6 Ironic Coincidences Behind the Scenes of Famous Movies
Some movies seem to be cursed, while others merely predict the future with creepy accuracy. But then you have the films below, which feature grossly unlikely yet hugely ironic coincidences. What do we mean by that? Well ...
Troy -- Brad Pitt Injures His Achilles Tendon While Playing Achilles
If you didn't pay attention in biology class and don't follow sports injuries, the Achilles tendon is the thick tendon at the back of your ankle that connects your heel to your calf. It was named after the hero of Greek mythology, because according to legend, that spot was the only vulnerable part of Achilles' body. He eventually dies from taking a wound there (which of course is why we refer to a fatal weakness as somebody's "Achilles' heel").
Now, some of you who missed that whole story in school are still familiar with it, thanks to the movie Troy, where a well-oiled Brad Pitt played the role of Achilles.
His abs received an executive producer credit.
About three-quarters of the way through the film, Pitt's Achilles faces off against the noble Hector, played by Eric Bana, and kills him while his entire family watches, dragging Hector's corpse around the walls of the city just in case any of them missed it (Achilles was a bit of a dick). However, while filming the scene, the fight did not go nearly as well for Pitt: While performing a difficult jumping strike against Bana directly into his raised shield, Pitt landed awkwardly and injured his leg.
Pitt's most awkward scene not involving his accent.
Or, more specifically, he fucking tore his Achilles tendon.
The only area of Achilles' body that was vulnerable, according to myth, and consequently the only part of the human anatomy that bears his name, was the one area on Brad Pitt's entire body to sustain injury while playing Achilles in a movie. Yes, it turns out the Greek gods are real, and they mock us.
It wasn't a particularly light injury, either. The filming of some scenes in the movie had to be delayed for a couple of months because Pitt could only sort of hobble around, which greatly inhibited his ability to run around trolling the people of Troy. When filming did restart, they celebrated Pitt's recovery by shooting the scene where Legolas lances an arrow through Achilles' eponymous heel, in the precise location of Pitt's injury.
Jennifer Aniston has a voodoo doll exactly like this.
Tropic Thunder -- Robert Downey Jr. Receives an Oscar Nomination by Playing an Oscar Winner
Tropic Thunder is one of those movies that on paper has the potential to be the worst thing ever made ("It has Tom Cruise in a fat suit, Robert Downey Jr. in blackface, Ben Stiller AND Jack Black!"), but somehow it all works. Indisputably, the best part of the movie is Robert Downey Jr.'s character, Kirk Lazarus, who is an actor who only takes movie roles that will get him an Oscar.
In other words, Bizarro-Cage.
In the film, Lazarus is an insufferable Method actor, famous for committing completely to whatever role he's currently undertaking. For Tropic Thunder (the film within the film), Lazarus undergoes pigment-darkening plastic surgery to play a black character, because as we have discussed before, physical transformations are Oscar gold (particularly for attractive women who either put on ugly makeup or have sex with Billy Bob Thornton). Kirk Lazarus' Oscar baiting is made so unbelievably self-indulgent and ridiculous that he is almost a cartoon character, a pretentious ball of buffoonery who doesn't realize how absurd he is. Hollywood, characteristically failing to get the joke, nominated Robert Downey Jr. for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award in 2009 for his performance.
That's right, Robert Downey Jr. was given an Oscar nomination for playing an actor shamelessly trying to win an Oscar. He might have even had a chance at winning, too, if it hadn't been the year that Heath Ledger won every award ever for The Dark Knight.
"... and if he were here, Heath would tell you how honored he is to join such greats like Roberta Goldman and Andrea Grabowski!"
Downey Jr.'s nomination becomes even more impressive when you consider how infrequently comedies get nominated for Academy Awards. In fact, since 2000, there have been 55 nominees for Best Supporting Actor, and only one other was for an actor in a full-fledged comedy (Adaptation). To be fair, none of those movies had posters like this one:
We know some may find this poster offensive, but we couldn't find one where he wasn't smoking.
It may be that the academy was totally on board and was delivering the smartest meta-joke punchline in the history of the world, but Jack Palance's Best Supporting Actor award for City Slickers begs to differ.
