Arnold Schwarzenegger starred in the science fiction film “The 6th Day” in 2000. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode, the film is set in the near future where animal cloning is legal and (mostly) socially acceptable, but cloning human is always forbidden. Schwarzenegger plays Adam Gibson, a charter pilot and family man who becomes embroiled in a human cloning plot. In 2000, ‘The Terminator’ star’s career was on the decline, and while Schwarzenegger wanted ‘The 6th Day’ to reinvent his reputation, the film nearly cost the beloved action star his life. During a Reddit Q&A in 2014, a user asked Schwarzenegger what was the closest death he’d ever had, and the actor pointed to the scene from “The 6th Day” where his character hides from an assassin (Sarah Wynter) in a water tank.
“In ‘The 6th Day’, there was a scene where I was hiding underwater behind embryos. I did a rehearsal with glasses and everything went well. But when we shot, I didn’t couldn’t see because the water was milky. So I ran out of air and went to the top and realized I didn’t know where to get out. I was trapped. Then a hand grabbed me and pulled me out.
Actors who have nearly drowned during a stunt gone wrong are not uncommon. Luckily for Schwarzenegger, someone was watching over him. That hand belonged to Schwarzenegger stuntman Billy Lucas. “He had looked down from below with a tank and goggles and realized I was in big, big trouble,” Schwarzenegger wrote.
While the near-drowning was likely heartbreaking, it wasn’t the actor’s first brush with death while filming a movie.