The Lord of the Rings: 6 actors who got injured on the set

The Lord of the Rings: 6 actors who got injured on the set

Broken teeth, cracked ribs, pierced feet… A look back at the shooting of “Lord of the Rings”, and on all the injuries of the actors during the production.

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It happened during the filming of the memorable Battle of Helm’s Deep, the culmination of the Two Towers, the second part of the trilogy. Known for playing his character of Aragorn without restraint and with full involvement, Viggo Mortensen took a bad shot and ended up with a front tooth completely snapped in half. Wishing to continue filming despite everything, the actor would have suggested that we glue the missing piece back together with glue in order to be able to finish the scene. His request was obviously denied, and he was sent straight to the dentist … in Aragorn costume.

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It was while filming the conclusion of The Fellowship of the Ring, when Sam rushes into the Anduin River to prevent Frodo from leaving without him, that Sean Astin is seriously injured. As we can see by watching the excellent making of the trilogy, during the first take, the actor froze in full race, near the boat, literally paralyzed by a violent pain in his foot right, which had just been pierced by a large shard of glass. “When they removed the prosthesis, there was a huge, deep gash in my foot. It was a huge injury.”, remembers Astin who, after having bled a lot, ended up being evacuated … by Jacques Cousteau’s helicopter.

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Daredevil since his earliest childhood, the interpreter of Legolas has already fractured his skull, back, leg and nose during his life. Relatively spared during the filming of the Peter Jackson trilogy, he nevertheless became – to his great pride – the very first official injured in the production. During the battle against the Cavaliers Wargs, in The two towers, he indeed fell from his horse and the lining of Gimli who accompanied him fell on him in turn, breaking his rib. According to his playing partners, Orlando Bloom would have complained about the pain for a few days. “Elves can be fragile “, joking as well Viggo Mortensen in the making of the film. “Especially those from the Black Forest.”

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At the start of Two towers, when Aragorn thinks he has lost Merry and Pippin and he kicks Uruk-hai’s helmet hard, the scream he utters right after is nothing fictitious at all. Indeed, the director Peter Jackson having asked him to do his best to send the helm in the direction of the camera, Viggo Mortensen did several takes. But on the fifth try, the actor broke two toes while hitting the metal of the helmet. Hence his howl of pain, totally authentic, which was therefore kept as it is in the film.


Even though Merry’s interpreter can’t really boast of having endured such a serious injury as his fellow students, he suffered a lot nonetheless. In any case, this is what he claims in the making of the trilogy, evoking a “intolerable pain” when a splinter had entered his foot, while he was running during the Bac de Château-Bouc scene, at the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. But while he was expecting to remove a huge piece of wood, he finally discovered a tiny splinter, thus being carried away by the other actors, and especially by Billy Boyd, interpreter of his friend Pippin.

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Decidedly, the interpreter of Aragorn will have given of his person during the shooting of the trilogy, and particularly that of Two towers. During the scene where the heir of Gondor, unconscious, is carried away by the river, Viggo Mortensen insisted on directing the sequence himself without having to use an understudy. But not having anticipated the weight of his costume and sword, he found himself dragged down by the current, disappearing underwater for a while. Always pushed by the river, he fortunately ended up getting out of this bad patch.

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Nothing comparable to previous injuries, of course. But this mini shock to the head of Ian McKellen has nevertheless passed down to posterity, since it was preserved in the final version of the film. At the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, arriving in Bilbo’s house, Gandalf indeed bumps his head on a beam, which was not at all foreseen in the script. According to his own words, his interpreter would have improvised this small gesture without warning Peter Jackson, who was therefore won over by this initiative.

(Re) discover the trailer for “The Fellowship of the Ring” …

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