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Johnny Depp's 'Pirates' Body Double Describes the 1 Horrific Injury That Gave Him PTSD

Tony Angelotti, one of Hollywood’s most accomplished stunt performers, was ‘s body double in three movies. He did some extremely difficult and dangerous stunts for . But one stunt nearly ended Angelotti’s career and left him with PTSD.

Tony Angelotti was Johnny Depp’s stunt double for the ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movies

Angelotti is an accomplished stunt performer. He has worked in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, including , , and .  But he is most known for his work as Depp’s stunt double in the movies. 

Many of Angelotti’s stunts in the films required skill and technique. And in a chat with , the stuntman revealed which one he found to be the most rewarding. 

“At the very end of the first movie where Jack Sparrow is bidding adieu — he jumps off the cliff – and lands in the water,” Angelotti detailed. “The Black Pearl comes swinging around and throws him a line and the crew yanks Captain Jack Sparrow out of the water and then he swings onto the ship and lands right behind the wheel of the ship.” 

“That took months of rehearsal,” he recalled. “That was shot in one shot. And it was the complications behind it – it was a ratchet of me flying out of the water probably like 35 to 40 feet in the air, and then another ratchet pulling me into the boat and a decelerator landing me onto the deck of the ship — so many things could have gone wrong in that set-up.” 

Tony Angelotti suffered a horrific injury during ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest’

During the filming of , Angelotti performed a “yoyo” stunt. And he nearly died from it. The stunt was supposed to catch Jack Sparrow dangling off an 80-foot cliff and then spinning as the rope around his leg unraveled. 

“When I was up, looking down, I gave the call of ‘three, two, one, go,’ they pulled my quick release that would allow me to unravel,” Angelotti told “However, the operator of the descender did not have the brake on and I went into a freefall.”

Angelotti said that he spun so “uncontrollably fast” that the centrifugal force “ripped” his pelvis apart. “I felt the ripping of inside my pelvic area, the burning, ripping sensation,” he recalled. “And once I got to the bottom, I recoiled, like you would like a yo-yo, and sort of did this flailing backflip and then I went into this massive split.”

The stuntman was rushed to the hospital, where doctors found that he had “nicked” a branch of his femoral artery. He spent a year in recovery and underwent a second surgery after breaking a plate in his pelvis. Angelotti said the injury resulted in him experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

“That pretty much ended my major performing career,’ he shared.” I still did stuff that were like lighter stunts and whatnot, but it kind of f****** me up to be quite honest.”

Tony Angelotti and Johnny Depp became good friends on the set of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ 

Despite the injury, Angelotti’s relationship with Depp is strong. The two became good friends on set. And they would often sit and chat over a drink in between filming days. 


“I would have beautiful wine with him at the end of the night in his trailer, he would invite me in a couple times,” Angelotti said in his chat with “I can remember having beautiful Bordeaux and just sort of recapping the day and just talking about the stunts and things to come.”

Depp was extremely kind to Angelotti. He even commissioned and gifted him a Neil Lane replica of the Ring of Thieves. And on one occasion, when Angelotti was accidentally nicked near his eyebrow during a fight scene with , Depp angrily halted filming. He insisted the stuntman receive medical attention. 

“You could have heard a pin drop on that set,” Angelotti recalled. “And it was like, ‘Thank you, Johnny! And of course, the medic was there in a split second and it was fine…That’s the rare occasion that I saw him, he blew a gasket.”

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