Tom Cruise was about half an inch away from being decapitated on the set of epic The Last Samurai, when actor Hiroyuki Sanada nearly chopped his head off with a sword.

Japanese Sanada, who plays a samurai in the movie, was swinging a real sword when Cruise's mechanical horse malfunctioned and didn't fall down as planned.

And the faulty equipment nearly cost the movie hunk his head.

Sanada says, "Tom's neck was right in front of me, and I tried to stop swinging my sword but it was hard to control with one hand.

"The film crew watching from the side all screamed because they thought Tom's head would fly off."

18/01/2004 20:56