Robin Williams opened up about how he broke Robert De Niro’s nose on the set of ‘Awakenings’ during a meeting with Australian TV presenter Ray Martin. As Williams recalled, De Niro’s character had a fit and Robins, playing the doctor, stepped in to restrain him. “And my elbow went ‘BAM!’ and it sounded like a chicken bone breaking,” Williams said.
I grew up watching pro wrestling (WWE to be precise), and the one thing that grounded my gear was hearing teachers, adults, and other haters constantly point out that pro wrestling was fake. Even today, I despise the f-word; I prefer the terms scripted and choreography – much like action movies and TV shows. Actors, like professional wrestlers, put their bodies on the line to entertain us. And unfortunately, on-set mistakes do happen, which sometimes leads to injury or worse. We received a grim reminder of this in 2021 with the fatal shooting incident “Rust” involving Alec Baldwin.
Luckily, most accidents that happen on set don’t result in tragedy, but they do occasionally result in serious injuries that require hospitalization. During the era of the “Rust” tragedy, the production of “Black Panther 2” was halted after Letitia Wright was injured while filming an action scene for the movie. Williams inadvertently clocking De Niro in the muzzle shows how actors risk injury in even the most innocuous minimal contact scenes.