Singin' in the Rain -- A Lip-Syncing Scandal in the Film and Real Life
Although it was made in the 1950s, Singin' in the Rain is actually set in the 1920s, during the period when silent movies were transitioning into "talkies," i.e., movies with prerecorded sound. In the movie we find out that Lina Lamont, a famous silent film actress, has a speaking and singing voice so terrible, it ranks somewhere between Macy Gray strangling out an orgasm with autoerotic asphyxiation and Macy Gray having that same orgasm while killing RoboCop with a chainsaw.
Instead of giving their top actress the boot, the studio hires an unknown actress named Kathy Selden to dub Lina's voice. Lina refuses to let Kathy get any recognition and keeps her behind the scenes, taking all the singing credit for herself. As you may expect, the studio's ruse is eventually found out, Lina never makes movies again and Kathy becomes a star and happily hooks up with the leading man.
And Carrie Fisher is conceived in a tap-dancing three-way.
Those bastardly movie producers sure got what they deserved, you may be thinking. Who could actually take advantage of some poor struggling actress like that? The answer is the producers of Singin' in the Rain.
"Hey, y'know the whole cautionary tale behind the story we're telling? Let's ignore the shit out of that."
Despite the movie's message of "Do your own goddamn singing," Debbie Reynolds, who plays the heroine Kathy Selden, doesn't actually sing several of her own songs. At least two of them (perhaps more) were really performed by an actress named Betty Noyes. And, just like in the movie, the studio wasn't eager to fess up to the fact that they'd used an unknown singer to dub songs for the famous actress they'd hired to play an unknown singer who dubs songs for a famous actress. As a result, for a long time, Noyes went uncredited.
Pictured here in what's apparently the most pointless headshot of all time.
Unlike the movie character Kathy Selden, Noyes did not skyrocket to fame and fortune, but did lead an illustrious career performing in half a dozen big budget movies ... in which she was almost never credited.
Though hopefully the execution of their ruse was somewhat more subtle than this.
Tron and Tron: Legacy -- Jeff Bridges Is Creepily Scanned into a Computer
The original Tron stars Jeff Bridges as game developer Kevin Flynn in the most confusing plot ever summarized on Wikipedia. It doesn't matter, it's all setup for him getting sucked into a computer and having adventures inside its digital fantasy world. This happens when he sits down at the terminal and a beam zaps him, scanning his body and rebuilding it inside the computerized realm.
The computer then closed multiple pages and cleared its history.
There he teams up with programs named Ram and Tron, and is forced to participate in bizarre DayGlo Olympic challenges, all at the dizzying speed of 1982. Eventually he defeats the villainous computer (which it turns out was trying to take over the world somehow) and then -- spoiler! -- everything is fine again.
"By 1986, everyone will be wearing this!"
Now, despite the fact that the movie takes place mostly in a digital world and has an old-school CGI look, the original Tron actually involved almost no computer graphics as we know them. All of the live-action effects were made by rotoscoping, which is a form of animation where animators essentially trace over live-action footage frame by frame. If that sounds like a huge pain in the ass, you have no idea; to get all of the glowing computery shit in the movie, each special effect shot was layered and animated by hand, one goddamn frame at a time, and then individually backlit and refilmed, one goddamn frame at a time, to get the final frame.
Now flash forward 30 years later, to the most unnecessary sequel of all time, Tron: Legacy.
And trust us, there was a lot of competition for that title.
We learn that Flynn is incredibly bad at learning life lessons and has gotten his silly ass stuck inside the computer again, with the twist that he must face a copy of his computerized self from 30 years ago. In other words, the filmmakers needed both young and old versions of Jeff Bridges to perform scenes onscreen together.
Of course, now we have this little thing called CGI to accomplish tasks like that. So, to create the young Flynn for Tron: Legacy, the filmmakers scanned Jeff Bridges into a computer. And where in the original film Flynn was able to sit comfortably in a chair while a laser zapped him from behind, in real life Bridges had to wear a terrifying scanning cage thing on his face ...
... so that every element of his soul could be captured and uploaded to the glowing, digital realm of Tron:
Presumably this came after a lengthy conversation convincing him that he wouldn't suddenly wake up dressed like a glow in the dark suppository throwing Frisbees in a Daft Punk music video.
