That Time Steve Zahn Almost Died While Shooting That Thing You Do

That Thing You Do Steve Zahn singing backup on stage

Almost 25 years after writer/director Tom Hanks gave the world a music movie classic with That Thing You Do, the world has given the movie the love it truly deserves. A comedy about the ups and downs of becoming a one hit wonder, the men involved in The Wonders recently reunited for a charitable cause by providing a watch party commentary for the ages. And without this blessed reunion, we’d have never learned how Steve Zahn literally almost died while making the film.

Zahn took part in the That Thing You Do watch party, along with bandmates Tom Everett Scott, Ethan Embry (Tobias Player himself), and Johnathon Schaech. During the discussion, the group discussed a harrowing, but still kind of funny story, in great detail. What you’re about to read is a back and forth that took place between Scott and Zahn, as they recalled the event:

Tom Everett Scott: That was the day that started out with a Swiss crane crashing and almost killing Steve Zahn. Steve Zahn: That was insane. That almost landed on my head. Scott: I got to work, and they were like, ‘Did you hear about the crane?’ Zahn: I was plugged into the sound booth, and I had headphones on. I was playing my part, practicing, and I look up and I see fluorescent lights falling, and I see this crane coming right towards me. And I jumped out of the way, and it lands on the cart. I bit my lower lip, and it was bleeding, and I first thought ‘I don’t want to get it on my costume’. So I was over a trash can, and Tom [Everett Scott] walks in, he doesn’t know what’s going on, and he looks at me and sees the blood, and he starts laughing like I’m pulling a joke on him, and I’m like ‘No, dude, this is real.’ And we actually had to shoot the scene differently so that I had an explanation for a cut lip or something like that. Scott: I actually thought the crane hit just your lip.

This particular moment happened during the shooting of the State Fair sequences that saw That Thing You Do’s cast playing deep cuts like “Dance With Me Tonight” to a huge crowd of extras, and making movie history in the process. But thankfully, that history didn’t include Steve Zahn getting taken out by a crane and instead, saw Zahn fighting through a 103 degree fever to perform one-liners about pigging competitions and how his “first boy-girl thing” happened to be connected to Diane Dane.

During their reunion, the men known as The Wonders also paid charitable tribute to the late Adam Schelsinger, the songwriter who gave the film its titular hit. His recent passing was the catalyst behind getting the film’s cast together again, leading to a night of reverent tribute and hysterical commentary.

With the recent trend of watch parties in isolation taking off, there are sure to be more reunions that divulge such interesting behind-the-scenes stories as the ones the That Thing You Do cast shared. But none of them are going to involve Steve Zahn, a Swiss crane crash, and a hit song that’s still melting hearts to this very day. Advantage: The Wonders.

That Thing You Do is available to stream through Cinemax and can be purchased or rented on Digital HD, Blu-ray, and DVD. A MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund has also been established. Those interested can also donate through a high roller bid on a first pressing for the future Mondo vinyl release of the soundtrack.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.