10 Actors Who Almost Died Because Of Intense Method Acting

6. Hilary Swank Gets A Staph Infection Whilst Training For Her Role - Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby
Warner Bros.

You can't really star in the leading role in a movie like Million Dollar Baby unless you get into the role properly, which meant that for Hilary Swank, going method was the only way for her to truly get to grips with her character.

So "acting like a boxer" becomes "actually being a boxer" in this case, which - as you probably guessed - lead poor Miss Swank on the path towards death. As a result of having to "pivot" excessively whilst training for the movie's now famous boxing scenes, Swank picked up - just like Tom Hanks did on the set of Cast Away, would you believe? - a Staph infection, which - left untreated - is usually fatal.

"I got a blister, the size of my palm, on my right foot, and it was really swollen, and I couldn't train and walk on it," she said in an interview afterwards. "So I popped it myself, and it got infected." What's more, Swank didn't bother to tell director Clint Eastwood about her injury as she didn't want to slow down production - he found out a long time afterwards, whilst watching Swank on a TV interview.


Sam Hill is an ardent cinephile and has been writing about film professionally since 2008. He harbours a particular fondness for western and sci-fi movies.