There are roles, and then there are roles. There are good roles that kick-started famous careers, and oppositely, they are roles so bad that they effectively ended the careers of many stars and starlets. You remember some actors only for the memorable characters they played and despise others for depicting what the rotten core of humanity really looks like. Some roles get the actors who played them accolades and awards and a paycheck hike like none other. And still, other roles are so traumatic, for various reasons that they leave their actors with a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. Think Tippy Hedren in Birds where she was filmed with actual crows making a go for her head (according to her, because she wouldn’t hook up with the director, the famous Alfred Hitchcock). There was also Maria Schneider’s shock and humiliation when the infamous “butter” scene took place in Last Tango in Paris without her having been informed beforehand.
You might contest that these scenes were traumatic because the actors were manipulated by the directors, and we agree. But even Tom Hanks chose to starve himself and remain in isolation for filming The Castaway and even Philadelphia before that. And can we mention Christian Bale in The Machinist or even Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight? So while 2017 did not bring anything so drastic for the actors, here are 15 movies and movie scenes of 2017 that must have traumatized the actors enacting them.
15 Jack Dylan Grazer & Bill Skarsgard In It
The new It movie starts Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the clown and young Jack Dylan Grazer plays Eddie Kaspbrak. Skarsgard as Pennywise found himself scary enough to keep away from the little ones on the set but thinks that he really did scare Jack, who plays Eddie. “It was my first day of shooting and we deliberately kept me separate from the kids,” said Skarsgard. “There was this one scene, very intense, and on my first day so I needed to get into character… And in the scene, I walk out and approach him and it’s very intense, I’m right in his face, drooling all over him and he’s crying. We blocked it briefly and then did it… and I’m doing this clown thing and screaming. Part of Pennywise is he hates kids… And I approach him and scream in his face and we’re doing the scene, and he’s crying and gagging, and in the back of my head I’m like, ‘oh my God, I’m traumatizing this child! What am I doing?’” All of the young actors in this film are sure to have nightmares about clowns for years to come.
14 Nicole Kidman In Little Big Lies
The HBO series Little Big Lies has been critically acclaimed and most agree that all the actors did exceptional work in it, be it Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley or Alexander Skarsgard. Kidman plays Celeste who is married to Perry (Skarsgard) and basically is in an abusive relationship where boundaries between love, intimacy, and pain are all crossed and tangled. About her character, Kidman said, “I feel weird talking about it... It’s probably one of the hardest roles I’ve had to talk about because I’m still very raw about it if that makes any kind of sense. When I walked away from [the character], I remember thinking that was the deepest I’ve gone in terms of finding and losing things. After we shot some of the really, really violent scenes, I was in a lot of pain myself... It was very strange... It wasn’t a good feeling, I have to say. But women go through this, so I wanted to tap into the truth of it, and I wanted to be real in those scenes, so that’s what it required — an element of violence.” Nicole Kidman really threw herself into her work, and that included all the physical and emotional trauma that comes with domestic abuse.
13 The Real Cast In Casting JonBenet
The murder of JonBenet Ramsey, a 6-year-old aspiring star, took most of America with surprise and sadness, and it remains a sensational case like never before. Th case was never solved and the fascination still remains. Casting JonBenet is a documentary in which the director, Kitty Green, put out a casting call in the Boulder area, inviting people to audition for any role in the Ramsey case. Many people came and Green told them to be careful about what they would say in the casting process, for the material could be used in the film. Of course, there was no film and the entire premise was to let these “actors” present their views on the case. The film was basically pieced together from these audition tapes and holds a mirror not just to the actors in it, but also the audience. No answers are given to no questions are asked – it’s just a way of showing people how their thinking is altered by their own life-changing experiences. The actors of this movie/documentary must have been traumatized though, after seeing all that they had divulged even after the warning. Many of the participants probably felt deceived and emotionally manipulated.
12 Casey Affleck In A Ghost Story
“I may be unusual, I can’t say for sure in this regard, but when I heard that I was like, 'I’m totally in.' The idea of being hidden somehow was so appealing to me. And David doesn’t have to persuade me. I have so much fun working with him and Rooney and his producers. It was a three-second conversation.” This is what Casey Affleck had to say about A Ghost Story in which he plays, literally, a sheet-covered ghost who haunts the house that he and his wife were to move in. As a role, all the acting and the angst had to come through that sheet. Plus Casey was supposed to still for most of the shoot and his movements had to be very small and literally mechanical. Acting through stillness and covered with a boo-white sheet reminiscent of kindergarten Halloween was Casey’s thing and somehow, while not many watched the movie – he came out to be the most haunting hero of 2017.
