -There is a scene towards the end of the movie where DiCaprio slams his hand hard on the table. This was just meant to be an emphatic gesture, but it went somewhat south when his hand met with broken glass on the table. His hand immediately starts to gush blood as it was a fairly substantial injury. Though this was obviously not supposed to happen, because DiCaprio stayed in character during the process, this injury is left in the movie, giving the already serious scene a little more of a morbid quality.

Brad Pitt- Se7en– Troy
     -This aging heart throb has more than one serious filming injury that he can blame on his movie career. While filming “Se7en” with co-star Morgan Freeman, Pitt broke his arm. Normally an injury like this would halt shooting for at least a month. Since the producers did not want to halt production, they decided to write the broken arm into the script.

     – Troy: The injury that Pitt sustained in Troy is possibly the most ironic movie injury I have ever heard of. While Pitt was shooting the climax fight sequence between Achilles (Pitt) and Hector (Eric Bana), Pitt performed a difficult jumping strike against Bana and landed awkwardly, tearing his Achilles Tendon….! (For those of you unfamiliar with Greek mythology it is said that Achilles was invincible except for his heel which is where he eventually gets shot and bleeds out. The Achilles tendon is named after him.) What I take away from this is yes, the Greek gods are real, and they mock us. For those of you familiar with sports, you know that this is no light injury.

Jennifer Aniston has a voodoo doll like this

Pitt was sidelined for months because he was limited to hobbling around which greatly inhibited his ability to run around trolling the people of Troy. When Pitt did come back they celebrated his return by shooting the scene where Legolas lances an arrow through Achilles’ eponymous heel, the precise location of Pitt’s injury. Irony People!

Nicole Kidman- Moulin Rouge
     – During the filming of this movie Kidman ended up with her knee in a cast and two broken ribs. After this, all of a sudden a lot of her scenes she is sitting down.

Halle Berry- Gothika
     -Berry and Robert Downey Jr’s scene in the mental ward became all too real when he is twisting her arm, trying to get her into a cot. While filming, they heard a popping noise that sent Berry straight to the hospital where they found out she had a broken arm.

Viggo Mortensen- The Lord of the Rings

     – On this project there were a huge number of injuries that plagued all those involved. That can happen when you give a whole group of boys real swords and tell them to pretend fight. In the second film “The Two Towers” during the Orc pyre scene, Viggo’s character kicks a helmet out of frustration, but to everyone’s surprise he also let out a scream and fell to his knees. Jackson, the director, thought this was inspired acting, he found out later that Viggo had broken two of his toes when he kicked the helmet. Later in this same movie, Viggo’s character floats down a river. Though the stunt team tested it first to make sure it was safe, they did not account for the weight of Mortensen’s costume, armor and sword. When he tried it he was quickly weighed down and sucked under the current. He was unconscious and half drowned when the film crew recovered him. He also had is front tooth cut in half during a battle sequence, Legolas broke a rib, Sam had his foot punctured all the way through with a piece of glass… fun for everyone!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt- Premium Rush

     – He flew through the back window of a Taxi on set after crashing his bike. He had to get 13 stitches to fix the large laceration.

The Clippers protesting their owner before game 4 (2 days before Silvers judgement) 
Adam Silver

-On a more serious note the NBA has taken over the news and social media platforms the past few days, not because of this years phenomenal playoffs, but for a tragic reason. The owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, was recorded in a conversation with his girlfriend in which he reveals himself as having hateful racist views. The league was talking about nothing but this case the last few days, today the new NBA commissioner Adam Silver took swift action against Sterling. Silver fined Sterling 2.5 million dollars, suspended him for life (meaning he can’t set foot in a basketball arena or have anything else to do with the NBA) and finally Silver expressed his confidence in obtaining the votes necessary to force Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers. After a very rough few days, it is heartening to see such a tough stance taken. Bravo Adam Silver!

More Than Just a Pretty Face: Think All Celebrities Are Stupid? Think Again

It is the prevailing opinion amongst most people that the majority of actors are pretty but dumb. It is the multi-billion dollar tabloid industry in fact that helps promote these ideas and circulate them throughout the populace. Though there is no doubt that a great deal of actors and actresses these days are beautiful but lacking in the common sense and the whits department, I want to put the kabosh on the fact that they all are. Here is a list of some actors that are fluent in multiple languages. As one who speaks one and a half languages, I can attest that keeping up more than one in my head at a time is no mean feat.  

Bilingual Celebrities–
Sandra Bullock– (German)

     The always lovely and charming Sandra Bullock is more than just America’s funny lady. She has become more known of late for her authentic screen presence which can be seen in movies like “The Blind Side” for which she won an Academy Award. Her mother, Helga Meyer, was a German opera singer who met Bullock’s father John while he was stationed in Nuremberg. As a child, Sandra spent several years living in Germany and Austria. When she won a German film award in 2000 she gave the entire acceptance speech in flawless German as well as delivering press conferences in German while she is there.

Charlize Theron– (Afrikaans)   

 A native of Benoni, South Africa, Charlize Theron speaks fluent Afrikaans, her first language. Because of her flawless English, the average viewer is shocked that she did not learn English until later in life. Theron was the very first South African to win an Academy Award for her work in the 2004 film “Monster.”  

Natalie Portman — (Hebrew, Japanese, German, Spanish)

     Born Natalie Hershlag, actress Natalie Portman is fluent in 4 languages other than English. The Jerusalem native speaks Hebrew, Japanese, German, Spanish and a little French. She has also begun to study Arabic. Oh, and did I mention she graduated from Harvard and won an Academy Award in 2010 for “Black Swan?”
Mila Kunis– (Russian)

     In 1983 Kunis was born in Ukraine and lived there until she was 7 years old (when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union). Born Melina Markovna Kunis, she grew up under Soviet influence and was raised surreptitiously in the Jewish faith (this was not permitted at the time by those in power) by her parents. Her family left Ukraine when the Soviet Union broke up in 1991. She remains fluent in Russian as her parents never learned much English.
Jodie Foster– (French)

     Foster attended prep school at Lycee Francias de Los Angeles growing up (at this school they teach every single lesson in French through all the years). Here she was her class valedictorian, (which says a lot at these snooty prep schools) and spoke French fluently. She took a break from her childhood acting to attend Yale University. Foster has won 2 Academy Awards and she performs the French Dubbing for all of her movies herself.

Viggo Mortensen– (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian and French)

     Viggo Mortensen was born in New York City to his Danish father and American mother. He speaks Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian and French. It is crazy to think that he could be fluent in all these languages, but it is said that he sounds like a native speaker with each and every one of them. He was the translator for the 1980 Swedish Olympic Hockey team and attended the “miracle” game between the United States and the USSR.

Leonardo DiCaprio– (German)

     Los Angeles native Leonardo Wilhelm DiCaprio speaks German fluently, thanks to his mother Iremlin, who was a German native. She survived a bombing raid during World War II, and married George DiCaprio, a comic book artist.

Jon Heder– (Japanese)

     An Oregon native, Jon Heder made his film debut in 2004’s cult favorite “Napoleon Dynamite.” Heder lived and worked in Japan for 2 years and is said to speak the language expertly. He is married, has kids and does a great deal of movie translation work for Japanese subtitles.