5 Movies That Chewed Up Actors And Spit Them Out
The life of a movie star can be a perilous one. From the time-consuming paternity suits and rehab stints, to dealing with the constant encroachment of filthy public interlopers on the pristine sands of one's private beach, fame is often a picnic that's filled with unsavory ants.
But it's not just the outside trappings that are to blame -- sometimes, it's the movies themselves that wreak hardship and woe upon the actors involved. Like the time ...
Die Hard Left Bruce Willis Partially Deaf
For a while, Bruce Willis was the coolest man on the planet, but as the years (and the hairs) have piled up, he has slowly morphed into a cantankerous coot. (A coot who could kick your ass, sure, but a coot nonetheless.) But there's a good reason why he appears so constantly frustrated, craning his neck and furrowing his brow as if he's struggling mightily to keep up with the flow of conversation. That reason is: Die Hard.
The man, it turns out, sacrificed his physical well-being to bring us the scruffy perfection that is John McClane. In his own words, "Due to an accident on the first Die Hard, I suffer two-thirds partial hearing loss in my left ear and have a tendency to say, 'Whaaa?'" So he's not just being willfully obtuse for the sake of being obnoxious, it seems. While defending her Pops from all the snarky internet jerks making fun of his performance-arty interviews, Willis' daughter Rumer elaborated: "I think part of the problem is sometimes he can't hear ... because he shot a gun off next to his ear when he was doing Die Hard a long time ago, so he has partial hearing loss in his ears."
Hearing loss, or, as exactly zero medical professionals call it, "Hans' Revenge."
So don't judge Bruce too harshly when he grumps like a gramps every time he gets near a microphone. In addition to the eardrum thing, his daughter described another increasingly difficult and painful hurdle he must face every day: "I think he just has this vibe where he feels like he's gotta kinda do a cool man ." OK, you could have just said that.
Star Trek: Nemesis Made Tom Hardy Smoke Crack
Many people don't know Tom Hardy starred in a Star Trek film. Tom Hardy wishes he was in that group -- early on in his career, he appeared in Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) as Captain Picard's younger, sulkier, telepathic rapist-ier clone. It was not a good movie, and the 25-year-old actor dealt with this fact by self-medicating with booze and crack cocaine.
That's the diametric opposite reaction we'd have upon finding out we'd turn into Patrick Stewart someday.
Not that Hardy wasn't prone to self-destructive behavior in the first place. In an interview, he recalled an incident when he was just 11 and a police officer visited his school to warn the kids about the hazards of sniffing glue. It, um, didn't have the intended effect. Long story short, he was arrested for joyriding while in possession of a firearm at age 17. It wasn't until he woke up in an alleyway, wallowing in a puddle of (presumably his own) puke and blood, that he decided to check himself into rehab.
Hardy stayed on the relative straight and narrow, and his choice to pursue acting paid off as he landed roles in Black Hawk Down and the acclaimed Band Of Brothers miniseries. And when got cast as the main villain in Nemesis, many believed he was on track to become Hollywood's next A-list leading man. Unfortunately, Nemesis was to the Star Trek franchise what George Lucas' prequels were to, uh, cinema in general. The movie flopped like a boardwalk halibut, sending Hardy to a place where he would've "sold mother for a rock of crack."
He's since kicked the habit, and things have gotten better for him, obviously. But like all addicts, the "400lb orangutan that wants to kill me" on his back must be held at bay on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis. Hardy being driven to drugs, Wil Wheaton getting hate mail, thousands get bullied in school -- how long will we allow Star Trek to terrorize our youth?
Groundhog Day Destroyed Bill Murray's Friendship With Harold Ramis
The friendship between comedy icons Bill Murray and the late Harold "Egon" Ramis produced some of the funniest moments this world has seen: the duo worked on, among many things, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, and Groundhog Day.
Those are some of the funniest comedies ever made, and also Ghostbusters II.
Unfortunately, what might be their most transcendental film was also when it all went to shit.
