9 Actors Who Forgot (Or Claimed They Forgot) They Were In Famous Movies

“You were in ‘Spider-man.’ ” “No ... I was, in ‘Avengers.’ ”
An appropriately confused-looking Gwyneth Paltrow with Robert Downey Jr. in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' (2017).
An appropriately confused-looking Gwyneth Paltrow with Robert Downey Jr. in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming' (2017). / Sony Pictures

No judgment here: We all forget things from time to time. Even movie stars—they’re just like us!—occasionally blank (or pretend they do) on having appeared in a movie, with the cameo-friendly MCU turning out multiple examples. Avengers, assemble … if you remember to.

Paul Bettany // Iron Man

Paul Bettany
Paul Bettany. / Rich Polk/GettyImages

Paul Bettany was the first Marvel actor to forget about one of his MCU movies—though he wouldn't be the last. Before Bettany was the superhero Vision, he was Tony Stark’s trusty AI JARVIS in 2008’s Iron Man—a voiceover role that required him to spend “30 minutes in a recording studio laughing my arse off,” and that he forgot about after the fact. Said the actor: “I forgot I was in Iron Man. Someone said, ‘I loved you in Iron Man. I said, ‘You've got me mixed up with someone else.’ ” 

Jared Leto // Urban Legend

OK, so Jared Leto was probably joking when repeatedly insisted that he didn’t remember starring in the 1998 horror film Urban Legend—no, really, he has no idea what you’re talking about—in a 2002 interview with IGN. Beyond claiming he forgot about being in Urban Legend, one of the early teen-centric late ‘90s horror films to hit in the wake of Scream’s massive success, he doubled down on having no damn clue what the movie even is. Highlights from the discussion: “What’s that?,“ “I didn't do that,” “Get the $%&* outta here!,” “I’ve never even heard of that movie,” and “I must [have] had a blackout.” His commitment to the bit is truly worthy of an Oscar winner.

Gwyneth Paltrow // Spider-Man: Homecoming

This one goes beyond just forgetting. When Gwyneth Paltrow filmed Pepper Potts’s brief appearance in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming—the first film in the MCU’s Spider-Trilogy—she apparently didn’t even know what movie was shooting, later telling Jimmy Kimmel she thought it was “an Avengers movie.” Paltrow got up to speed in during an episode of director/actor Jon Favreau’s “The Chef Show,” where a mention of their shared scene in Homecoming was met with a confused “Spider-Man?... We weren’t in Spider-Man." She seemed absolutely delighted to learn the truth.

Chris O’Dowd // Thor: The Dark World

Having been in multiple MCU movies spanning over a decade-plus, it’s understandable that Paltrow would blank out on which movies she was in. Irish actor/comedian Chris O’Dowd, however, was only in one—the critically panned Thor: The Dark World (2013), where he’s seen on a date with Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster—and he still managed to forget all about it, or at least claimed to. After he was asked about his character’s fate in the aftermath of Thanos’s Snap, he came back with: “God, I forgot that I was in that one until you just mentioned it.” Once he’d been re-acquainted, he joked that he had a “good feeling” about his character having survived. There have been no further updates.

Anna Kendrick // The Twilight Series

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have both had major career glow-ups since starring in the Twilight series—but they weren’t the first actors to transition from teen vampire drama to critical acclaim in less sparkly movies. Anna Kendrick, who played Bella’s (human) friend Jessica in four of the five films, had already snagged an Oscar nomination (for 2009’s Up in the Air) by the time the series came to a close. Given she was in so many of the films, she was probably joking when she tweeted, in 2018, “Holy shit. I just remembered I was in Twilight.”

Jack Black // The Holiday

The Holiday (2006) is something of an anomaly in the career of Jack Black, who brought his comedy chops to co-star in a full-on rom-com. But hey, it worked, and the film is generally loved today. Except by Jack Black, apparently, who said on a 2019 red carpet that his favorite Christmas movie was Jon Favreau’s Elf. When the interviewer remarked that he could have said his own holiday movie, Black blanked before catching on quick: “Do I have a Christmas movie? Which one is mine? Oh, The Holiday! Obviously The Holiday. Nancy Meyers: Genius. Let's do this!” Good recovery. 

Arnold Schwarzenegger // Terminator: Salvation

If you’re going to forget about being in a movie, it might as well be a bad one. During the press tour for 2015’s Terminator: Genisys, Arnold Schwarzenegger commented on the fact that he hadn’t been in 2009’s Terminator: Salvation, saying, “Thank god. It sucked.” Except that he did make a cameo in it as a de-aged version of himself. Schwarzenegger reportedly couldn’t actually film anything due to his schedule as governor of California, so he agreed to have his face superimposed on a body double. 

Heidi Klum // Zoolander

Heidi Klum
Heidi Klum. / Matt Winkelmeyer/GettyImages

Another case of actors forgetting their own cameos: model Heidi Klum, when talking about how she had to turn down a cameo in Zoolander 2 due to scheduling difficulties, seems to have forgotten that she’d been in the first one, if only for a few seconds. “That’s a brain fart. See what happens when you have four kids?” she said. “They suck it all out of you.”

Conan O’Brien // Weird: The Al Yankovic Story

For most of Conan O’Brien’s career, things he worked on—notably, talk show episodes—would be seen by the public shortly after filming. O’Brien used that fact to explain, in a radio interview with Howard Stern, how he completely forgot about his cameo playing Andy Warhol in Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. “I shoot this thing—I forgot that I did it,” O’Brien said. Roughly a year and a half later, when the movie was released, “I start getting texts from people saying ‘Hey, liked you in the Weird Al movie’—friends of mine. And I’m thinking, ‘Wait a minute, I’m in the Weird Al movie?’”

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