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13 Actors Who Shockingly Have No Memory Of Filming Their Most Famous Roles

These are performances to remember, even if they don't.

1. Frankie Muniz — who started playing "Malcolm" on Malcolm in the Middle at the age of 15 and wrapped up the role at age 20 — remembers almost nothing of filming the hit sitcom.

Fankie Muniz in 2017
David Livingston / Getty Images

Muniz first discussed his shocking memory loss in 2017 while appearing as a contestant on Dancing With the Stars. The cause of his amnesia, he believes, is a series of nine concussions he's suffered — the first of which occurred while he was playing soccer as a 7-year-old. Also possibly related: Muniz has had at least 15 transient ischemic attacks (or TIAs), commonly known as mini-strokes.

Muniz dancing with a partner on dancing with the stars
Adam Rose / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

Unfortunately, Muniz hasn't been given a lot of medical explanation for everything he is experiencing. He told Entertainment Weekly, “Concussions don’t usually correlate with TIAs. The doctors did every test. A lot of times with TIAs, there’s a small hole in the heart that causes it. Clots go to the brain and you have a mini-stroke. I don’t have that hole.”

Muniz not only doesn't remember filming the show, he doesn't remember being nominated for an Emmy in 2001 for his performance — or even attending the ceremony.

Muniz as Malcolm
Fox

Despite his difficulties, Muniz has a positive attitude and keeps a daily journal to help with memory. He also has lots of support from his family, including his mother and wife, Paige, who gave birth to their first child, Mauz, earlier this year. Muniz will also appear in the upcoming reboot of The Surreal Life on VH1.

2. Raven-Symoné — who played Olivia on The Cosby Show from ages 4–6 in the late '80s and early '90s — has no memory of filming the show, a fact that disturbed her enough to explore the issue in therapy.

Raven symone today
Amy Sussman / Getty Images

The star of That's So Raven and The View recently gave an interview for TV One's Uncensored where she said, "I don’t remember a scene. I don’t remember anything while it’s a rehearsal or a camera... I do not remember as soon as the cameras start. Something clicks off, and I do what I’m trained to do." 

She continued, "When I turned 18, I knew something was going on, so I started going to therapy, and it’s disassociation. I just black out, I turn into who I’m supposed to be when the camera is on, and then, I come back to when normal life resumes."

A photo of the cosby show cast including a 6-year-old raven
Nbc / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

She adds that, while she doesn't remember filming the show, today she has a great relationship with Malcolm Jamal Warner, who played Theodore. "I don’t even know why," she said. "I just know that I adore him. I can’t really tell you the genesis of it, but I’m sure he helped me when I needed it.”

3. Ethan Embry was so stoned during the making of 1998's teen comedy Can’t Hardly Wait that he doesn't really remember anything — at all — about the film or production.

Embry in can't hardly wait
Sony/Colombia

During an interview with VH1 in 2013 to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the film's release, Embry said, "At the time, when we were shooting that, I was the world’s biggest stoner. I remember the director came up to me and asked if I was ‘altered.’ But other than that, nothing sticks out because I was so stoned the entire time.”

Embry and a costar in the film
Sony/Colombia

When asked about whether he did backflips in the background of a scene, Embry said, "Honestly, I wouldn’t know. I was so stoned at the time. I don’t remember if it was me. It could be me. It’s something that I would do.”

When asked to recite a favorite quote from the film, he said, "I haven’t seen the movie all the way through, and I was stoned. I never read the script.”

And when asked to relate the basics of the plot, he said, “Uh, uh, uh… It’s about a party right? Underage kids drinking and smoking and having underage sex, right?”

4. Mathew Perry revealed that he doesn't remember filming multiple years of Friends because he was dealing with addiction issues at the time.

Mathew Perry in 2016
Christopher Polk / FilmMagic

"I ​don't remember three years of it," Perry told BBC radio host Chris Evans. "I was a little out of it at the time. Somewhere between seasons 3 and 6." (Sadly, that means Perry has no memory of filming the immortal "Could I be wearing any more clothes?" scene.)

Mathew Perry and matt leblanc in the "could I be wearing any more clothes" scene in friends
Nbc / NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Perry, who is now sober and dedicates time to helping others with alcohol addiction, told the Hollywood Reporter it was an unusual experience going through addiction issues while filming the biggest show in the world. “When I was in big trouble, it was so public because I was on a TV show that 30 million people were watching.”

5. Courteney Cox says she also struggles to remember much about filming Friends. She told Jimmy Kimmel, “I don’t remember even being on the show. I have such a bad memory." She added, "I remember obviously loving everybody there and having fun, and I remember certain times in my life that I was there, but I don’t remember episodes.”

Cox today
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Cox added that, to help refresh her memory, she was going to use her time in quarantine to binge-watch the show. “I just started Season 1," she told Kimmel. "It’s really good!”

Cox and David Schwimmer in the holiday armadillo costume on friends
Getty Images

6. Avan Jogia, who played Beck Oliver on the early 2010s Nickelodeon show Victorious, took to TikTok to reveal that he doesn't remember filming the show or any of its plotlines.

Jogia today
Mike Pont / WireImage

He went on to say that he does, however, remember going out with his cast mates after filming ended, and said that part of his poor memory might have to do with being hung over on set.

