So you’re just hanging out, watching a movie with a bunch of friends – nothing unusual to these proceedings at all. And then, woah, you’re suddenly distracted. And not because the movie is bad and your attention is waning and you find it hard to sit still for two hours, but because you’ve noticed something about an actor on-screen. Is that thing you’ve noticed actually theirs, or is it something they’ve adopted for the sake of the movie? Because Owen Wilson’s nose really does look like that, but Brad Pitt’s neck scar in Inglourious Basterds is just part of an unexplained backstory.
“Why is Owen Wilson’s nose like that?” is the kind of lame question you’ll hear at least three or four times over the course of the next year. And you don’t really know the answer, because you’ve got a life and better things to do with your time, and it’s probably not that interesting anyway. But you do kind of want to know, don’t you? Yeah. Just for… reference purposes. Because these little quirks are what make a lot of actors, well… themselves. It gives them character.
If only a bunch of these little imperfections were somehow collected into a single article, then you could learn ‘em all in the blink of an eye and never look back. Fear no more. Here’s our little guide to all those Hollywood actor eyebrow-raisers, assuring you as the foremost authority of useless trivial matters within… well, the radius of your house.
Note: We haven’t included anything you wouldn’t generally spot in a movie, like extra toes or slightly short fingers. And God knows every actor seems to have those.
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1. Owen Wilson
In Hollywood, Owen Wilson’s nose is perhaps the most famous of its kind. An unashamedly messy affair, Wilson’s nose appears as a big, twisted lump, bent in seemingly every direction, almost like a knot that might happily stick out from the trunk of an old tree. Surely this can be nothing else but the result of several breakages?
You’d be right in saying so, given that Owen Wilson has reportedly broken his nose on two separate occasions. The first was during a high school scuffle, and the second was playing football with friends. Renowned for almost always declining to discuss his nose, Wilson once spoke out about his trademark snout, saying: “You know, probably my nose wouldn’t have been that great even if it hadn’t been broken.”
2. Harrison Ford
Harrison Ford’s inch-long scar is apparent in every one of his movies, but in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the writers make a direct reference to the fact that Indiana Jones himself inhabits the scar of the very actor playing him. In that movie, Indy’s scar comes from the accidental lashing of a bullwhip (in which River Phoenix, playing a young Indiana Jones, attempts to frighten away a lion and hits himself). Working Girl also attempted to give reasoning for the scar, pinning it as the result of Ford’s character having fainted as a teenager and hitting his chin on a toilet seat.
Ford was granted his actual scar as the result of a car accident in 1964, achieved as he was fumbling to put his seatbelt on. After crashing into a telephone pole, he stood by the side of the road for hours, bleeding, until somebody drove by and took him to the hospital. There he was treated by somebody who appeared to be 11-years-old. Talking about his renowned facial feature on David Letterman, Ford denied giving the scar much glory: “A fast car crash, a real mundane way of earning it.”
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3. Forest Whitaker
Forest Whitaker’s intriguing left eye has emerged as a subject of curiosity amongst film-goers. Though some might consider it something in need of cosmic surgery, many would agree that Whitaker’s eye gives him a unique look, a taint that grants his characters with a natural feeling of experience and worldliness.
In actuality, his trademark feature is caused by a condition known as ptosis, which causes the eyelid to either droop or fall. Whitaker himself has stated that he has thought about fixing his eye with surgery, although not for cosmetic reasons, but because he finds that it affects his vision.
4. Joaquin Phoenix
You can’t miss that little scar that runs between Joaquin Phoenix’s nose and top lip, long thought to have resulted from the surgical correction of a cleft palate. It’s unashamedly apparent in most of his movies, and Phoenix has never bothered to try and hide it or cover it up – why would he? But Joaquin Phoenix was actually born with this scar fully in tact, it having formed whilst he was in the womb, and is technically known as a microform cleft.
There’s actually a quote that has done the rounds on the internet several times, in which Phoenix attributes his scar to “an act of God.” He believes that one day when his mother felt a sudden and unexplained sharp pain in her stomach, the scar was formed right there and then. We’re not too sure about that, Joaquin.
5. Tiny Fey
Tiny Fey’s scar isn’t as noticeable as say, Joaquin Phoenix’s, but it’s hard to not see it once you’ve spotted it for the first time. And there’s actually a dark and somewhat sinister tale associated with Fey’s acquisition of her scar, one that she was always hesitant talking about until she eventually unveiled some information in her autobiography a few years back (and from the nature of the story, it’s not difficult to see why).
According to Fey, “during the Spring semester of kindergarten, I was slashed in the face by a stranger in the alley behind my house.” Fey, rightly unmotivated to disclose much more information than that, even goes on a hilarious rant in her book explaining how everybody who has ever asked her about the scar in the first week of knowing her have turned out to be “dumb dumbs.” Fair enough, dumb dumbs.
Which of these Hollywood curiosities did or didn’t you know about? Got anymore of interest for us? Let us know in the comments section below.Previous