Murray didn't have to dig very deep to find the crotchetiness in the character of cursed weatherman Phil Connors -- his marriage was falling apart and from all accounts he was a surly mess. His bad attitude may have worked out well for the role, but it also resulted in his behavior becoming that dreaded bogeyman of directors everywhere: "difficult." Disagreements became the rule of the day, with Ramis shooting for a nice little comedy while Murray wanted the film to be a deep exploration of the human condition. Their creative partnership eventually devolved to the point where Murray constantly showed up late to call times and was, as Ramis tells it, "irrationally mean and unavailable" when he did honor the set with his presence.
Another factor, according to friends of the pair, was Murray's annoyance at people who saw Ramis as instrumental to his success, simply because every other movie he made without the guy sucked. How dare they?
After the movie was done, the two didn't speak for decades. While Ramis was always open to the rekindling of their friendship, and even admitted to having recurring dreams about them becoming pals again, Murray rebuffed every overture for 21 years. The pair reportedly made up on Ramis' deathbed in 2014, where they discussed their lives and the Chicago Cubs, which -- at least up until 2016 -- was the sort of topic that paired well with ruminating on a lifetime of lost opportunities.
Napoleon Dynamite's Pedro Had Evil Twin Troubles
Despite having exhortations to vote for his character plastered on every tchotchke at the mall circa 2006, the actor behind Pedro in the quirky classic Napoleon Dynamite, Efren Ramirez, didn't exactly go onto huge things after becoming instantly recognizable worldwide. He's not a rail-riding troubadour or anything, but his fame was sufficient enough to cause his life to become a drama-filled mess.
You see, Efren has an identical twin named Carlos, and reports suggest the latter may lack the sweet-natured, well-intentioned soul of Pedro. Striking while Efren's fame was still blazingly, well, warm, Carlos began posing as his brother at public appearances. He claims that he only did so at the request of Efren, who was "too busy" to make it to every social engagement that his agent lined up for him. Carlos did admit, however, at least one breach of fraternal etiquette: "I did attend an event without his knowledge as I was being immature and wanted to get back at him for a personal matter which involved the girl I was dating at the time." He didn't elaborate on that, presumably hoping a studio buys the rights to the full story.
This lends further credence to our theory that being a twin is just a nonstop cavalcade of romantic subterfuge.
What suggests that Carlos' hijinks weren't all that innocent after all is the fact that Efren threatened to sue him, and slapped him with a cease-and-desist order so that unsuspecting attendees of boat shows would no longer be tricked into worshiping a false Pedro. After all of that, Carlos remained upbeat about the possibility of reconciling with his estranged brother: "I would love to talk to Efren. Maybe even work together in the future. His support would be amazing. I think it's safe to say the magnitude of Napoleon Dynamite and everything that has come along with it, has ruined my relationship with my twin." In other words, it's the movie's fault and he learned exactly bupkis.
An Injury During Syriana Made George Clooney Contemplate Suicide
The political thriller Syriana was kind of a monkey's paw situation for George Clooney. Sure, his role of CIA operative Bob Barnes earned him an Oscar for best supporting actor, but it came at the cost of excruciating, months-long, potentially life-ending pain.
During the scene where Clooney's strapped to a chair and receiving a pummeling/ fingernail removal procedure in the course of his governmental duties, the chair tipped over and caused the actor to go bonk on the concrete. Here he is explaining what happened next: "I tore my dura, which is the wrap around my spine that holds in the spinal fluid. But it's not my back; it's my brain. I basically bruised my brain. It's bouncing around my head because it's not supported by the spinal fluid."
So that's what made Tomorrowland seem like a good idea.
We joke, but for Clooney it was dead serious. The resulting headaches drove him to distraction, and he refused to take any meds for them out of fear of becoming part of the opioid addiction epidemic that's all the rage today.
Concentrating was not an easy task, and he was reduced to writing his lines on scraps of paper for his performance in Good Night, And Good Luck. It got so bad that Clooney admits suicide started looking like a reasonable option. Eventually, a neurologist got to the bottom of his problem and solved the issue with multiple surgeries, and Clooney's greatest preoccupation went back to being psychologically tormenting his best friends.
E. Reid Ross is the author of Nature Is The Worst: 500 Reasons You'll Never Want To Go Outside Again, which is in stores now and available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Also check out 5 Iconic Roles That Made Actors' Lives A Living Hell and 7 Famous Actors In Hit Movies (That Were A Personal Hell).
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