Hollywood's Most Cursed Movie Roles

Some roles in Hollywood might sound like they’re going to change your life. And they might. But maybe not for the better. There are a few parts that you might just wish you failed the audition for. Herein the most cursed roles in all of Hollywood…

John Connor

When asked ‘are you John Connor?’, it may be best to say no. Two high profile John Connors -Edward Furlong and Nick Stahl - have had painfully public issues. In 2013 Edward Furlong (’T2′) was arrested for the third time for domestic violence and consequently sacked from 'Other Plans’ the rom-com that he was set to appear in. The 38-year-old has been beset with personal problems ever since playing the role when he was 14, his criminal record littered with assault charges and spells in rehab for substance abuse. 

- What Happened To Superman’s Margot Kidder?
- The Tragic Life of John Le Mesurier
- Movies Affected by 9/11

‘Terminator 3′s Nick Stahl has not done much better. In 2012 he was arrested for 'committing a lewd act’ in a private booth in an LA porn shop and has also been in and out of rehab for issues with drugs and alcohol. And lest we forget Christian Bale, who played the role in 'Terminator Salvation’. He famously had a spectacular meltdown on set of the fourth film, laying into the director of photography who walked into his eye-line while he was filming a scene.

We’ve yet to see if the “curse” will affect “Terminator Genisys’ star Jason Clarke who played the character in the 2015 film.


If you’re ever offered the role of Atuk, run. And keep running. Adapted from the novel 'The Incomparable Atuk’, this unmade film – a fish-out-of-water tale about an Inuit poet who arrives in New York - has made several attempts to get off the ground since the early 80s, but appears laden with tragedy. John Belushi’s death was the first. He read the script, and loved it, but died of a drug overdose shortly afterwards. 

The role then went to Sam Kinison, but after scarcely commencing filming, he demanded certain parts were re-written. It halted production, the producers took him to court, leaving him destitute. He died in a car crash in 1992. John Candy was then approached for the role. He too died of a heart attack.

Bizarrely, Michael O'Donoghue, a writer and comedian who recommended the role to both Kinison and Belushi also died. Astonishingly, that is not the end of it. 'Saturday Night Live alumnus’ Chris Farley was reportedly about to take the role when he died of a drug overdose, at the same age as his idol Belushi - just 33. Farley is said to have shown the script to his SNL cast-mate Phil Hartman, who encouraged him to take the role. Hartman was killed by his wife in 1998.


The role of Superman is perhaps the most famously cursed in Hollywood. Its origins lie with George Reeves, who played the Man of Steel on the TV show in the 50s. He died of a gunshot wound in 1959, days before he was to be married. The incident was shrouded in suspicious circumstances, but was eventually ruled a suicide. (Reeves was played by future Batman Ben Affleck in the film ‘Hollywoodland’, which looked at the controversy). 

Bud Collyer, who voiced the first cartoon in the 1940s, returned to voice ‘The New Adventures of Superman’ in 1966. He died three years later of a circulatory ailment, aged 61. 

Lee Quigley, who played Superman as a baby in the 1978 film, died aged 14 due to solvent abuse. 

Most prominent, however, is Christopher Reeve, whose career suffered thanks to his unshakeable connection to the role, was paralysed after being thrown from a horse in 1995. He died of heart failure in 2004. Talk of the curse has even extended to Dana Reeve, his wife, who despite being a non-smoker, died of lung cancer aged 44.

Brandon Routh’s acting career failed to soar after playing Kal-El in ‘Superman Returns’ and he’s now playing a second string DC Comics character The Atom in The CW’s ‘Legends of Tomorrow’.

Ignatius Jacques Reilly

A screen adaptation of the cult novel 'A Confederacy of Dunces’ by John Kennedy Toole is often cited as a classic case of a film locked in development hell. Many have tried to make it, but all have failed.

But there is also the small matter of the curse. Strikingly similar to the case of Atuk, John Belushi, John Candy and Chris Farley were all linked to the role when it was to be directed by Harold Ramis in 1982, and all died young. 

An all-star version was planned by Steven Soderbergh in 2005, starring Will Ferrell as Ignatius, alongside the likes of Lily Tomlin, Paul Rudd, Mos Def, Rosie Perez, Alan Cumming and Jesse Eisenberg. But it was never shot. Ominously, when asked why it didn’t make it into production, Ferrell said it was a 'mystery’. Or maybe a lucky escape.


You’d think that playing JC would be a good thing, right? No bet is safer than that, surely? Perhaps not. When Jim Caviezel played the son of god in Mel Gibson’s ultra-violent 'The Passion Of The Christ’, he was struck by lightning - the second time a bolt had hit the set. He also suffered a dislocated shoulder during the graphic whipping scene, and later got hypothermia. 

Ted Neeley suffered the death of his movie career after playing the lead in the film version of 'Jesus Christ Superstar’, as did actors including Jeffrey Hunter, John Bassberger (who starred in just one film) and Chris Sarandon. Religion may be best avoided altogether, perhaps. Four members of the 10-member ensemble cast of the film version of 'Godspell’ died tragically young.

Billy Bob Thornton’s co-stars

Less a role than a collection of roles. Either way, it seems if you’re starring alongside Billy Bob, you’d best look over your shoulder. Gossip site Defamer spotted that five co-stars of Mr Thornton have met with untimely ends. J.T. Walsh starred with him in 'Sling Blade’ and died after a heart attack in 1993, then both Bernie Mac and John Ritter from the cast of 'Bad Santa’. 

Heath Ledger too, who starred with Thornton in 'Monster’s Ball’, died in 2008, along with Jim Varney, who appeared with Billy Bob in 'Daddy and Them’. OK, it’s tenuous, at best, but then add in Morgan Freeman ('Levity’) and Shia LaBeouf ('Eagle Eye’) who both suffered near fatal car crashes in 2008, and it gets spooky. Well, vaguely spooky. The lesson? Never work with children, animals or Billy Bob Thornton.

- The Most Disturbing Family Films
- Movies That Ended Marriages
- Most Scandalous Movie Sets

Image credits: Warner Bros./Rex Features