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Christian Bale And 12 Other Actors Hurt By Comic Book Costumes

When I was a kid I made Wolverine claws using paper towel tubes, rubber bands and metal coat hangers. They actually popped out and were kinda cool. They were also kinda dangerous. I cut myself pretty good with those.

But I was just a dumb kid. Surely professional actors with teams of costume designers, make up people and stunt coordinators don't get hurt do they?

Yes, they do and sometimes in shocking ways. Here are 13 examples of actors being pinched, punched, busted and broken by their costumes.

1. Batman Almost Passed Out

Christian Bale has played Batman on the three Christopher Nolan film. On the set of Batman Begins he almost fainted. The Batman costume has a full headpiece called a cowl. He said, "When it gets cold the cowl is extremely tight. But after a couple of takes I was trying to breathe properly in my nose. I was starting to see stars and I said 'I have to take this off'." He had to make his way off the set before removing it, because he wasn't allowed to take his costume off on set.

2. Mystique Had Blue Vomit From Her Makeup

Rebecca Romjin (formerly Stamos) was covered in blue make-up for her role as the shape-shifter Mystique in X-Men (2000). She brought in a bottle of tequila to share with the cast and crew during a break in filming. The make-up had been absorbed in her skin and she threw up blue-colored vomit all over Hugh Jackman. Good thing movie sets don't require a breath test.

3. Hawkeye Tore His Shoulder On His Bow

Jeremy Renner played Clint "Hawkeye" Barton for the film The Avengers. Joss Whedon said in an interview that they had to shut down filming after he separated his shoulder. "He's an amazing fighter -- his fight work is wonderful: precise, heroic, and you seldom have to double him," says director Joss Whedon. "But one day he just turned wrong and his whole body shut down. He could not do anything. He was in enormous pain, and we had to shut that sequence down and shoot it a couple of weeks later." Renner had tore the muscle from his back to his shoulder. The reason? Renner said, "The bowstring got stuck in my belt." The world's greatest archer indeed.

4. Black Widow's Catsuit Made Her Hallucinate

For The Avengers (2012) and Iron Man 2 (2011) Actress Scarlett Johansson played the Russian super-spy Natasha "Black Widow" Romanoff in a black leather skin-tight costume. While was filming in the Albuquerque, New Mexico desert her costume got to about "800 degrees." During a fight scene on a make-shift roof she started to hallucinate from heatstroke. It makes the image of a sweaty Johansson wriggling out of her costume slightly sadder.

5. Venom's Teeth Hurt Really, Really Badly

In the film Spider-Man 3, Topher Grace played the villain Eddie "Venom" Brock who had rows of fangs instead of teeth. Unfortunately, the dental appliances were tight on his teeth and bruised his gums. "The fangs were the thing that for some reason were actually kind of bruising my gums." Topher said, "It's good though. I guess it's a sort of method way of being me."

6. Catwoman Whipped Her Face

For the film Batman Returns, Michelle Pfeiffer played Catwoman and trained for a month with a ten foot bullwhip. In an interview with Starlog she said that during the training she accidentally cut her face with the whip. Terrified the studio would stop her from doing her own stunts she used make-up to cover the cuts.

Michelle said, "Whips have a beauty, an elegance and a sexuality to them. There is almost a graceful, dance-like quality to them, which at any moment could turn violent. I got a little wild the first day with my whipmaster- I slashed his face and drew blood. I even hurt myself a few times. But he was an amazing teacher; there is an actual beauty to the way he taught me." She had cat-scratch fever.

7. The Joker's Teeth Almost Wrecked His Mouth

For the film Batman (1989) Jack Nicholson played the Joker. While developing the Joker makeup the makeup designer Nick Dudman almost used a dental plate that would have drawn back Nicholson's lips. "I tried a dental plate I'd had made, but he couldn't talk!" said Dudman. In consulting a dental technician, he also discovered that using the plate a few hours a day for three months might displace Nicholson's teeth. "You don't mess around with someone of Jack's stature," said Dudman. "His face is his fortune. Nor did we want to get sued!" They settled on using practical latex effects.

8. Robin's Tights Were Too Tight

In the 1966 television show Batman, Burt Ward played the Batman sidekick Dick "Robin" Grayson. The costume constantly itched and the tights squeezed his genitals. In an interview with Slice of Sci-Fi he said, "The tights...itched me to death, squeezed in all the wrong places and pulled all the hair on my legs."

He also had trouble with the cape which gave him a sore neck. "It was the cape, which was double thick bridal satin." Ward said, "It must have weighed five pounds. Let me tell you, having that on and having it pull my head back, I would get a neck ache in about five minutes. And there was a vest made out of wool. The sharp edges of the wool would poke through my green T-shirt and would constantly rub against my skin and cause my skin to itch. Surviving in that costume was everything."

