5 Roles That Really Screwed With Actors' Heads

Sometimes a role can take a toll.
5 Roles That Really Screwed With Actors' Heads

Acting sounds like a pretty sweet gig. You put on a fake mustache and get to yell with Chris Hemsworth about closing the portal or whatever. However, sometimes roles can take a toll, and actors have found themselves still dealing with the emotional side effects of playing certain characters years after the production wrapped. For example ...

Linda Blair Had To Go On Tour To Prove She Wasn't Possessed By Satan

The Exorcist is shocking even now, as it turns out that no generation of moviegoer is quite ready to handle a demonically possessed little girl masturbating with a crucifix. But when the film was released in 1973, people went batshit crazy, and a lot of that was focused on the movie's then-14-year-old star, Linda Blair.

Blair received death threats. Reverend Billy Graham, famous for his subtlety, declared Satan was in every frame of the film. And some folks believed Blair was actually possessed. As if being 14 isn't horrifying enough, Blair had strangers saying Hail Marys when they saw her. " A lot of the South wanted to pretty much hang me," she said, "put me up on the cross and burn me because they thought that I was that, not realizing I was just a child and it was job ..."

And so Warner Bros. sent the actress on a worldwide tour to convince people she wasn't a devil child, and she makes it sound like the worst thing you can do to a literal tenth-grader: "I'm in front of, at that time you had 500 reporters in a room, not one-on-one; that didn't exist. You had microphones and each one would ask questions and it was always the same; and their eyes; they truly were asking about good and evil and possession and how did it happen."

Nowadays, Blair is mostly known for the particularly satanic role of being an ... animal welfare advocate and forming the nonprofit Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation, which has saved the lives of countless abused and neglected dogs. The devil truly works in mysterious ways.

Related: 5 Iconic Roles That Made Actors' Lives A Living Hell

Halloween Scared A Child Actress So Badly That She Slept With Her Mom Until She Was 15

Nowadays, Kyle Richards is famous for being one of the less awful Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, but back in the 1970s, she was a busy child actress. She played Lindsey Wallace in the original Halloween, and generally enjoyed the production. That part makes sense. If you've ever seen Halloween, you know that she spends most of the film sitting on a couch and chatting with Jamie Lee Curtis. A perfect situation, really. In fact, her family didn't even understand this was a horror film. But that all changed when Richards went to the premiere.

"After seeing myself in that," she later said, "I was always thinking there was someone hiding behind the drapes or outside my windows or under my bed." And sure, nearly every child has seen a movie that's a little too scary or confusing for them to handle, but Richards was so traumatized she slept with her mother until she was 15.

As an adult, Richards still suffers from anxiety which she's described as crippling, much of it centering on keeping her own children safe. When a fan asked if shooting horror movies as a kid had something to do with her anxiety, Richards tweeted back: "100%." We're not saying it'd have necessarily helped, but maybe from now on, just tell the kids what kind of movie they're in ahead of time.

Related: 5 Celebrities Whose Lives Got Ruined By Their Movies

Jim Carrey Seems To Have Actually Lost His Mind Playing Andy Kaufman

After spending his career playing a pet detective, a man in a supernatural mask, a dumb guy who's friends with a dumber guy, and the Riddler, Jim Carrey finally got the chance to show off that he was a real Actor with a capital A when he starred in the biopic about comedian Andy Kaufman, Man On The Moon. And while he gives a solid performance, the true depths of his method acting madness weren't revealed at the time because, Carrey says, Universal didn't want him to look like an asshole.

That all changed with the Netflix documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, which showed Carrey go to such disturbing extremes that even Jared Leto would probably tell him to take it down a notch. Carrey describes going to the beach and being telepathically contacted by Kaufman's ghost, who announced his arrival by making a school of dolphins surface, then tapped Carrey on the shoulder and said, "Sit down. I'll be doin' my movie." What happened afterwards, Carrey said, was out of his control. Yeah. Sure, Jim.

If you've seen the movie, you know that Kaufman had his own alter ego, an uncouth lounge singer called Tony Clifton, and to portray Clifton, Carrey took up heavy boozing, smoking, and assholery. He made everybody call him Tony on set, snubbed a visiting studio head, and forced Oscar-winning director Milos Forman to grovel before him. Carrey even stormed into Steven Spielberg's office as Clifton, demanding to see the director so he could complain about the "phony" shark in Jaws. If your name was Jim Carrey, I'm sure it was all hilarious.

