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LL Cool J Almost Never Made It To NCIS Because Of A Mechanical Shark

By most accounts, "Deep Blue Sea" is not a great movie. Still, there are worse ways to digest some fun shark-themed action, and precious few can resist a film featuring Samuel L. Jackson, so we won't rag on it too much. That said, by no accounts is "Deep Blue Sea" a movie worth dying for. Unfortunately, LL Cool J almost did that very thing. 

The two-time Grammy award-winning hip hop artist stars as Sherman "Preacher" Dudley, a cook who's surprisingly good at exploding sharks ("Deep Blue Sea" is just that kind of movie). That cinematic skill didn't translate too well, however, to an event that happened behind the scenes, when one of the mechanical sharks used on the film was left unattended. Had he been less lucky — or less shaped like a tank — LL Cool J's career in music and acting would have ended long before he ever had a chance to receive the Kennedy Center Honors or star on "NCIS: Los Angeles." Here's the story, as shared by LL Cool J himself. 

LL Cool J nearly died over lunch

During a 2023 interview with Hot Ones (the YouTube show with hot questions and even hotter wings), LL Cool J confirmed that he nearly drowned on the set of "Deep Blue Sea" when a mechanical shark attached itself to his leg while he was still in the water. Although his brain was addled during the interview by excessive levels of spice, the rapper managed to recall the near-grisly tale with practiced ease. 

"I was in the middle of a take and [they called] 'Lunch!'" he explained. "And the guy holding the ... joystick [let go] ... They [had given] me this little breathing thing, this little breathing apparatus ... you blow out and breathe in. I blew out and breathed in. All water. Took it to another level, but I ended up struggling, getting out, and when I got out, climbed out, there was one dude sitting there with a cigarette [laughing], 'I saw what happened' ... so it was cool." 

Based solely on the tone with which LL Cool J shared this particular story, it feels like he's at a point in his life where he relishes the chance to share it. As he should, too, because it's truly a great event. Terrible, yes, but great. How many people can say they wrestled a robot shark and came out victorious?