Movies That Had Profound Impact on Actors’ Lives
In the realm of Hollywood, it is often said that making a movie comes with its share of sacrifices. Be it in terms of time, money, or personal well-being, the world of cinema is a place where the pursuit of art sometimes leads to unexpected consequences. In this article, we delve into the lives of actors who were profoundly affected by the movies they starred in.
‘Ghostbusters’: The Curse of Walter Peck
Ghostbusters, a timeless classic in the world of comedies, also brought its fair share of challenges to the actors involved. One such actor was William Atherton, who portrayed Walter Peck, the persistent EPA investigator determined to shut down the team’s paranormal operations. Atherton’s portrayal was so convincing that he faced real-life consequences.
According to the DVD commentary by director Ivan Reitman, Atherton was subject to angry outbursts from fans who couldn’t distinguish between fiction and reality. He even found himself in barroom brawls due to his villainous on-screen persona. Harold Ramis, the screenwriter who played Egon Spengler, revealed that a busload of New York City tourists spotted him and didn’t hesitate to express their disdain. Atherton’s memorable performance in Ghostbusters left a lasting impact, blurring the lines between fiction and reality.
‘Abduction’: Taylor Lautner’s Stumbling Block
For Taylor Lautner, who gained fame in the Twilight series, landing a role in the 2011 action movie Abduction was expected to propel his stardom. Unfortunately, the movie failed to live up to expectations, affecting Lautner’s career trajectory.
Abduction boasted a top-tier supporting cast, renowned director John Singleton, and intense action sequences. However, the film’s convoluted storyline, attempting to blend teenage angst with espionage, led to its downfall. The movie struggled at the box office, causing a setback in Lautner’s rising star status. The attempt to diversify his acting roles proved challenging, and Abduction remains a stumbling block in his career.
‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’: The Uncredited Voice
Disney’s 1937 animated masterpiece, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is a cornerstone of cinematic history, and it’s also the film that changed the life of Adriana Caselotti, the actress who provided the voice for Snow White.
Caselotti was selected for the role through a talent scout’s quest for a captivating female voice. She triumphed over 150 other contenders and was awarded a modest salary of $970. However, she didn’t receive a ticket to the premiere and wasn’t credited for her role. Disney’s contract stipulated that she could never disclose her identity as Snow White or engage in any other voice acting work to maintain the illusion that Disney characters were real. It took nearly four decades for The Walt Disney Company to finally credit her as the voice behind Snow White, shedding light on her significant contribution to one of the most iconic animated films of all time.
‘Showgirls’: Elizabeth Berkley’s Unintended Fall from Grace
Showgirls, directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas, became infamous for its NC-17 rating and controversial content. This led to a spectacular downfall for lead actress Elizabeth Berkley, whose career took an unexpected turn.
Berkley, previously known for her role as Jessie Spano in the hit series Saved By the Bell, aimed to break free from her sitcom image by taking on the role in Showgirls. However, the film’s outrageous script and explicit content overshadowed her intentions. The movie’s failure at the box office and harsh criticism tainted her reputation in the industry. Berkley, in a 2020 interview, revealed that she felt alienated and bullied due to her involvement in Showgirls, an experience that drastically altered her career trajectory.
‘Syriana’: George Clooney’s Painful Transformation
George Clooney, a prominent figure in Hollywood, faced a challenging transition from TV’s ER to the world of film, despite having to overcome the infamous Batman & Robin. His role in the political thriller Syriana, which earned him an Academy Award, brought its own set of hardships.
While shooting a simulated torture scene for Syriana, Clooney sustained a severe spinal injury in 2005. The recovery was a grueling process, marked by immobilization and chronic pain. The actor even admitted to contemplating suicide at one point and turned to alcohol to cope with the emotional and physical distress. Although he eventually recovered, the injury left him with lasting pain and forced him to adapt to a new way of life. The toll on Clooney’s health and well-being due to Syriana was a high price to pay for cinematic success.
‘Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace’: The Fan Backlash
The Star Wars prequels, including The Phantom Menace, received mixed reactions from fans. However, for two of the film’s principal cast members, Jake Lloyd and Ahmed Best, the aftermath was far more distressing.
Jake Lloyd, who portrayed Anakin Skywalker, initially believed he had landed the role of a lifetime. However, the movie’s release took a heavy toll on his mental health. The pressure of promoting the film, coupled with relentless bullying at school, led him to resent his association with Star Wars and eventually turn his back on acting.
Ahmed Best, who provided the voice for Jar Jar Binks, encountered a similar fate. The character was designed to provide comic relief but faced immense backlash from fans. Best’s role, intended to launch his career, led to online criticism and personal setbacks. He relocated to Los Angeles with high hopes, only to find his career limited due to the negative reception of Jar Jar Binks.
‘Psycho’: Janet Leigh’s Real-Life Fears
Alfred Hitchcock’s iconic film Psycho left a deep impact not only on audiences but also on actress Janet Leigh, who portrayed the film’s leading lady, Marion Crane.
