Top 10 Movies That Reflect Actors' Own Lives

When you’re an actor, linking your latest movie to your personal life is a sure-fire way to get a bit of media attention. “This movie in which I play someone having a nervous breakdown means a lot to me, for I too had a nervous breakdown that I never mentioned or showed any signs of having during a weekend when I wasn’t making a movie in 2009,” you might say, secure in the knowledge that “Robbo’s Secret Crack-Up” will be across the internet just in time to promote your latest movie, The Crack-Up

Or maybe your personal life connects to your latest film in ways that help you avoid bad publicity: “Why yes,” you might say, “I do have some never before mentioned Native American heritage, that’s why it’s perfectly acceptable for me to play Tonto in this Lone Ranger reboot,” while everyone else on the planet groans and rolls their eyes. 

But occasionally there comes a time when the stars align just right and the life of someone in the movie is reflected by the events of that movie. These are ten such cases.


10. Step Up

This is the most obvious example of this kind of thing – in the first Step Up film Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan play dancers (duh, everyone in the Step Up movies can dance, including the cars) who fall in love. Cool story bro, but it gets better: they also fell in love in real life. And they’re still together now. Which basically makes Step Up a true story. Especially the part where Tatum’s best friend teaches him an important life lesson by getting shot while stealing a car.


9. True Lies

Back in the early 90s Arnold Schwarzenegger made this light-hearted terrorism-based romp in which he played a super-spy – it seems guys like him could just blend into the woodwork back then – who starts to become suspicious that his wife is cheating on him. He then sets up this elaborate scheme to humiliate her by tricking her into thinking she has to strip naked to entertain this terrorist leader or something...I don’t know. 

Look, the point is, Schwarzenegger thinks his wife is cheating and he isn’t going to take that lying down and Jamie Lee Curtis kinda gets treated like crap for a while. But the irony is, while all this was taking place on-screen, off screen Schwarzennegger (a notorious sleaze who coined the phrase “eating ain’t cheating”) was fathering a child with his maid. When his wife found out she probably didn’t just make him do a strip tease for her either.


8. Marley & Me

Owen Wilson’s suicide attempt in 2007 came as a shock to pretty much everyone. An actor who specialised in playing likable guys in comedies, slashing his wrists (reportedly due to depression linked to the end of his relationship with Kate Hudson) seemed hugely out of character. Then he made Marley & Me, a film about a family’s relationship with their loveable, if destructive and annoying, dog. Awww, you might think, but SPOILER ALERT: the freakin’ dog dies at the end! 
By making this film, was Wilson – who’s never spoken publicly about it - trying to say “hey, this is how sad you’d have felt if I’d died? I do kind of look like a dog, you know”? This is the kind of move that would link anyone else forever to grim dark depression, except that, you know, we’re dealing with Owen Wilson. And he does kind of look/act like a golden Labrador. Case closed!


7. Heckler

This little-seen documentary by Jamie Kennedy about the never-ending battle between stand-up comedians and hecklers is little-seen because after about twenty minutes of actually being about what it’s meant to be about Kennedy hijacks his own film to make the following points: a): everyone hates hecklers, right (everyone thinks “okay, sure"); b): critics are just like hecklers if you think about it (everyone thinks about it then says “no they’re not”); and c): it’s clearly fair enough to spend the rest of this movie just wandering around hating on critics for hating the movie Son of the Mask (everyone stops watching because Son of the Mask was terrible). He was clearly trying to make a film about the difference between constructive criticism and abuse; what he ended up making was an expose into the world of whiney Hollywood losers.

6. The Break Up

Everyone remembers that long period where it seemed like Jennifer Aniston couldn’t catch a break romantically. So appearing in a movie titled The Break Up probably seemed like tempting fate, especially as she was dating her co-star Vince Vaughn. Shock twist: they DID break up! 

Surprisingly though, it seems Vaughn was the one scarred by it movie-wise, as he went onto make Couples Retreat (about couples in marriage counselling) and The Dilemma (about a guy who discovers his best friend’s wife is cheating on him). 

It’s not like Aniston got off lightly though: she went on to make a movie where she ended up with Adam Sandler.


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