Melanie Griffith Was Mauled By an Untrained Lion While Filming ‘Roar’

Melanie Griffith has worked on dozens of movies over the years, from high-profile movies like Something Wild and Working Girl to box-office bombs like Shining Through. As the daughter of well-known actress Tippi Hedren, Griffith has been immersed in the entertainment industry her entire life. Although Griffith has had many positive experiences on movie sets, she was one of a group of actors who sustained serious injuries while filming the 1981 film Roar

What injuries did Melanie Griffith sustain while working on ‘Roar’?

Griffith wasn’t yet a huge Hollywood star when she was cast in Roar, alongside her mother, Tippi Hedren. The adventure comedy was released in 1981 and told the story of a man named Hank, played by Noel Marshall, who lives on a nature preserve alongside dozens of wild animals like lions, tigers, and jaguars. The film took over 10 years to make, and the cast went through some truly awful situations to bring it to life.

According to Business Insider, Griffith was one of many actors on the film to sustain serious injuries during the filming of Roar. Griffith was reportedly mauled by one of the lions in the film, leaving the actress with injuries that required over 100 stitches and reconstructive surgery. Business Insider notes that viewers can see Griffith’s real-life mauling in the film.

‘Roar’ is considered to be one of the most dangerous films ever made

A closeup of Melanie Griffith in a white turtleneck sweater and her hair up.
Melanie Griffith | Amanda Edwards/WireImage

Roar was filmed with 140 untrained wild animals, including 100 lions. Filming was incredibly dangerous and resulted in literally dozens of injuries. The New Yorker reports that although the movie was a labor of love for Tippi Hedren and Noel Marshall, who were married at the time, due to the sheer volume of injuries sustained by the cast and crew, Roar is widely considered to be one of the most dangerous films ever made. 

Hedren endured a fractured leg and deep wounds to her scalp after being bitten by one of the untrained lions. Marshall who served as the film’s director as well as the star, was bitten so many times by the big cats on the shoot that he developed gangrene as well as blood poisoning. In fact, close to 70 people received injuries while working on Roar – nearly half of the 140-person crew. Through it all, Marshall and his team soldiered on, determined to make a film that depicted a story of animals and humans living together in harmony. 

‘Roar’ has become an infamous film

In the end, according to The New Yorker, Roar had to be filmed documentary-style because there were too many challenges to mounting a full-scale film production with so many untrained wild animals. Ultimately, Roar was not released theatrically in the United States, only getting a theatrical run in 2015, according to Ranker. The version of the film that got released to theaters included the sobering disclaimer “No animals were harmed in the making of this film. 70 cast and crew members were.”

The film had negative repercussions on the cast as well. Hedren and Marshall divorced in 1982, one year after finishing work on Roar. Marshall’s son John believes that the movie had something to do with their split.

Ranker reports John Marshall as saying “It was so intense. Melanie was dad’s stepdaughter, but it was Tippi’s real daughter. For my father to keep putting her real daughter in that much jeopardy… Melanie, when she started this movie, was 17.” Ultimately, Griffith was able to go on carve out a very successful film career—in spite of her sobering experience on the set of Roar.

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