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Tragic Details About The Cast Of Bird Box

It seems like just yesterday that Netflix released its horror megahit "Bird Box." The story might ring familiar to anyone who's a fan of modern apocalypse movies like "28 Days Later" or "A Quiet Place." For reasons no one knows, mysterious entities have arrived on Earth, and almost everyone who looks at them is driven to suicide. The only people who can resist the impulse to harm themselves become obsessed with making everyone else look at the entities.

As the world begins to collapse, Malorie (Sandra Bullock) finds herself brought in with a small group of survivors. The movie uses flashbacks to show Malorie's experiences in the early days of society collapsing while also showing her present-day struggle to take two unnamed children to safety. The ending of "Bird Box" left many fans dying for more, and later they got exactly what they wanted with Netflix's "Bird Box Barcelona."

There's something inherently satisfying about watching characters overcome adversity and transform themselves through their struggles. It's too bad that real life is also full of tragedy, and that our real-life experiences don't tend to follow a movie's plot arc. The actors in "Bird Box" brought us a great experience of fictional tragedy, but sadly, their own lives haven't always been easy either.

Sandra Bullock lost her partner

Sandra Bullock's character Malorie may not realize it at the beginning of "Bird Box," but she's a fighter. With the entire world falling to pieces around her, Malorie finds a way to hang on. Later, she leads Tom and Olympia on an arduous journey to what might be the last safe place on Earth. Malorie manages to take care of the two kids even while facing endless horrors and the loss of everyone else she knows in the world. She has a tragic life, but she makes it through.

Of course, fictional tragedies, even ones as dramatic as those in "Bird Box," can't hold a candle to what happens in real life. Bullock has had an incredible career as both a film producer and an Oscar-winning actress, but just like everyone else, she's had to go through some hard times. In August 2023, Bullock and her family got some truly terrible news.

Bullock's longtime partner Bryan Randall died on August 5. Unbeknownst to Bullock's many fans, her partner had spent years living with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS is a disease that wears away at a person's ability to control their muscles. Sometimes ALS progresses slowly, but eventually, that lack of muscular control is fatal. Bullock and Randall had been together since 2015, and everyone's heart went out to their family after his death.

John Malkovich hasn't had an easy go of it

Douglas isn't the easiest character to love in "Bird Box." He gives off the impression of a man who's had trouble keeping friends, and it's clear that living through an apocalyptic scenario isn't making him any kinder. He may not be the movie's primary villain, but he's far from a hero. Luckily for Douglas, he's portrayed by John Malkovich, who can't help but bring some charisma to the role.

Malkovich has been a Hollywood star for decades. He's starred in films like "Dangerous Liaisons," "In the Line of Fire," and, of course, "Being John Malkovich." He's a two-time Oscar nominee who's had the kind of career other people could only dream of, but that doesn't mean his entire life has been a breeze.

In a 2020 interview with The Guardian, Malkovich talked about some of the most tragic moments in his life with the kind of calm that one might expect from a Buddhist monk. Did he struggle growing up with a physically abusive father and older brother? "Sure, I had a lot of violence growing up, but so what?" Malkovich said. Was he angry when he lost his life savings to Bernie Madoff? "No. Not really. The first couple of days." How did he respond to losing his mother and all three of his siblings in the span of five years? "But what can you do? It's the final act of life." Malkovich has had no shortage of tragedies, but his calm seemingly never leaves him.

Sarah Paulson has dealt with sexism in the acting business

After taking on so many terrifying roles in "American Horror Story" and similar shows like "Ratched," Sarah Paulson's career has become defined for some by the horror genre. That's not to say Paulson limits herself. She's starred in dozens of movies, from intense dramas like "12 Years a Slave" to other genre fiction stories like "Glass." In "Bird Box," Paulson gets back into horror work, playing the small but memorable role of Malorie's sister Jessica, who's one of the first victims of the invisible creatures.

When it comes to show business, Paulson hasn't even limited herself just to working as an actress. She's also had a hand in producing several series and once directed an episode of "American Horror Story." You'd think being such a multitalented star would let Paulson avoid the worst parts of Hollywood culture, but that sadly isn't the case.

Paulson has been very open about her repeated experiences with sexism and misogyny in Hollywood. She's shared that in the past, casting directors have been more concerned with her sex appeal than her talent, asking her on multiple occasions to dye her hair blonde for no apparent reason. Paulson has also commented on the many misconceptions about women in the industry, such as the idea that they are naturally competitive with each other, superficial, or petty. Of course, that isn't the case at all, but having to repeatedly say it must be exhausting.

