How Idris Elba Gave Chris Pine A Black Eye While Shooting Star Trek Beyond

Possible minor spoilers for Star Trek Beyond ahead.

While they may look streamlined and perfect when we sit in movie theaters, making action movies is no easy feat. There are a lot of balls to juggle, in addition to the normal stress of shooting a movie and getting strong performances from the actors. The added pressure of complicated fight choreography may look stunning, but it's truly hard work and things can go wrong easily. This appears to be exactly what happened during filming of the highly anticipated Star Trek Beyond, when actor Idris Elba apparently gave his costar Chris Pine a serious shiner during a scene.

Fight choreography is a really complicated part of acting. A dance with fists, the actors must be 100 percent focused in order to avoid injuries. But since fight sequences can be filmed over and over for days at a time, actors can become exhausted and an injury can occur. That, or some trash talking will cause it. Here's how Idris Elba describes the incident to The Hollywood Reporter:

Well, we were doing a fight scene, and he got a bit cheeky, and I was just like pow! I didn't mean to do it, but Chris was quite proud of it.

I'm not sure how much cheeky-ness warrants a black eye, but I'm guessing Chris Pine does. At least Pine didn't seem to upset about it, as this is the first we're hearing of the scuffle between the actors. And Idris Elba said he was proud.

Of course, such injuries can end up positively affecting the movie, even if they don't positively affect the individual's face. Actors have been known to use on set injuries to motivate their characters, therefore giving an improved performance. This happened famously in Django Unchained, when Leonardo DiCaprio cut his hand with glass and kept the scene going. He would later end up rubbing his blood on Kerry Washington's face, which caused a look of horror by the actress which otherwise might not have been possible.

Indeed, Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin opened up about Chris Pine and Idris Elba's on set scuffle, and how it benefited the film as a whole, saying:

This cast goes all out, and I like to challenge them. We were shooting this third-act fight, and I kept pushing to get the right angle, to the point where Chris just got hit. Continuity-wise, it worked out. That black eye played so well in the rest of the movie.

Well, there you go. While Chris Pine's punch to the face surely wasn't what Justin Lin intended, it did help to inform and improve the movie. This take will presumably be the one used in the final cut, giving a sense of realism and brutality to an otherwise fantastical film. Additionally, the after effects (aka Chris Pine's black eye) will be seen later on in the film. Who needs a makeup team anyway?

Star Trek Beyond will fly into theaters tomorrow, July 22nd.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.