Star of ‘The Punisher’ almost accidentally murdered a colleague on set
Film sets can often be dangerous places to be, as we have seen so tragically in recent years. When the props department isn’t on its toes at all times, mistakes can be made, and sometimes they can be fatal. Luckily in the case of the star of 2004’s The Punisher, the accident in question was just a harrowing near-miss.
Actor Thomas Jane played Frank Castle, aka The Punisher in the 2004 film adaption of the Marvel comic book character. Castle is an ex-FBI agent out for revenge after his final mission infiltrating a crime organization results in his entire family being murdered. It was during one of his many fight scenes, this one against The Russian (played by former pro-wrestler turned actor Kevin Nash) that the blunder took place as the stunt man on set forgot to replace the real butterfly knife with the prop knife.
In a recent episode of The Rich Eisen Show, Jane was asked about the incident on set. In response, the actor shared what exactly happened on the fateful day years ago.
“That was a bad day. I gotta tell you, when I was swinging around, and grabbing the prop knife, and he’s there, and I plunge it into his chest… and it stabs him, and it goes in. And I’m looking at the knife, I’m looking at him. Kevin, he’s just looking down at me, and there’s a knife sticking out of his chest… Yeah, that was rough.”
It’s not every day you accidentally stab a co-worker (even if some of us occasionally dream about it), and that is something that would most likely haunt you going forwards. For Jane, the incident itself was terrible but the response from the 6ft 8″ jacked up wrestler was not exactly what he was expecting.
“And you know what made it worse? He was so nice about it. You’re like, ‘Oh my god, this guy’s going to knock me across the room.’ Just out of a reflex. He just sat there, looked at the knife, looked at me, and shook his head. I sent him a couple cases of beer if I remember right.”
Luckily for everyone involved, the stab resulted only in a mild puncture wound, with Nash so committed to the scene that he continued on, laughing it off like a champ. He even opted not to go to the hospital to get it checked, instead supergluing the wound shut so that they could continue finishing the scene. In an interview with IGN back in 2004, Nash recalled the experience and how he muscled on.
“I guess one of the stunt coordinator guys didn’t change the real butterfly with the retractable. And [Thomas Jane] went “shh shh shh shh” and he just looked at me. I’m not going to go, “Jesus!” because I don’t want to kill the scene. And [Jane] goes, “I just stabbed him.” I go, “It’s not that bad.” And he goes, “No, it’s bad. You’re bleeding.” I said, “It’s not that bad,” and I looked in the mirror and there was a little blood – because they’d squared the blade off anyway. So it was just a puncture wound. It was nothing. Poor Thomas… it was like, “Geez, man… I just stabbed this guy.”
Though safety measures on set have become a lot stricter over recent years, accidents like this still slip through the cracks, which means that these guidelines need further upgrades to ensure that fake tragedies don’t become real during productions.