9.  Loki Cracked His Elbow

Tom Hiddleston played the villain Loki in The Avengers and trashed his elbow in a fight scene. "There was a moment when Loki has a throwdown with the Hulk and essentially, I had to jump backwards and land on my back. I had a back pad and everything, and then I just landed on my elbow," he said.

"There was a real crunching sound on my funny bone, and I thought, 'I've been in a fight with Chris Evans and he hit me and I didn't get injured. Chris Hemsworth has hit me in the face and I hadn't got injured there, but I've injured myself.' What an idiot basically!"

He never says if his costume was involved, but with that armor, huge headpiece and the cape, you know it had to be a factor.

10. Punisher Bruised Himself Crashing His Motorcycle

Dolph Lundgren played The Punisher, Frank Castle, in the 1989 film. He did many of his own stunts to stay in character. While the Punisher doesn't have a "costume" per say, his motorcycle is iconic in the film. He crashed it.

In an interview he said "I did about 95 percent of my own stunts. I took some spills on the Harley when it goes crashing off the catwalk and I received some bruises in the scene where I drive the bus through the blockade." Guess the Harley said, "I must break you..."

11. Spider-Man's Sinuses Filled With Water

Tobey Maguire played Spider-man in all three movies for Sam Raimi and almost drowned in the rain thanks to his mask. In the first film Tobey hung upside down to kiss Mary Jane down in the now famous kissing scene in the alley. "There was rain pouring up or down my nose. I couldn't breathe and I was gasping for breath out of the corner of Kirsten's mouth,'' Maguire said. It looked romantic, but, instead of kissing her, he was "giving her mouth to mouth.''

112 Iron Man Punched Black Widow in the Face
In the movie The Avengers Robert Downey Jr. reprised his role of Tony Stark, Iron Man.  He accidentally hit Scarlett Johansson in his armor. During filming his armor almost took out one of his teammates.

"Robert triggered a switch that controls one of his arms - and it suddenly jerked backward and whacked poor Scarlett. Knocked silly, she staggered backward, then lost her balance and fell off the low platform they were standing on!" Downey was upset, but couldn't move in the suit. He just kept apologizing and saying, "Oh my God, I’m so sorry!" Scarlett was unharmed and just laughed about it. Thankfully, she didn't grab his neck in one of those scissor kicks.

13. Sabretooth Went Blind

Tyler Mane, a former wrestler, played Sabretooth in the first X-Men film. He had a deep commitment to the look of the character.

“The prep work meant getting ready for the prosthetics and having the costume designed, In the movie I have got prosthetics on my forehead, which comes right down to my eyes." Mane said, "Then I have prosthetics on my hands, and also had to wear wigs. It took me four hours to get into that costume, but it was worth it because the people who are in the know about the X-Men, especially those who know about Sabretooth, said that the costume was very accurate."

Of all the actors who used contact lenses, he was the only one that wore them all day. Romjin only wore them an hour at a time and Halle refused to wear them at all. Unfortunately, this commitment came with a price. When he wore the large black lenses that completely covered his eyes too long he went blind for the rest of the day.

Is it surprising that actors get hurt with comic book costumes? Do you know of any we can add to the list?

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  1. Alex J. CavanaughJune 25, 2012 at 6:34 AM

    Robin's tights were too tight? Won't even comment on that one.
    I've heard a lot of actors struggle with heat in those costumes.

  2. Yeah Alex, best not to comment on that one. LOL

  3. Tony Laplume, Sith ArchitectJune 25, 2012 at 10:40 PM

    I'm sorry, Mane, but the look of Sabretooth in that movie was one of its weak spots. It was basically the complete opposite of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Naturally this was corrected with Liev Schreiber later on. (One of the best parts of that movie!)

  4. Tony, Sabretooth was pretty weak as a character in X-Men, but he did look an awful lot like the comic. And Liev did do a great job.

  5. You gotta admire their dedication considering how often they get hurt doing stunt work! This is interesting to know! Thanks for posting it. :D

  6. That's real dedication Liesel. Glad you enjoyed it!

  7. Tyler Mane really went all-out. It's easy to forget the commitment these characters take on despite the fact that comicbook movies are never taken seriously.

  8. Colin, it is amazing. Those things must have hurt!

  9. "It makes the image of a sweaty Johansson wriggling out of her costume slightly sadder."
    No it doesn't.

    "Scarlett was unharmed and just laughed about it. Thankfully, she didn't grab his neck in one of those scissor kicks."


Thanks for commenting!.