11 Kristen Stewart In Personal Shopper
Kristen Stewart said about her film Personal Shopper, "I was like, 'Oh man, this is going to kill me, I can tell.' I have experience with a loss but I don't have experience with mourning death. I think there are few catalysts that send you unanswerable, existential questions that are very necessary. But not satisfying because there's no resolve, but they're very necessary to move forward. It's either traumatic, traumatic events such as death and loss on a grand scale, or extreme physical anxiety." The film required so much from Kristen emotionally and physically, and demanded her to come face-to-face with the kind of trauma that most people like to suppress in their day-to-day lives. Kristen goes on to explain the complex feelings she had to parse in the making of the film, and it shows just how strenuous and difficult this role was for her.
10 Idris Elba In 100 Streets
100 Streets is widely believed to be an average movie because we have all seen Idris Elba do better, and we don’t just mean his spine-chilling voiceover of Shere Khan in The Jungle Book. But what might persuade Elba’s fans into watching this movie is that it features Elba's second ever revealing scene in a film, as he shares a scene with on-screen wife Gemma Arterton. The first one was when he and Kate Winslet shot a rather aggressive scene in the 2017 flick, The Mountain Between Us, which he called “a frightening mix of nerves and total aggression.” Was he okay with the vulnerability of the scene? He said, “These scenes though are definitely challenging, Gemma is a pro and [director] Jim O’Hanlon gave us a skeleton set, so it just made it a lot easier to do. But it’s always difficult to do.” Do it for the fans, Elba!
9 Sebastian Stan In I, Tonya
Anybody who has ever followed figure skating has to remember the infamous case of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan – where the former staged an attack on the latter to take out the competition, so to speak. The movie features Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding and Sebastian Stan as Jeff Gillooly, Harding’s ex. Sebastian, however, was scared as hell of his role. Why? He said, “I’ve never been ice skating, ever. I’m traumatized by the idea of it. Look, see those kids out there, falling. I keep thinking that I’m going to fall, and then someone is going to come by and cut my wrists off with one of their blades. So I’m much happier on the sidelines, as a spectator.” Frankly, after the very visual depiction, we kind of agree with him. So why did Stan take on the role of Gillooly? Replied Stan, “I, Tonya has an incredible script. As an actor, my job is to ‘tell the story.’ So I did.”
8 Maggie Gyllenhaal In The Deuce
The TV series The Deuce focuses on the legalization of the adult industry in 1970s New York. Which means, to make an actual and “real” series, it would have to feature a ton of filthy language with some shocking scenes. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Candy Merrell, an escort turned adult film businesswoman. Now Maggie is no stranger to revealing scenes, for before there was Fifty Shades, there was The Secretary. But she was youthful then and now age is catching up with her, so this was a role that she really thought about before accepting. Once she said yes, she accepted it and totally immersed herself in it and even tuned producer for the series – to be able to have a say in the way the role shaped as well. And this is not a role that was easy to play. Gyllenhaal admits it was tough to play Candy and immerse herself in the seedy salaciousness of the world of adult film, escorting and transactional relationships, and the revealing scenes that accompanied it.
7 Henry Cavill In Justice League
So what could be so traumatic about playing Superman? Well, nothing actually. Except Henry Cavill was asked to perform reshoots for the movie, while he was already mid-shooting on Mission: Impossible 6, and so was sporting a large, bushy mustache. Paramount refused to allow Cavill to shave his mustache since growing it back would have meant delays for M:I6. But Warner Bros refused to wait for Superman to get a shave and so they decided to go ahead with reshooting Cavill's scenes with the mustache. They used CGI to digitally remove it in post-production but the results were at best, uneven and painfully apparent. The term stiff upper lip got a whole new meaning in Justice League and turned Cavill into a laughing stock with tons of memes referring rather unfavorably to "MustacheGate!" Poor Superman, and poor Cavill.
6 Cate Blanchett’s 13 Roles In Manifesto
Cate Blanchett is the perfect role muse – she can effortlessly play so many diverse roles that working with her is probably every director’s dream. But in Manifesto, she surpasses even herself. The movie is complex, in which Blanchett plays 13 different characters who give speeches of famous people like Karl Marx, Guy Debord, Tristan Tzara, Yvonne Rainer and Lars von Trier. Blanchett appears multiple roles of a homeless person, a woman at dinner, a hazmat-suited plant worker, a widow speaking at a funeral, and more. Her initial response to the script? “I was rather distressed, but, you know, I’d already said yes. The amount of text was nerve-wracking. I’ve never been an exhibitionist, and this required me to push myself to the limit - but I’ve never been afraid of failing. I do it constantly!” It may seem effortless but Manifesto, shot in just 12 days, is Cate Blanchett as you’ve never seen before.