A still of jogia's tiktok where he says he doesn't remember victorious
avan.jogia

The one episode he says he does remember? When musician Kesha guest starred.

7. Colin Farrell says Miami Vice was the last film he made while still using drugs and alcohol, and he has no memory of making it. "I couldn’t remember a single frame of doing it. I was at the premiere and didn’t know what was happening next. But it was strange because I was in it."

A recent photo of Farrell at a premiere
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

He added, "The second (the movie) was finished I was put on a plane and sent to rehab as everyone else was going to the wrap party.” Thankfully, Farrell is now sober and focused on raising his two children.

Farrell and Jamie Foxx driving a car in the film
Universal

8. British actor Malcolm McDowell — who famously starred in classic films like A Clockwork Orange (and more recently Easy A) — told the Guardian he has no memory of doing most of his films. "People stop me and say: ‘Oh, we loved you in blah-blah’ and I say: ‘Sorry, that wasn’t me.’ And then they’ll show me on their phone or show me the DVD cover and sure enough, there I am. And I have no memory of doing it at all.”

Mcdowell today
Vincent Sandoval / Getty Images

In McDowell's defense, he has appeared in nearly 300 films, and does remember filming A Clockwork Orange. He calls the production "overbearing" and says director Stanley Kubrick was too "brutal" and "controlling" to bond with.

Mcdowell in clockwork orange
Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

9. Brie Larson won an Academy Award for her performance in 2015's Room, but she has no memory of filming the most emotionally wrenching scene in the movie — where her character is finally freed from captivity and desperately races to reunite with her son, who is waiting in a police car.

Brie larson holding her oscar for room at the academy awards
Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

She told the Denver Post she remembers waking the next day after filming the scene with bruises, and no clue how she got them. She only pieced together what happened when her co-stars called to ask if she was OK.

Larson hugging her character's son in room
A24

While filming the scene, the director instructed the actors playing police officers to charge after Larson and try to put a coat on her. “And I guess," Larson said, "I was fighting them off and hitting them, and then I slipped and fell on the ice, and then, when I went to dive into the police car, I guess I hit my head.” Utterly spent — and it sounds like, possibly concussed — she slept the entire ride home once that night's filming wrapped.   

10. John Boyega also doesn't remember filming a key scene during an award-winning performance. In the anthology series Small Axe ( for which Boyega won the 2020 Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor — Television), Boyega played Leroy Logan, a real-life British police office who fought to reform racism in the police force of the '80s.

Boyega accepting his golden globe remotely
Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

In the scene, Boyega's character discovers racist graffiti scrawled across his police locker. Boyega told the Radio Times, “I don't remember filming that scene. I just remember fuming and being angry.”

Boyega in small axe
BBC

He continued: “I didn’t see the locker room or the locker door until those cameras were rolling. So that reaction was all natural to the character and the choices I thought he would make.”

11. Michael J. Fox is probably best known for playing Marty McFly in Back to the Future, but he doesn't have the clearest memory of filming the legendary film. He explained on Live With Kelly and Michael, "When I did the movie, I was doing Family Ties at the same time. So I was doing Family Ties in the daytime and Back to the Future at night. So a lot of it is a blur to me. I mean, I saw the movie, and I was like, 'Oh! That's what we were doing?'"

Michael J Fox in recent years
Randy Holmes / Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images

One classic scene he does remember filming, though, is the one where Marty's teenage mother (played by Lea Thompson) flirts with him after her father hit him with his car. Fox said, "Lea was so fantastic in that scene. She was so innocent and sexy and flirty at the same time, and she did it perfectly. So it was fun to play off of, and when I saw her doing what she was doing, I said, 'This is going to be charming. This isn't going to be weird.'"

Fox and Thompson in the back to the future scene Fox just discussed
Universal

And lastly, here are a couple of absolutely wild stories of artists (a writer and a musician) who have no memory of creating some of their seminal works:

12. Stephen King revealed in his book On Writing that he "barely remembers writing at all" his 1981 bestseller Cujo. King says he realized he had a problem with alcohol in the late '70s, but by the time he wrote Cujo he'd also developed a powerful cocaine dependency. As he explained to Rolling Stone, “Coke was different from booze. Booze, I could wait, and I didn’t drink or anything. But I used coke all the time.”

King signing copies of cujo in 1981
Buddy Mays / Corbis via Getty Images

King wrote in On Writing, “There’s one novel, Cujo, that I barely remember writing at all. I don’t say that with pride or shame, only with a vague sense of sorrow and loss. I like that book. I wish I could remember enjoying the good parts as I put them down on the page.” King also describes returning to his writing desk each morning and finding stacks of pages from the day before, and reading them to find out what was happening in the story.

Thankfully, after his family staged an intervention in the late '80s, King became sober and has remained that way ever since. 

13. David Bowie's 1976 Station to Station is widely regarded as a musical masterpiece, but Bowie was not well at the time — subsisting on cocaine, milk, and peppers (and some more cocaine) — and doesn't remember the recording sessions in Los Angeles.

David bowie singing on stage in support of the station to station album
Michael Putland / Getty Images

How little does Bowie remember? Well, he's quoted in The Complete David Bowie as saying this about the recording: "I know it was in LA because I've read it was."