J.J. Abrams Broke his Back Helping Injured Harrison Ford on Star Wars Set
73-year-old Harrison Ford had to take an extended break from filming Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens last summer 2014, after his leg was crushed in a mishap involving his character Han Solo’s spacecraft, the Millennium Falcon.
J.J. Abrams admits he was stunned at how well Ford handled the sticky situation, which was compounded after the filmmaker hurt himself as he attempted to rescue the movie icon. During an appearance on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart on Thursday, July 20, 2015, Abrams said, “I gotta say, the guy is like a real-life superhero. We actually were filming a scene and there was an accident on set, there was a hydraulic door that went down. He was pushed down and his ankle goes 90 degrees. And he’s down there and he’s toughing it out. He’s a super human being and he’s literally lying there making jokes.” Abrams goes on to recall trying to lift the door from Ford’s leg when he heard a “pop” in his back. He continued, “I’m like, ‘Uh, that’s weird.’ So I go to the doctor a couple days later and he goes, ‘Oh, you have a broken back.'” Abrams was diagnosed with a fracture in his fourth lumbar nerve in his lower back, and he spent the next few weeks wearing a “really silly back brace”, which he hid under his normal clothing in a bid to keep his injury a secret. The onset accident occurred nine months before Ford was involved in a horrific plane crash, in which he sustained a number of serious injuries, including a broken pelvis and ankle. However, he managed to bounce back from that health setback, too, and returned to the public eye for his first official outing since the aircraft accident in early July 2015, when he took to the stage at the Comic-Con event in San Diego, California to promote Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens ahead of its December 2015 release.