HOLLYWOOD -- Sam Elliott has learned acting can be injurious to one's health.
Preparing for the Vietnam war film We Were Soldiers gave Elliott a double hernia.
"I'm the elder statesman in the movie. Other than Mel Gibson, most of the actors were in their 20s," says Elliott, 57.
"We did this basic training in which we had to crawl on our bellies under barbed wire while they shot live ammo above us.
"I was not going to be the last guy through the course and I paid for my arrogance.
"My wife (Katharine Ross) gave me hell. She told me to save it for the cameras, but I didn't listen, so I went on the operating table a week after we finished shooting."
Next up for Elliott is Ang Lee's The Hulk.
"I play another army guy named General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, so I'm back in uniform.
"Ang Lee phoned and offered me the role.
"He'd seen my performance in The Contender. I've been in this business 32 years and Soldiers and The Hulk are the first films that were offered to me.
"I guess I've paid my dues."