Machine Gun Kelly almost attempted suicide

Most people probably know Colson Baker because of his music career. He's been performing as Machine Gun Kelly for well over a decade, but in between tours and album-writing sessions, he's also built up a career as an actor. He landed his first role in the romantic drama "Beyond the Lights" just four years before he played Felix in "Bird Box."

Out of all the apocalyptic survivors in "Bird Box," Felix seems to fare the best. Sure, he witnesses some pretty terrifying things, but he also meets a girl named Lucy (Rosa Salazar) and steals a car to run away with her. In real life, Baker isn't as carefree as his character.

In a Hulu documentary called "Life in Pink," Baker didn't shy away from talking about the real struggles he's had in his life. He told the story of a dark time in his life when he started suffering from extreme depression and paranoia that culminated in him almost attempting suicide. Luckily, he had a support system in the form of his partner and daughter. They were able to help him not only see what was going on but also realize that he needed to put a stop to his drug use and get some help for his mental health. Thankfully, he got the help he needed.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org

Danielle Macdonald had to flee for her life

Danielle Macdonald plays Olympia , the mother of one of the two children Malorie works so hard to save. Olympia arrives at Douglas's house later than the other survivors, and she isn't exactly welcome by the man himself. Maybe in this instance, Douglas was right to be unwelcoming. Later, Olympia lets Gary into the house, and shortly after she gives birth, Gary snaps and starts trying to make everyone in the house look at the entities. Olympia sees them and throws herself out a window, leaving her child behind with Malorie.

Macdonald has said that filming "Bird Box" was a very emotional experience. She spent most of her days on set crying in character, and when filming wrapped for the day, she'd immediately head out with friends to cheer herself up. Acting through Olympia's trauma was difficult, but in 2020, Macdonald had to live through some trauma of her own.

Macdonald, a Sydney native, was visiting her cousin in Bateman's Bay when bushfires swept across the continent. Her cousin's house was in danger, so they drove 13 hours to escape the blaze. "Seeing the dead animals in the burnt-out areas we drove through is something I can never unsee. It's horrifying," Macdonald said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph (via Daily Mail). In the end, her cousin's house burned down, but at least the two of them made it out alive.

Rosa Salazar was served a restraining order

Rosa Salazar is another "American Horror Story" alum who came to "Bird Box." In the movie, she plays Lucy, one of the survivors who end up at Douglas's house. Unlike almost everyone else, though, Lucy doesn't die at the house. The night after getting some supplies from a local grocery store, Lucy and Felix make a plan to steal one of Douglas's cars to make a run from it on their own.

The movie never comes back to these two characters, but in another reality, it might have. Salazar spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her frustrations with "Bird Box," explaining that most of her character's scenes never made it into the movie. "Everything we shot that was added — which was the catalyst of me agreeing to do the movie — was not in the movie," she said. Though she said that she stood by the movie and her performance, it was clear that Salazar had hoped for more.

The movie business has its ups and downs, and the same is true of real life. In early 2018, Salazar's fans were shocked to learn that she'd been served a restraining order. Her ex-boyfriend claimed that she had been showing up at his house at night and making a huge commotion that woke up his neighbors. Salazar didn't let the incident distract her from her work, and outside of the movies, nothing quite so dramatic has happened in years.

Jacki Weaver was abused as a child

Jacki Weaver doesn't have the biggest role in "Bird Box," but she's definitely one of the biggest names to lend her talents to the film. Weaver's career started on TV in the '60s and '70s, but since then she's been a movie star who's played dozens of roles in every genre. The two-time Oscar nominee might be best known for her roles in "Animal Kingdom," "Stoker," and "Silver Linings Playbook."

In "Bird Box," Weaver plays a survivor named Cheryl. When Olympia decides to let Gary in the house, Cheryl supports her and even knocks Douglas out to stop him from throwing the other man out. Tragically, Cherly makes the wrong call. Gary tries to force everyone in the house to look at the entities, and unfortunately, Cheryl doesn't survive her encounter with him.

