If you’re superstitious you’re going to love this one. There are many accounts of “cursed” movies and movie franchises – movies that were plagued with bad luck during production and filming, that were struck with bizarre accidents, mishaps, and in some instances, deaths of cast members during and after the film’s release. Even for the cynics among us, some of these uncanny events seem too spooky to ignore. Some actors seem cursed to ruin every show they ever star in, others are victims of the ‘Oscar Curse’, winning a Best Actor or Actress Oscar and then being seemingly fated to star in a string of horrible films. Then there’s that singularly strange ‘Superman Curse’: Actors involved in Superman movies are inexplicably plagued by misfortune, either during or after the making of the film. Some stars seem to be more generally cursed; those who, no matter how well liked or how talented they may be, just can’t seem to land the right roles or to get the right luck.
The Oscar curse, the Superman curse and the ‘Show-Killer’ curse have begun to be associated with certain actors in Hollywood. Once they’ve earned this dubious reputation, it’s extremely difficult to shake off. Is it just old fashioned bad luck? Or perhaps it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy; when actors fall victims to a run of unfortunate circumstances, maybe those ‘cursed’ performers inadvertently psych themselves out to the point that they’re unable to make good choices or perform to the best of their ability. Or maybe – just maybe – there really is something dark and inexplicable about these curses. After reading the tales of woe of these ten cursed actors, even the cynics may have no choice but to feel slightly discomfited…
10. Kristen Bell
Kristen Bell is one of those Hollywood actresses who’s frequently labelled as a national sweetheart, an all-round loveable Hollywood personality. She’s also earned a reputation as a fairly decent actress; yet, the majority of the films in which she has starred have been critical and commercial flops. Most of her movies – including When in Rome, Pulse, Fanboys and Burlesque – were all box-office flops that were panned by critics. Her TV sitcom Veronica Mars was cancelled – well before it’s time, most agree. The movie spin off of the same name was largely appreciated by critics, but did poorly at the box office. Bell just cannot seem to catch a break. With one particularly notable exception…
Bell’s biggest hit to date has been the Disney worldwide smash hit, Frozen, in which she played the role of Elsa’s kooky little sister, Anna. The kicker? She never actually appeared on screen – this was a voice acting role for Bell. Perhaps she’s inadvertently discovered a loophole in that Hollywood curse…
9. Christopher Reeve – Superman Curse
Christopher Reeve became the face of Superman for a new generation, taking up the mantle from George Reeves. He first starred in Superman in 1978 and took the title role in three sequels. In 1995, Reeve was competitively horse riding when he was thrown from the animal and became paralyzed. He responded to rehabilitation, but was tragically so prone to infection that he eventually died of a heart failure in 2004. The misfortunes of this second famous Superman actor only further intensified the legend of a curse around the role…
8. Adrien Brody – Oscar Curse
Once upon a time, Adrien Brody was being compared to Al Pacino, after he became the youngest male – at 29 years old – to win an Oscar for Best Actor in 2003. Today, many people might not even recognize his name. His first Hollywood leading role was his Academy Award-winning turn in “The Pianist,” an incredibly moving performance as a Polish Jewish musician during World War II. His youth, his looks, his talent and the fact that he already had an Academy Award under his belt seemed the perfect recipe for an actor with a stellar career coming his way.
Incredibly – perhaps in an attempt to become more commercially popular – he followed up The Pianist with some horrendous artistic choices including The Village and The Singing Detective, which were both panned by critics. His consequent roles have been patchy at best, and he has never come anywhere close to achieving the leading man status of Pacino, despite his obvious potential.
