4 Times Actors Unsettlingly Proved That Life Imitates Art
The idea of life imitating art is meant to be a statement on how art affects how people view the world. It’s not supposed to be a creepy prophecy on things to come. After all, it seems highly unlikely that when Oscar Wilde originally wrote about the phenomenon, he had “Simpsons Did It” in mind.
Regardless, sometimes that’s exactly what happens, with varying unsettling degrees of accuracy. When it does, you can count on Twitter trotting out the old chestnut in some quote tweets and liberal use of spooky emoji blocks. But we can all agree that it’s particularly uncanny when, either through pure coincidence or maybe a little bit of leaked personal tendency, an actor ends up accidentally predicting events of their own life on-screen.
Along those lines, here are four cases of actors accidentally giving us eerie, creepy or straight-up icky foreshadowing…
Chris D’Elia Playing A Pedophile
You’d think that the role of a pedophile is one no actor is particularly keen to take. Especially for serious actors, the idea of mental trauma coming from inhabiting despicable characters is nothing new. All you have to do is talk to any guy in a Joker T-shirt to hear about it. So playing a pedophile in two separate TV shows in a single career starts to feel super questionable. Almost as questionable as taking those roles while having what could be generously described as some highly sickening accusations of sexual contact with underage women.
So when those exact sort of accusations came out about comedian and modern stool-fucking artist Chris D’Elia, people were quick to make the connections. He’d played a pedophile in both the Netflix series You and the Comedy Central show Workaholics while, purportedly, carrying around a phone full of 16-year-old chat-ups the whole time. Comedy Central pulled the episode from its catalog, and D’Elia thankfully faded into obscurity. Just kidding! Clubs continued to book him and, literally as this article is coming out, brand new sexual abuse accusations involving him are dropping.
What were they supposed to do, find another guy who can imitate annoying drunk girls on stage?
Louis C.K. Masturbation Scene
Another unfortunate revelation of the male-comedian-to-sex-creep pipeline a couple years ago were the accusations made against Louis C.K. Principal among them was a claim of the comedian masturbating in front of female comedians without their consent. Confusingly, how acceptable this was became a point of argument in comments sections the world over, despite the fact that “not jerking off in front of co-workers” feels like a bit of a no brainer. If you lock somebody into the walk-in freezer at a Carrabba’s and make them watch a wild-eyed orgasm, guess what? You don’t get to work at Carrabba’s anymore.
In retrospect, it certainly cast a gross light on a scene from C.K.’s eponymous show Louie where he informs a female TV host that he’s going to jerk off to her whether she likes it or not. Given the fact that Louie is famously an auteur-style production in which C.K. controlled almost every aspect, it’s harder to swallow as an unfortunate writers’ room pitch and seems more likely to have possibly been drawn from a particularly harmful pit of C.K.’s own psyche.
Rutger Hauer’s 2019 Death
After the deep unpleasantness of the last two entries, I regret to inform you that this one isn’t cheerful either. It comes from a realization of a science-fiction movie correctly calling a very specific and tragic shot as far as one of its stars goes.
Roy Batty, the replicant who (spoiler alert) dies in Blade Runner, is one of Rutger Hauer’s most memorable roles. The death of Roy Batty is also a central event in the film, and the speech given as his character dies, known colloquially as the “tears in the rain” speech, is genuinely iconic. So when the actor himself passed away in 2019, fans were quick to remember that the year 2019, portrayed as a flying-car future in the movie, is the exact year of Roy Batty’s death. If nothing else, it made for maybe the world’s most obvious memorial tweets.
Peter Capaldi’s Doctor Who Credit Nod
After three entries of death and assault, you, emotionally exhausted reader, more than deserve a fun one. So I shall provide a delightful casting coincidence free of trauma or human expiration. This one revolves around Peter Capaldi, known for playing the hero of nerds trying to pull off a scarf the world over, Doctor Who. I’m certainly not going to describe myself as a “Whovian,” and truth be told, it made my fingertips cringe to even type that. Nevertheless, I understand that who is chosen to wield what I am being told is genuinely called a “sonic screwdriver” is important to some people.
That wasn’t Capaldi’s only role at the time, however. While portraying the (good lord) 12th Doctor in the sci-fi show’s run, he also had a role in the big-budget zombie flop World War Z as a World Health Organization doctor. In other words, playing a WHO doctor, while being Doctor Who. Winkingly, he was credited with this exact nomenclature. Whether this delightful, Seuss-like bit of tongue-turning was pure coincidence or a conscious choice by the people working on World War Z, it’s an opportunity I’m glad they didn’t miss.