Most moviegoers believe making the flicks is a relatively safe endeavor. That’s thanks, in part, to all the liability forms, the stunt doubles, and the police presence at many shoots. Well, next time you run into Helen Hunt, it’s probably best not to repeat any of that to her.
Disaster Movies Beget Dangerous Movie Sets
Thanks to rapid progress in computer-generated imagery (CGI) in the 1990s, the decade saw a resurgence of disaster films that were most convincing in higher quality. James Cameron’s Titanic, the biggest disaster movie of all time, led the pack. The slew of other titles in the genre included Independence Day, Dante’s Peak, Armageddon, Deep Impact, and loads more.
Not to be forgotten, though, was Twister, a nonstop action vehicle following storm chasers played by Hunt, Paxton, Cary Elwes, Jami Gertz — and Philip Seymour Hoffman, if you can believe it. The thrill ride had another ace up its sleeve: The director of the movie was Jan de Bont, whose debut film — Speed — was one of the most popular movies of 1994.
De Bont and his team were acquainted with dangerous sets. During the shooting of Speed, it wasn’t a stunt double but Keanu Reeves himself, who — contrary to the wishes of the director — jumped from the Jaguar onto the bus, Entertainment Weekly reported.
Twister Causes Damage
But it was a seemingly innocuous situation on the set of Twister that actually did lead one of the actors — Helen Hunt — to a close call with getting injured.
As EW noted, “Halfway through filming, both Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt were temporarily blinded by bright electronic lamps used to make the sky behind the two actors look dark and stormy. Paxton rememberd that ‘these things literally sunburned our eyeballs. I got back to my room, I couldn’t see.’”
The report continued: “To solve the problem, a Plexiglas filter was placed in front of the beams. The actors took eye drops and wore special glasses for a few days to recuperate.”
Twist and Shout
The report further noted that Paxton and Hunt faced other serious challenges making the movie. Hunt and Paxton had to get hepatitis shots. Hunt repeatedly hit her head on a beam. Finally, she also smacked into a door.
After those incidents, De Bont reportedly called Hunt “clumsy,” while she replied, “The guy burned my retinas, but I’m clumsy … I thought I was a good sport.”
Nonetheless, the issues on set aren’t stopping Helen Hunt from joining the long-awaited Twister sequel. Sadly, it’s presumed deceased Twister actors Bill Paxton and Philip Seymour Hoffman will not be in the sequel.