Armageddon's Space Suits Landed Ben Affleck In Real-Life Danger

When you think about it, "Eh, it was ok" is something you don't ever hear when asking anyone what they thought of the 1998 summer blockbuster "Armageddon." There's just no middle ground — people seem to love it or hate it, ironically for the same reasons. An implausible plot, the rag-tag group of oil drillers that learn to be astronauts courtesy of a few montages, and Bruce Willis somehow managing a straight face while delivering those melodramatic lines are just a few of the endearing (or offensive) qualities of the guilty pleasure movie.

Regardless of what you think, the numbers don't lie, and the box office receipts show Michael Bay's "Armageddon" as the top movie of 1998. The disaster film boasted an incredible ensemble cast led by Willis and Ben Affleck. A movie about oil-drillers-turned-astronauts using a nuclear bomb to blow up an asteroid hurtling towards Earth seemed farfetched at the time. But the science behind the film's premise has aged well, believe it or not. Actually, believe it.

The production was massive, with a budget of $140 million, according to Box Office Mojo, and a 120-day shoot. But the movie about heading to space to stop an asteroid from destroying the planet almost didn't get off the ground after day one of filming. In fact, it almost killed one of their biggest stars.

Affleck almost suffocated on the first day

Bay, known for his frenetic filmmaking style, wasted no time in getting down to business, putting his actors in spacesuits on the first day of shooting. In a Q&A with Collider, Bay explained how it took five people to put an actor into one of the spacesuits. Even though the suits are meant to protect whoever is inside, in this instance, the suit did more harm than good. Bay explained:

"They're walking out of a plane crash ... [in] 100 mile an hour winds. And all of a sudden, I see Ben Affleck trying to hit his face shield. They had real NASA locks on their helmets. I'm like, 'Cut, cut, cut. What's going on? Ben, what's going on?' So, we have to run literally like a football field toward [him]. And he was trying to find a rock to bust his mask because he couldn't breathe because the air thing was shut."

Affleck said that Bay and producer Jerry Bruckheimer had a hyper-focus on the aesthetics for "Armageddon." According to People, they told Affleck to go to the gym, tan, and even paid for new teeth for the actor. As for the spacesuit that almost killed Affleck, that focus on the look was no different, as the suit almost ruined the movie on more than one occasion.

They spent $1.5 million on the spacesuits

In "Armageddon's" DVD commentary, Michael Bay explained how the suits caused more problems than just the Affleck incident. A culture barrier with the French costume designer created what Bay called a "major problem" with the spacesuit designs. Bay thought that the minimalistic design of the original suits would have sabotaged the entire movie. In his profanity-laced commentary, Bay said:

"They do things very differently in France, they're very more the artists, this is not big American moviemaking where if you don't have a spacesuit that works for a big f***ing movie star, you are f**ked."

Bay called the spacesuit fiasco one of the biggest problems for the entire "Armageddon" production. Three weeks before principal photography began and an estimated $1.5 million later, Bay had the suits that he felt wouldn't ruin the movie. Ironically, these would be the suits that almost killed Ben Affleck. The design might have been flawless, but perhaps they skipped the safety tests with the actors. It's hard to believe, but two-time Oscar-winning Ben Affleck almost died for the movie once called the equivalent of Taco Bell.