The recent drama on the set of the western “Rust” is not an isolated case in the world of cinema.
A few days ago, on October 21, 2021, actor Alec Baldwin accidentally but fatally injured the director of photography of the film Rust during the shooting when the weapon he was using was supposedly blank. A few days after the tragedy, a technician who closed the set whose filming was then definitively stopped was bitten by a brown recluse, a poisonous spider that can be seen in the south of France.
Since then, as we type these lines, Jason Miller has been hospitalized and the doctors are doing everything to prevent the amputation of his arm, which presented with necrosis.
If all the films presented below did not have tragic endings, some were marked by terrible difficulties that arose during their shooting.
The Crow (1994)
The shooting of this fantastic film was mourned by the death of the main actor, Brandon Lee, son of the legendary Bruce Lee. Again, it was a normally blank weapon that caused his death, as a piece of bullet had become stuck in the barrel of the pistol. The actor was 28 years old.
But that’s not all: still during the filming, a carpenter ended up badly burned, another worker was injured and a last, dissatisfied, rushed with his car on a place of storage of material. Finally, a storm devastated the exterior decorations.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
To say that the filming of Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece, Palme d’Or in Cannes in 1979 (tied with Le Tambour) was long and trying is an understatement.
What to start with ? The duration of the shooting, to give an idea of the extent of the ordeal: initially planned for a few weeks, 15 months were necessary. A period to which it will be necessary to add 3 years for the only assembly.
Martin Sheen, one of the main actors, suffered a heart attack which Coppola hid from the production for fear that the shoot would be abandoned. Marlon Brando, in which it was the last major role, weighed with all his megalomania on the set: arrived on the scene several weeks late, overweight of several tens of kilos, he had not read the novel whose was shot the film (In the heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad) and dissatisfied with the lines written for him, he began to improvise. However, his performance has remained in the movie legend.
“My film is not a film. My film does not deal with Vietnam. It IS Vietnam. Exactly the way he was. It was crazy. And the way we shot it was very close to how the Americans fought the war in Vietnam. We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much material, and little by little we went mad ”, will say the director in Cannes in 79. Ah yes, to finish: here too, a tornado had swept a part of the external decorations of the film.
The Exorcist (1973)
This film directed by William Friedkin is rightly considered one of the most successful horror films, a classic among classics. But on and off the set, incidents or tragedies have followed one another.
Let us quote the wound of the actress Ellen Burstyn, who plays the character of the possessed girl: a fall during the filming of the mutilation with the crucifix leaves her seriously injured in the back. Jack MacGowran, who played Burke Dennings, dies of complications following a viral flu outbreak shortly after filming his last scene.
Jason Miller’s son, the latter playing Father Damien Karras, was hit by a motorcycle on a beach during filming, keeping his father away during his recovery.
A mysterious fire in the studio was also the cause of a 6 week delay in filming.
The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (2018)
The filming of Terry Gilliam’s film began in 2000 with Jean Rochefort in the title role and in the region of Madrid. First, it is the incessant passage of military planes that prevent direct sound recording. The next day, heavy rains devastated part of the equipment. As if that were not enough, before the end of the first week of filming, Jean Rochefort suffers from a violent back pain, and he is diagnosed with a double herniated disc which puts him permanently out of the game, just like the filming. From this fiasco will be born the documentary Lost in La Mancha (2002).
In 2008, Terry Gilliam took over the rights and the screenplay was rewritten, this time starring Robert Duvall and Ewan McGregor. Only, it is the loss of funding that will be right about this second version.
New step in 2011, when Gilliam announced a shoot the following year with Robert Duvall again but with a McGregor replaced by Owen Wilson. But once again, it’s the money that will put an end to the project.
Two other projects were subsequently aborted: John Hurt and Jack O’Connell (2014-2016), Michael Palin and Adam Driver (2016) until the one bringing together Jonathan Pryce and Adam Driver was born, allowing the end of the filmed in June 2017 for a release on screens in 2018.
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Cinema: these films whose shooting turned into a nightmare