Back in 2005, Weaver published a memoir called "Much Love, Jac." In it, she describes an awful series of events in her childhood where she was sexually abused by a family friend. Since then, Weaver has said little more about what happened. In 2019, Weaver, then in her 70s, told The Sydney Morning Herald, "I don't think I need to talk about it for my sake." Unlike Cheryl, Weaver's tragic story seems to have found a happy ending.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Tom Hollander has never gotten over being bullied

Tom Hollander might have the most impactful role in "Bird Box," at least as far as the plot is concerned. He plays Gary, the man who loses his mind after looking at the mysterious entities and who's determined to make everyone else see them too. Gary manages to hide his obsession long enough to get inside Douglas's house, but then all hell breaks loose. Gary causes most of the other survivors to die, and he's the reason that Malorie is left taking care of the newborn children alone. Without Gary, Malorie might have never needed to make her harrowing journey to safety at the former school for the blind.

These days, Hollander may be a successful actor who seems to have it all figured out, but that wasn't always the case. Hollander told Big Issue that he really struggled as a teenager thanks to some dedicated bullies at his school. He described their tactics as being "psychological torture rather than physical." Sadly, sometimes that can be the worst kind of bullying there is. Hollander admitted, "It left me with a slightly lifelong persecution complex." Hollander seems to be dealing with that complex fairly well as an adult. At the very least, he's found a way to use fiction and storytelling to excise some of his childhood frustrations.

Lil Rel Howery faced legal troubles in 2018

If you thought Charlie in "Bird Box" looked familiar, that makes sense. Lil Rel Howery is an actor and comedian who's probably played one of your favorite supporting roles in a movie. The year before "Bird Box" debuted, Howery played Rod in "Get Out," and more recently he played Buddy in the 2021 film "Free Guy." Though his part as Charlie is small, Howery still brought his comedy chops to the role and managed to sell the character's self-sacrifice that helps the other survivors escape the grocery store with some much-needed supplies.

Like many comedians, Howery is able to make other people laugh even when he's going through struggles of his own. 2018 was a particularly fraught year for the actor. At the time, he was being sued for child support money, but his legal situation went from bad to worse after he got into a fight with a pizza delivery driver. Howery was found not guilty of battery after the fight, but the driver still sued him for $50,000. Instead of settling, Howery decided to fight the suit because, as he told The Chicago Tribune, "I'm not gonna pay somebody for them whooping my (expletive)." Howery just lucked out that he works in the perfect field for transforming tragedy into something good.

Trevante Rhodes was slammed for a leading role

Malorie only ends up at Douglas's house because of Tom, Travante Rhodes' character in "Bird Box." Tom brings her to the house, and the two of them seem to have an immediate connection. After Gary's attack, Tom and Malorie are the only adults left alive. They raise the two children together, but when it comes time to make the journey to the school for the blind, their little found family gets attacked. Tom sacrifices himself to make sure that Malorie can get the kids to safety.

Rhodes has been acting for over a decade, but his breakout role came in 2016's "Moonlight." Since then, he's had a number of great roles. But in 2022, Rhodes got the opportunity to play the lead in the Hulu miniseries "Mike." Telling the story of famed boxer Mike Tyson was a huge opportunity for Rhodes, but not everything went as planned.

Critics weren't huge fans of "Mike," but they were far from the show's biggest detractors. The number one person who didn't like "Mike" was Tyson himself. The boxer was very outspoken in his disapproval of the show, which he said was inaccurate and made entirely without his involvement. Rhodes told Vanity Fair, "I reached out. I tried to make some type of connection via Instagram, and it didn't work." He might have been disappointed by Tyson's response to the show, but that doesn't mean he held back from giving the performance his all.

BD Wong's son died

Whether you know him as Dr. Wu from "Jurassic Park," Shang from "Mulan," Whiterose from "Mr. Robot," or any of his other incredible roles, you're likely already a fan of BD Wong. Wong's career began on the stage, where he made history as the only person to receive a Tony, Drama Desk Award, Critics Circle Award, Clarence Derwent Award, and Theater World Award all for the same role. After mesmerizing audiences in that production of "M. Butterfly," Wong has since worked his way into the hearts of film fans everywhere.

"Bird Box" may not be his largest role, but Wong still makes his time on screen memorable. He plays Greg, an inquisitive survivor at Douglas's house. Greg decides to find out for himself if the entities can be safely viewed on a screen through security cameras. To make a short story even shorter, they cannot.

Greg is far from Wong's most tragic character, but that's okay because the actor has had enough tragedy in his life by now. Back in 2000, Wong and his longtime partner were going to become parents. Their surrogate was carrying twins, but when it came time to deliver the babies, they made a horrible realization. Because of something called twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, only one of the babies received the nourishment it needed in the womb. Wong's journey into fatherhood began with the loss of his son Boaz, but after three months of being in the hospital, his surviving son Jackson got to come home.