Injury on the job is a major concern in the United States. There are studies for every major industrial sector in the country that show this. Extensive government regulations exist to protect workers from unsafe conditions and practices. Here in California news about accidents on a farm, around power lines, inside construction sites, are regular occurrences. No job is immune from a workplace accident. Even actors and actresses in our favorite TV shows can take a nasty spill on camera.
Doing your own stunt jump into a workplace accident
Actress Priyanka Chopra, known for her role in the show ‘Quantico’, suffered a concussion on the New York set on Jan. 12. She was immediately rushed to a hospital for treatment, and released the same evening. The actress proudly does her own stunts, and while all choreographers do their best to limit the risks, accidents still happen.
Safety harnesses to prevent dangerous falls can fail. Air bags intended to safely catch an actress after a long fall could be under inflated. Filming a fight scene can lead to fake punches and kicks becoming very real. More than one actor has chipped a tooth or broken bones during a climatic battle scene. Priyanka’s own dedication to her craft puts her in dangerous situations, in and out of character.
Putting real blood, sweat, and tears into a role
Priyanka’s mishap on the set is part of the risk actresses and actors like her take to make their work more striking and real to audiences. And all throughout film-making history, actors all over the world have put their bodies and lives on the line for their roles. Actors like Sean Bean and Daniel Craig have taken their fair share of licks in a well staged fight, and keep on filming.
Sometimes, a workplace accident on set makes its way into the final cut. From movies like Wizard of Oz, to contemporary films like Inglourious Basterds, the goal of authenticity has led to injury.
Tragically, even with care and preparation, deaths on set are also possible. Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, died filming ‘The Crow’ from an accidental gunshot wound. Roy Kinnear fell from a horse filming ‘The Return of the Three Musketeers’, dying from complications from his broken pelvis. And actors aren’t the only potential victims of injury and death on set. Stunt doubles, cameramen, even set technicians have all lost their lives during a production.
Carelessness on stage
Some of these injuries and deaths are truly accidental. However, recklessness has been a major contributor of a workplace accident on set. Inadequate safety measures, or actors who push the risks too far are both major factors. For newer actors breaking into the scene for their first roles, the urge to put their bodies on the line for their production can be almost impossible to resist.
But this risk-taking is not limited whatsoever to the young. Reknown older actors trained in classic swordplay have regularly taken injuries. Tom Cruise literally clung to the side of a plane as it took off for the most recent Mission Impossible. When your role models put everything into their work, a younger actor could feel compelled to do the same- with considerably less experience.
Preventing tragedy on set is always a major focus of large studios with big budgets. Smaller productions that lack the same amount of money may try to cut corners to get their dramatic shots. Some actors might even indulge these risks. And as long as filmwork continues to drive closer to the edge of reality, the risks will be ever present.