Actors are celebrated for their creativity and open-mindedness—characteristics that can inform both their performances and decisions in their private lives. With that in mind, here are some quirky facts about Hollywood stars that just might surprise you. 


Michelle Pfeiffer got caught up in a breatharian cult.


When Michelle Pfeiffer was a young Hollywood hopeful, she spent time in a cult which “believed that people in their highest state were breatharian.” Breatharian is defined as “a person who believes that it is possible to subsist healthily on air alone.”


In The Sunday Telegraph’s Stella magazine, Pfeiffer described a “very controlling” couple who restricted her diet for the sake of breatharianism: “They worked with weights, and put people on diets. Their thing was vegetarianism.” Although she didn’t reside with this questionable duo, Michelle did visit them a lot. Pfeiffer explained, “They were always telling me I needed to come more. I had to pay for all the time I was there, so it was financially very draining.” Fortunately, the budding talent was “saved” by her ex-husband who helped her to see she indeed was mixed up with a cult. 


Christopher Walken was a lion tamer in the circus.


At the age of 16, Christopher Walken worked as an assistant lion tamer in a traveling circus to help make ends meet. 


“When [lead lion tamer Terrell Jacobs] would finish his act, there would be one lion left, and I used to go in and have this lion do tricks. It was a female lion named Sheba, and she was very sweet,” Walken told Vanity Fair. “This particular lion was more like a dog … and I would do things with the whip.” In turn, Sheba would run, sit up, and rollover.


Gillian Anderson was arrested for breaking and entering.


When The X-Files star Gillian Anderson was a teenager living in Grand Rapids, Michigan, she went through a rebellious stage. In addition to taking drugs, dating a much older boyfriend, and being punk, Gillian was voted “Class Clown,” “Most Bizzare Girl,” and “Most Likely to be Arrested” by her classmates in high school. Sure enough, she was arrested on graduation night for trying to glue the locks shut at her high school. 


Robert Downey Jr. was almost barred entry into Japan.


Robert Downey Jr.’s father introduced him to drugs, offering him a marijuana joint when he was just eight years old. This later contributed to Robert’s drug and alcohol abuse which led to prison time. RDJ was even detained from entering Japan for his 2008 Iron Man opening after Japanese authorities ran his passport and discovered his long list of criminal activity. For failing to disclose these convictions, Downey was interrogated for six hours. Authorities finally decided that, yes, he could enter Japan—but only for the opening of Iron Man. “But please, never [again] come to Japan,” a Japanese official begged.


Young Cate Blanchett’s hairstyle almost got her fired.


In 2002, Australian actress Cate Blanchett shaved off her blonde locks to portray a fugitive on the run in Heaven. But that wasn’t the first time the celebrated thespian went bald. As a rebellious teenager attending an all-girl grammar school, young Cate went through punk and goth phases as well as a period in which she wore men’s clothing. At the age of 15, the two-time Oscar-winning actress shaved her head and, as a result, was almost fired from her job at a nursing home. 


Nolan Gould has an IQ of 150.


Nolan Gould who plays the vacuous Luke Dunphy on the family sitcom Modern Family is actually a genius in real life. In fact, he once shared that he has an IQ of 150. Nolan graduated from high school when he was just 13 years old and is a member of Mensa.


Steve Buscemi was part of Engine Company No. 55.


Before the Pulp Fiction actor was a household name, Steve Buscemi worked as an NYC firefighter in Little Italy from 1980 through 1984. He made his acting debut the following year. Buscemi would return to his old firehouse the day after 9/11 to assist the FDNY at ground zero, digging through rubble for 12-hour days in search of missing firefighters.