Hey, Pop! (1932) Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle raped and killed aspiring actress Virgina Rappe. With a Coke bottle. Or perhaps a Champagne bottle? In truth, the plumber’s assistant-turned-silent comic was acquitted of all charges. No matter. The three heavily reported trials destroyed his career, and he spent the ’20s working under pseudonyms or in disguise. Improbably, a 1932 comeback actually worked. He died of a heart attack hours after signing up with Warner Brothers for a feature.
Anastasia (1956) In a move that wound up debated on the U.S. Senate floor, Ingrid Bergman shacked up with her Stromboli director, Italian neo-realist titan Roberto Rossellini, and abandoned Hollywood for Europe. Six years later, tail between her legs, she returned, and was rewarded with an Oscar.
Husbands and Wives (1992) While filming this jump cut- and handheld camera-heavy marital drama, which ends with Woody Allen and Mia Farrow’s characters divorcing, Mia Farrow discovered her longtime companion’s affair with adopted daughter Soon-Yi, then 21. Needless to say, they never worked together again—Diane Keaton replaced Farrow on Manhattan Murder Mystery —but, mysteriously, she finished the film.
Nine Months (1995) On June 27, 1995, Hugh Grant was arrested for “lewd conduct” in public with prostitute Divine Brown. On July 14, 1995, his first Hollywood vehicle was released. (Somewhere in between was his iconic Leno appearance.) The film was a hit, not despite of the incident but despite being a festering geyser of diseased donkey feces.
The Singing Detective (2003) This film is Robert Downey Jr.’s rickety post-substance abuse debut, though it would be four more years till he was (deservedly) bigger than he’d ever been.
Edge of Darkness (2010) People actually saw Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto , released five months after his fun little drunken/anti-semitic tirade. But Mel Gibson the actor has been absent since an uncredited bit in 2004’s Paparazzi . Luckily, everyone loves an unambiguous vigilante picture!