5 Alicia Vikander And Cara Delevingne In Tulip Fever
The movie Tulip Fever was delayed forever. Finally, it was released in 2017 without fanfare in August and pulled in only $7 million against a $25 million cost. Embarrassing? Yup. Especially when both the actresses, Alicia Vikander and Cara Delevingne had a difficult scene to film. Now the thing is, however of a prude these actresses may not be, and however comfortable they may be with revealing themselves – romantic scenes are no cakewalk to do. Being vulnerable in such a way in front of many people who are trying to capture every nuance of your face and body, and pretending to not be uncomfortable is tough. Since these actresses are stripping for cinema as art, and doing these scenes always leaves a little mark on their minds and souls, the least people could have done was appreciate them. Unfortunately, the movie was boring as hell and not many people appreciated the story, the acting or the shocking scene.
4 Arnaud Valois And Nahuel Pérez Biscayart In Beats Per Minute
While Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and Sean Penn in Milk played gay characters beautifully, when it comes to portraying every painful emotion and joyous celebration of the characters onscreen, B.P.M. (Beats Per Minute) is way different. Arnaud Valois and Nahuel Pérez Biscayart play lovers and AIDS activists but there the angelic beauty ends. B.P.M. doesn’t shy away from the grittier aspects of the story, like many films about diseases and dying do, especially when AIDS is involved. Despite the disease and its fatality, B.P.M. displays intimacy in all its simple complexity. The most moving scene of 2017? A scene in a Paris hospital room: brave, defiant, and beautiful. Nahuel found the movie tough on many levels for he is playing Sean, a man who is dying and had to alter himself physically, losing weight to look ill. Valois, who was moonlighting as a masseur in Thailand found the movie emotionally gruelling, enough to half almost quit midway. But that’s the price of a masterpiece.
3 Teresa Palmer In Berlin Syndrome
Any fan of slasher horror or movies like The Room would have loved Berlin Syndrome. The film is actually a scary AF watch, combining s*xual anxiety horror (as is shown in the punishment of promiscuity in slasher films) with more of trapped and claustrophobic terror. Intimacy and vulnerability go hand in hand in movies like these, as well as being absolutely terrified. Hacksaw Ridge star Teresa Palmer stars as the victim who has a one night stand with a teacher, who obviously turns into a villain and holds her captive. She wants to escape but for that, she has to work on showing sympathy and giving emotional support to her captor, especially after discovering that she was not the first woman he’s held there. The kind of psychological backstory Teresa needed to construct to act out her heart shows some gumption and obviously, roles like these are never easy to play. They linger long after the movie has come and gone.
2 Everybody Who Watched Kingsman: The Golden Circle
While Poppy Delevingne has vociferously defended the scene, as has Taron Egerton, the audience was mostly disgusted, appalled and very unamused by it all. What are we talking about? The romantic scene in Kingsman: The Golden Circle where Eggsy (Egerton) meets up with former Kingsman trainee Charlie's ex-girlfriend Clara Von Gluckfberg (Delevingne) and has to plant a tracker on her. The job requires Eggsy to plant it on Clara in a way that disturbed many viewers. Eggsy is shown doing this task, and the scene gets quite graphic.. The scene is gross and shocking simply for the sake of being gross and shocking, and unfunny to boot. While the director doesn't care, it's definitely a scene no one in the audience wants to see again. Ever.
1 Everybody Who Acted In Or Watched Geostorm
Despite Gerard Butler, Abbie Cornish, Ed Harris and Andy Garcia – Geostorm ended up being a totally ridiculous movie that tried to marry a typical presidential crisis with some insane sci-fi stuff. Case in point, there’s a facepalm-inducing moment in the President of the United States (Andy García) is kidnapped by Max (Jim Sturgess) and his fiancée Sarah (Cornish) to protect him being assassinated by the evil Secretary of State (Ed Harris). Here the President lambastes the two for committing treason, after which a giant crane starts to topple directly into their path. Sarah drives skillfully and saves them all. The “kidnapped” president turns to Max and tells him, "Marry her." Enough to swear off cinema as an art form altogether, or frankly, even as entertainment too. So everybody who acted in the movie must be traumatized as far as we are concerned, as are we for having watched it!