J.J. Abrams broke his back during a failed attempt to rescue Harrison Ford from under a fallen door on the set of 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'.

J.J. Abrams

J.J. Abrams

The 73-year-old actor was left in agonising pain when his ankle snapped under the weight of a metal hydraulic door on the spaceship the Millennium Falcon - which his character Han Solo pilots - during filming for the latest movie in the franchise.

The director - who counts the star as one of his "idols" - tried to come Harrison's rescue and become the Incredible "Hulk" and lift the incredibly heavy door off of him, but only ended up injuring himself.

Speaking about his efforts, Abrams explained: "When his hydraulic door came down, it pushed down the person that happened to be right there under it, who happened to be Harrison Ford. Not the ideal scenario. His leg broke at the ankle. His ankle went sideways, like 90 degrees. It was really horrific. And so I'm there with one of my idols who is now down on the ground. Not an ideal scenario for him. So I go and try and lift up this door, as any of us would with a kind of Hulk 'I'm going lift the car up off the person I love' energy.

"What I discover in doing that are two things. One is that a hydraulic door cannot be lifted unless it wants to be lifted. And secondly, bones break. I feel this pop in my lower back and I think, 'F**k what is that! Is it a muscle or whatever?' All I'm trying to do is help my friend."

Abrams, 49, admits his attempt to help was ultimately pointless as one of the crew was able to get the door off Harrison with relative ease - by pushing a button.

Speaking to Howard Stern on his Sirius XM radio show, he laughed and explained: "Seconds later the door is opened up by a gentlemen who has a giant button and all day my back is hurting and of course all I care about is the fact that Harrison Ford has broken his ankle and what else? Because you just don't know at that moment."

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' is out in cinemas from December 17.