Knocked Up -- Ken Jeong Is a Wacky Doctor in the Movie and Real Life
Most of you probably recognize Ken Jeong as the drug-addled, adorably penised crime lord Mr. Chow from the Hangover series, or possibly the zany racist Spanish teacher from Community. However, the first feature film role that Jeong landed was the part of the irritated doctor at the end of Knocked Up.
Pretending to be annoyed with Katherine Heigl tests an actor's abilities to their very limit.
Playing the part of Dr. Kuni gave Jeong some insight and experience in distinguishing his personal life from his stage life, which would become useful later on in his career. In one, he was a cynical, burned-out doctor, brusque with his patients and fed up with working in a hospital, while in the other, he was acting in a Judd Apatow movie.
That's right -- Ken Jeong really is a doctor. And a pretty well-credentialed one at that, having studied at Duke University and the University of North Carolina before specializing in internal medicine at a clinic in Los Angeles. Throughout all this, however, Jeong remained unsatisfied with his choice to practice medicine and harbored a desire to become a comedic actor, presumably jotting down dick jokes on unused prescription slips after every hernia exam.
"Seriously, you've got to stop giving people prescriptions for '200 ml of Deeznuts'."
So he began performing standup gigs at local comedy clubs, hoping to hone his craft and eventually get noticed by someone who could give him his big break. Which is exactly what happened. One night at the Laugh Factory, the producers of Knocked Up, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, were in the audience looking for someone who could portray a doctor who, for some reason, would be less than thrilled to see the Jew-froed blob of self-entitlement that would inevitably burst from Katherine Heigl's Rogen-sown womb.
Dr. Ken Jeong was performing that night, and when Rogen and Goldberg saw his performance, they offered him the role more or less immediately, having no idea that the guy they were casting to play their goofy doctor character had in fact graduated from med school and (presumably) saved lives.
Sid & Nancy -- Courtney Love Auditions for Nancy, then Becomes Her
For those of you who haven't heard of Courtney Love, we consider you kind of lucky, but we will remedy that situation immediately, because what is laughter without a few tears? Love shot to popularity in the early '90s as lead singer of the band Hole and wife/coattail passenger of Kurt Cobain (for those of you who haven't heard of Kurt Cobain, kindly close your browser and leave the room).
They were a grunge rock power couple, two lead singers of popular bands joined together like some Megazord stomping out the remains of '80s hair metal like a really lame campfire (one made with Lincoln Logs and construction paper flames). However, they were perhaps equally famous for their domestic disputes and mutual rampaging heroin addiction.
In a rare moment of sobriety, Kurt slowly realizes that he married Courtney Love.
All this is pretty common knowledge, but what most people don't know is that years before Courtney Love was anyone even close to being famous (read: before she'd ever heard of Kurt Cobain), she was just a struggling actress like 98 percent of the Los Angeles population, landing her first feature film role in 1986 in the biopic Sid & Nancy, about the ill-fated relationship between Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.
We're not sure Courtney Love ever made out somewhere as classy as a dumpster.
Though ultimately cast as one of the titular couple's junkie friends (a self-fulfilling prophecy in and of itself), Love had initially auditioned to play Nancy Spungen. She even declared "I am Nancy" in her audition tape, and if you listen closely, you can hear the cosmos realigning to keep her from being a liar.
The grossest example of life imitating art.
Love was actually the first choice of director Alex Cox, but the studio wanted someone more experienced in the lead role, forcing him to give Love a smaller part, albeit one still soaked in heroin and lunacy. To recap, Courtney Love was almost cast as Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of Sid Vicious, who was in the hugely famous punk band the Sex Pistols, and the two spent most of their relationship beating the shit out of each other and doing heroin.
Cut to eight years after the movie's release, and Love's audition tape hubris had come true. She was married to Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the hugely famous band Nirvana, in a relationship fueled predominately by heroin and beating the shit out of each other. Sid Vicious and Kurt Cobain both died young (Vicious by heroin overdose, Cobain by shotgun). But while Nancy was found stabbed to death in her hotel room, Love managed to avoid the specter of a young death and is still around, doing ... something. We think.
She doesn't know, either.
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For all creepy things film-related, check out 5 Insane Celebrity Conspiracy Theories (That Make Sense) and 6 Insane Fan Theories That Actually Make Great Movies Better.
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