Neve Campbell Was Once Attacked by a Bear on a Movie Set

Neve Campbell, actress and survivor of a bear attack. Photo: Kevin Mazur/2020 MTV Movie & TV Awards/Getty Images

Actors will go to great lengths for their art. Take, for example, Neve Campbell, who, at 17, was attacked by a bear while shooting a movie. During a recent interview on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Clarkson asked Campbell about the incident, saying, “I heard that you were attacked by a bear once, which I find fascinating.” Hmmm, yes. Fascinating is one word for it.

Campbell explains that she was playing a role where her character is “one with the animals,” and there’s a scene where she gets chased by a bear. Naturally, they brought an actual, live bear on set. Before shooting, Campbell was instructed to feed the bear a bottle of Coke. Why? Who knows! Maybe so the bear thought she was its mommy? Afterward, they did a practice run of the scene. Campbell said she was told to “dip your hand in honey and just run. And when you get to the tree over there, turn your hand out and feed the bear.” Once again, why? Who thought that was a good idea? Also, bears actually like honey?? “I, of course, wanting to please everyone, was like, ‘Okay!’” she said.

“I dipped my hand in honey and I run to this rock,” she continued, “and I turn around and I put my hand out and the bear is not slowing down and he’s not coming for my hand.” A fun thing about bears is that they don’t know literally anything about acting because they are bears. Campbell said the bear grabbed her by the leg and pulled her through the forest. “My mother was visiting set and she’s screaming. The whole crew is frozen because nobody can believe what’s happening,” she said. “All I can think to say is, ‘He’s biting me,’ like it’s not obvious.” Ha-ha, remember how this is all for a movie?

Eventually, the animal wrangler was able to stop the bear by throwing rocks at it, and Campbell was able to climb up a rock to safety. Fortunately, she suffered no life-threatening injuries. The director said they wouldn’t be reattempting the whole “feed a live bear” thing, but Campbell — who, again, was only 17 years old at the time — insisted. “I was like, ‘No, that was rehearsal. We didn’t get it on-camera. Let’s do it.’” It’s unclear whether they filmed the scene with the live bear again. It’s also unclear which movie this was, as Campbell, kindly, didn’t name it.

“It’s silly,” she said. “We get asked to do silly things.” So, there you have it, I guess. Bear attacks: famously so silly!

Neve Campbell Was Once Attacked by a Bear on a Movie Set