War Movies That Ruined Actors Lives

By Jack Ripley | October 26, 2023

Jeremy Renner Learned How To Build Bombs While Training For 'The Hurt Locker'

Are you ready for action? This captivating gallery reveals the grit, sweat, and occasional tears that have peppered the paths of actors while making some of the most memorable war movies in cinematic history. From tales of grueling boot camps that pushed actors to their physical limits, to on-set accidents that left more than just emotional scars, this collection showcases the commitment, endurance, and sheer determination that brought these intense roles to life. Each image and accompanying story highlights the reality behind the spectacle – a world far removed from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Discover the intense training that went into 'Platoon,' the unexpected typhoon that disrupted 'Apocalypse Now,' and the camaraderie that helped the cast of 'Saving Private Ryan' recreate the horrors of D-Day. So, grab some popcorn, settle in, and brace yourself for an inside look at the world of war movies that's as riveting as the films themselves.

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(Summit Entertainment)

While training to film The Hurt Locker, actor Jeremy Renner and his castmates trained with real bomb crews at California's Fort Irwin, learning how to build and dismantle bombs. Renner played the character of Staff Seargant Will James, an expert bomb technician, so it makes sense that he would need to know the ropes when it comes to explosives. However, some of the knowledge he got from the bomb crew while in training was just a little too haunting.

After about a week or so, [the bomb crew] said, 'We put one of our dog tags in a boot.' And I asked why — why d'you put a dog tag on your neck, and one in the boot? [they said] 'When someone gets hit with an IED, you always find boots...You don't find a lot of the other parts, but for whatever reason you always find a boot.' That spoke volumes to me.

Making 'Born on the Fourth of July,' Tom Cruise Was 'On Edge Every Day'

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(Universal Pictures)

Based on the autobiography of Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic, Born On The Fourth Of July required an immense commitment from all involved, particularly from its lead actor, Tom Cruise, who played Kovic. To prepare for the role, Cruise went through an extensive period of research and physical training. He spent time with Kovic himself, learning about his experiences and perspectives on the war, the injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down, and his subsequent activism against the Vietnam War. Cruise found the role of Kovic demanding, yet the lines were often blurred between actor and character:

“I’d nailed the character in Dallas, and then we’d done Vietnam, and then I had a scene where I had to be Ron in a wheelchair again. I was just like, ‘I don’t know where I am. I lost it. Am I Kovic now?’ I remember I was so physically exhausted. I said, ‘Oliver, I’m sorry, man, I just don’t have it. I’m lost.’ He said, ‘You are Kovic, just do it, don’t think about it.'”