As Carrey stopped caring about the damage he might do to his reputation, he also seemingly stopped caring for his own safety. To recreate Kaufman's famous (staged) Late Night With David Letterman brawl with wrestler Jerry Lawler, Carrey did everything he could to anger Lawler, including spitting on him. The resulting fight landed Carrey in the hospital and led to a lasting media feud. Maybe it was all actually a clever prank, just like Lawler and Kaufman's original feud. But if it wasn't, maybe someone should've told 140-pounds-while-soaking-wet Jim Carrey to not piss off a dude who'd spent his entire career throwing bodybuilders around.

Sadly, there's nothing clever about the scene in Jim & Andy in which Carrey, in character as Clifton, puts a bag on his head and drives a car into a wall, insisting, "I got it! I got it!" And if you think this was just an unlucky phase the actor went through, you're wrong. Carrey had difficulty shaking the Kaufman, and was still in character as him when he began work on The Grinch, giving director Ron Howard notes as Kaufman. And you thought The Grinch was just awful in front of the camera.

Related: 7 Famous Actors Who Lost Their Minds Getting Into Character

The Star Of The Blair Witch Project Had To Be Dead For A Year

You might not know Heather Donahue's name, but you know her nostrils. Her extremely close-up, snot-drenched meltdown scene in The Blair Witch Project became iconic, as the film became super popular and every comedian with a pulse rushed to parody it. Unfortunately, what happened to her after the release was almost as nightmarish as anything in it.

The actors were playing "themselves," and they all mysteriously vanish at the end. So as part of the film's marketing, Donahue had to play dead for months. She read her own obituary when she was 24, and her mother received condolence cards. Donahue later wrote: "It's a complicated thing to be dead when you're still very much alive and eager to make a name for yourself."

She lived in a bizarre purgatory, famous but "dead" ... and dead broke. One day, the 1984 Celica she'd bought with her temping pay overheated yet again, and she ended up stuck under a billboard with her own face on it. But when people learned Donahue was alive, they were angry, pissed for some reason that they hadn't ACTUALLY watched a group of friends get killed by supernatural forces. Strangers told her they wished she was dead, and she still has to deal with conspiracy theories that she's impersonating herself: "There are some people online who think that we are hired shills because those kids really did die and we've been hired to be them so that nobody will get arrested."

She eventually gave up on Hollywood, and while Donahue ended up enjoying the film, her feelings about it are ... complicated. She actually compares Blair Witch to cancer: "Maybe, like, a light, smaller skin-type cancer. And now you have the scar, and wow: Wasn't that great that you've survived it, and you've come through the other side?" Yeah! Wait, what?

Related: 13 Roles That Affected Actors In Ways Nobody Could Predict

After Roger Rabbit, Bob Hoskins Couldn't Stop Seeing Cartoon Weasels

Who Framed Roger Rabbit wouldn't work nearly as well as it does without Bob Hoskins making all the cartoon craziness around him feel real. He's so focused that when he's handcuffed to a talking bunny or being chased by weasels with Tommy guns, that you feel as if he can actually see those characters. And that's because Hoskins really did see them.

As Hoskins described it, "I think I went a bit mad while working on that. Lost my mind. The voice of the rabbit was there just behind the camera all the time. You had to know where the rabbit would be at every angle. Then there was Jessica Rabbit and all these weasels. The trouble was, I had learnt how to hallucinate."

When production wrapped, Hoskins was still seeing 3D cartoon animals everywhere. And while those creepy weasels in Roger Rabbit traumatized a generation of kids, the ones Hoskins saw were so, so much worse: "I went to this one (party) where I got talking to a very county lady with a big hat and there was this weasel in her hat with a big prick!" So he wasn't just seeing weasels, but giant weasel dicks. Truly a fate worse than death, or at least worse than starring in Super Mario Bros.

Hoskins was trapped in some DeviantArt furry erotica nightmare, but things got creepy in a whole new Twilight Zone-y way when he was playing with his daughter. The actor had a history of imaginary friends, dreaming up one when he was a child and another (a pretty lady) when he was lonely after a rough divorce, but he'd never actually seen them. Then one day, after filming Roger Rabbit, Hoskins was shocked to actually see his daughter's imaginary friend Jeffrey. She eventually let him know with the kind of cockney bluntness that makes it impossible not to picture her as a tiny version of her father: "Dad, slow down, slow down. You're going barmy, mate."

It was bad enough that Hoskins' doctors advised him to take some time off work, and he wound up staying away for a year. He eventually returned to acting, working regularly until shortly before his death in 2014. As far as we know, he never again hallucinated any more sexualized cartoon animals. Or maybe he just stopped talking about it.

For more, check out 8 Quirks Of Famous Actors You Will Never Unsee - The Spit Take:

 Also, we'd love to know more about you and your interesting lives, dear readers. If you spend your days doing cool stuff, drop us a line at iDoCoolStuff at Cracked dot com, and maybe we can share your story with the entire internet.

Follow us on Facebook. And we'll follow you everywhere.

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?