5 movies where life hilariously imitated art
Tropic Thunder feature

We all love it when a movie is based on a true story – it adds a layer of realism that can enhance our level of connection with the picture.

Unintentional realism, however, is a whole other thing. Every now and then, strange coincidences happen relating to movies, and sometimes, things happen to the cast or crew of a film that directly mimic the theme or plot in real life.

Some of these examples transcend weird, and go straight to hilariously strange. Here are five movies where life imitated art with amusing levels of irony.

Brad Pitt ripped his Achilles tendon, while playing Achilles


Whilst filming Troy – a movie about the mythical Trojan war, as I’m sure you can guess – Brad Pitt plays the character of Achilles, the unnaturally skilled warrior who leads the Greek armies to victory in search of eternal fame and glory. Oh, and he’s also ridiculously famous for having an extremely vulnerable heel.

Amazingly, Pitt actually injured his Achilles tendon for real prior to the final filming run. We’re not entirely sure if it was all part of an elaborate method-acting process or not, but you’d just have to hire the guy who walked into the casting room with a full length, authentic Greek arrow through his heel, blood everywhere whimpering: “Paris!”

The guy who played Johnny Fontane asked the mob for the same favour

Johnny Fontane

Many of you will remember The Godfather as one of the greatest films ever made, and we won’t be disputing that any time soon. A large section of you will also remember that there is a scene within the film where someone working for Vito Corleone puts the head of a prize horse in a famous film studio boss’s bed while he’s sleeping.

More than half of you will recall that he does this as a favour to ‘friend of the family’ Johnny Fontane, who wishes to intimidate the studio boss into casting him in his new movie.

But did you know that the actor who played Johnny Fontane, Al Martino, actually called in a favour himself when he originally lost his acting job on the Godfather, as it was decided that he looked too old for the part? According to Martino, he asked notorious crime boss Russell Bufalino to ‘convince’ the filmmakers to give him the part back. And they did. Turns out he really was perfect for the role.

A priest blessed The Conjuring set

Father Ted

We’re not exactly sure why this happened, but it did. The Conjuring was surprisingly good, to say it follows a long line of mediocrity in the poltergeist-horror department, and so excitement for the in-production sequel might actually be a reality.

But in either a weird act of publicity that failed to really go public, or an actual precaution that they really felt they needed to take, the production team of The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist hired an unnamed priest to ‘bless’ the set, as all the actors stood waiting.

We can only hope they didn’t really feel the need to ‘cleanse’ the movie set, but it’s not exactly a genius publicity stunt, is it? Either way, we know for a fact that the movie wo’nt be tainted by any real life tactless ghosts, who, rather than haunt people they disliked in life or try to use their time on this Earthly plain to communicate with their loved ones, ruin the production of a perfectly decent film.

Robert Downey Jr got an Oscar nomination for playing a ludicrous, Oscar-baiting actor

Tropic Thunder

We’re still not entirely sure if Downey’s character in Tropic Thunder is completely politically correct, but it’s funny, so let’s not question it. He plays Kirk Lazarus in the 2008 hit, an extremely pompous method actor who likes to get insanely involved in the roles he plays, going as far as to get skin pigmentation surgery to play a black character.

Basically, he’s a complete parody of self-important, award-baiting Hollywood actors, and his character works to satirise the movie industry as a whole, especially the ‘academy side’ of it. Despite his ridiculous nature, Kirk Lazarus is a critically acclaimed actor and multi award winner.

But Downey, unbelievably, actually received an Oscar nomination for his role – and was included on the 2009 Best Supporting Actor list alongside Heath Ledger, who posthumously won for his portrayal of The Joker in The Dark Knight. Whether the academy developed a sense of humour overnight or not, we don’t know. But we like to think that, in their naivety, they failed to realise that they themselves were the butt of Downey’s joke.

Matt Damon loses money playing high stakes Poker

In the cult film Rounders, Matt Damon plays a cocky law student who blows his entire savings in a poker game against a Russian gangster at the start. He goes all in in a bid set himself up for a run at the World Series Of Poker in Vegas. But he is over-confident, and loses everything.

Gutting, right? Well, at least it didn’t get played live on television. To prepare for the role, Damon actually attended and played in the World Series of Poker, but ironically, didn’t do very well.

The video speaks for itself, but it’s fair to say that Damon got some great practice in.