7. Chris Lowell – Showkiller Curse
The TV sitcom Life As We Know It ran for only a season before it got cancelled, Veronica Mars got cancelled soon after Chris Lowell joined the cast. Private Practice even started to pick up when Lowell’s character was killed off at the end of the third season. It’s a shame, really, that Lowell has fallen into the trap of the television curse because he has more than enough sex appeal and skill to have become a beloved lead TV character. Lowell appeared in a new TV comedy, Enlisted that premiered this January with 13 episodes, but Fox already made the decision not to pick it up for a second season due to low ratings, despite critical acclaim. The curse continues…
6. Cuba Gooding, Jr. – Oscar Curse
“Show Me The Money!” became the catchphrase of the year after Cuba Gooding, Jr.’s role in the 1996 film Jerry Maguire, which saw him bring home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He then fell victim to the Oscar Curse by choosing roles in controversial films, such as Pearl Harbor and the movie Boat Trip which was generally believed to have a low-brow, homophobic undertone. Both roles failed to do the actor justice and despite his charisma and showbiz personality, Gooding, Jr. turned out to be a one hit wonder rather than the Hollywood A-lister everyone expected of the Oscar winning Jerry Maguire stand-out.
5. Georges Reeves – Superman Curse
Even though actors had played the role of Superman before Georges Reeves did, he became the first really memorable and recognizable face of the superhero and the first definitive Superman by starring in the TV series The Adventures of Superman that ran from 1951-1957. Reeves also became the first Superman actor to have a horrible fate befall him, initiating what’s now known as the Superman Curse. He became so closely associated with the role of Superman that it was practically impossible for him to land a successful role in anything else, therefore his career became damned and was nearing an end. It reached a further end when Reeves was found dead in 1959 – just days before he was supposed to get married – of an apparent suicide, but controversy still surrounds his death.
4. Matthew Perry – Showkiller Curse
Matthew Perry is of course best known for his character Chandler Bing on the classic TV sitcom Friends, where he clearly demonstrates that his talent is not a factor in his consequent TV curse. After a wildly successful career starring in Friends for 10 years, Perry tried multiple times with multiple TV sitcoms to reignite his former success. He featured in three TV sitcoms over the years, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Mr. Sunshine and Go On – all of which got cancelled after their first seasons. After developing a brilliant character over a 10-year period, Perry can’t seem to get another one right. He’s set to star in a new TV sitcom in 2015, The Odd Couple, and clearly the ‘odds’ are against him.
3. Halle Berry – Oscar Curse
In 2002, Halle Berry made history when she became the first African American woman to win an Oscar in the Best Actress category for her role in Monster’s Ball. Her tear-filled speech was an unforgettable moment in Hollywood history, and in her career. After her outstanding winning performance as a grieving mother, Berry had her pick of movie roles, but she fell horribly short in making good career decisions. Shortly after her win, she starred in the psychological thriller Gothika, which was met with a negative response from critics. She then followed up with the box-office bomb Catwoman, for which she even picked up a Razzie Award for Worst Actress. She has reprised her role as Storm in three X-Men sequels since her Oscar win, and she did feature as a Bond girl just after Monster’s Ball, but her formidable acting talent has taken a back seat to superficial roles which showcased her good looks.
2. Jerry O’Connell – Showkiller Curse
Jerry O’Connell has had quite a few successful TV shows to put to his name, but he also has a longer list of failed sitcoms than almost any TV show. In 1995, he played Quinn Mallory on Sliders for five seasons and he played a detective in Crossing Jordan for six seasons in the early 2000s, but after that O’Connell hit a serious bad luck streak which he has yet to break.
His show-killing reputation started with Do Not Disturb in 2008 and he proceeded to work his way through around 14 failed sitcoms in the last six years – all of which failed to get past the first season. Some of these include Rex is Not Your Lawyer, Eastwick and Satisfaction.
1. Marlon Brando – Superman Curse
Marlon Brando is an indisputably acclaimed actor, known for iconic roles such as A Streetcar Named Desire, On The Waterfront and The Godfather. However, he also became a victim of the Superman curse when he agreed to associate himself with the film playing Superman’s father in 1978’s Superman alongside Christopher Reeve.
Brando had a tumultuous private life after his involvement in the movie. In 1990, Brando’s son was sent to prison for 10 years for murdering the boyfriend of his half-sister and five years later this same sister, Brando’s daughter, committed suicide. In the years following, the once strikingly handsome actor quickly let himself go and eventually died of respiratory failure and heart failure in 2004, about four months before his Superman co-star, Christopher Reeve.