One of the most memorable moments in the film is the shocking shower scene, where Leigh’s character meets a grisly end. This scene traumatized not only the viewers but also Leigh herself. In interviews conducted decades after the film’s release, she revealed that she avoided taking showers due to her newfound awareness of vulnerability in that position. Furthermore, her association with Psycho pigeonholed her into horror roles for the remainder of her career, causing a lasting impact.
‘The Great Dictator’: Chaplin’s Battle Against Allegations
Charlie Chaplin’s masterpiece, The Great Dictator, was a satirical comedy that addressed political issues with humor and insight. However, it also landed the legendary actor and filmmaker in the midst of controversy.
American intelligence agencies saw the film as a sign of Chaplin’s sympathies towards communism and launched investigations. In 2012, the UK’s National Archives revealed that MI5 had probed Chaplin at the behest of the FBI, alleging that his film “raised up the common man against the rich.” Despite MI5’s dismissal of the claims, Chaplin was unofficially exiled from the United States. This turn of events hindered his career, and he spent the rest of his life in Switzerland, making only a single return trip to the U.S. to accept a lifetime achievement award at the 1972 Academy Awards.
‘Roar’: The Perilous Production
The 1981 family comedy Roar, starring celebrity couple Noel Marshall and Tippi Hedren, was intended to be a heartwarming tale about a family’s adventure in Tanzania to study and protect lions. However, the production turned into one of the most dangerous film shoots in history.
The set of Roar became a perilous environment, with over 150 untamed lions roaming freely. Crew and cast members faced numerous injuries, with up to 100 reported incidents. These injuries ranged from lacerations and puncture wounds to severe scalp injuries and facial reconstruction surgeries. The constant setbacks extended the originally planned six-month shoot into a grueling five-year ordeal. The movie ultimately failed to impress audiences and critics and led to the end of Noel Marshall and Tippi Hedren’s marriage.
‘Armour of God’: Jackie Chan’s Near-Death Experience
Jackie Chan, renowned for performing his own stunts, has faced countless injuries during his career. However, one incident on the set of Armour of God stands out as the most life-threatening.
During a dangerous stunt in 1986, Chan attempted to jump through a large tree and swing from one of its branches. In the midst of multiple takes, the branch gave way, causing Chan to fall and land on his back on a rock. The fall resulted in a fractured skull and a severe brain hemorrhage, which in turn led to permanent hearing loss in his right ear and a lasting hole in his skull. Despite this near-death experience, Chan continued to perform his own stunts and make memorable contributions to the world of action cinema.
‘The Blair Witch Project’: Heather Donahue’s Unwanted Legacy
The Blair Witch Project, a groundbreaking found footage horror film, left a significant impact on actress Heather Donahue’s life. The film’s marketing campaign aimed to blur the lines between fiction and reality, but it had unintended consequences.
Heather Donahue’s portrayal of herself in the film, especially her tearful final moments, made audiences believe that the events were real. The filmmakers went to great lengths to maintain the illusion, even publishing false obituaries on the Internet Movie Database. The movie’s unexpected success propelled Donahue into the limelight, but it also brought unwelcome attention. Fans sent condolences to her real mother, and even a relative believed Heather had truly perished. When some viewers realized the ruse, they expressed their disappointment both online and in person, subjecting Donahue to ongoing harassment and intrusion into her personal life. These unwanted effects led her to retreat from acting, and she declined an offer to participate in the 2016 reboot due to the adverse consequences of the original film.
‘Kill Bill Vol. II’: Uma Thurman’s Harrowing Car Crash
Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill series is known for its intense and unexpected scenes. One such scene, involving Uma Thurman driving a blue convertible, took a perilous turn that nearly ended her career.
Thurman, feeling uncomfortable operating a real vehicle on set, reluctantly agreed to drive it down a treacherous dirt road for a shot. During the scene, the car skidded and crashed head-on into a palm tree, causing her head to slam into the steering wheel, rendering her unconscious. Although she eventually walked away from the accident, it left her with permanent knee damage. Worse still, evidence of the crash and working conditions that led to it were concealed, including by disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein.
‘Jacĸass Forever’: Johnny Knoxville’s Dangerous Encounter with a Bull
The Jacĸass series is renowned for its outrageous stunts, and Johnny Knoxville is no stranger to injuries. However, one particular scene in Jacĸass Forever involving a charging bull resulted in a life-changing injury for Knoxville.
In the pursuit of captivating footage, Knoxville faced off against a bull in a daring magic trick. The bull, however, ignored the act and launched Knoxville into the air, leading to a brain hemorrhage and severe brain damage. The aftermath of the stunt caused a steep decline in his cognitive abilities, along with bouts of depression. Despite the life-altering consequences, Knoxville’s dedication to creating unforgettable moments on screen remained unshaken.
In summary, these actors and actresses encountered unforeseen challenges, both physical and emotional, as a result of their roles in various films. The world of cinema, though filled with glamour and success, also carries its fair share of trials and tribulations. These stories serve as a reminder that the impact of movies often extends beyond the silver screen, leaving a lasting imprint on the lives of those involved.