Forgetting Sarah Marshall’s legacy has taken a hit in 2023.

This story includes references to sexual assault. 

I'm uniquely familiar with the 2008 movie Forgetting Sarah Marshall. 

The film was released at a time when Judd Apatow movies ruled the cinema. And while the director co-produced this movie, it felt markedly different to his other dude-bro offerings which championed lazy, incompetent men and dismissed women almost entirely. 

It was (by far!) my favourite movie in my early 20s: I would watch it when I needed to self-soothe, I would quote from it endlessly ("You sound like you're from London!"), and I practically based my entire personality around it.  

Written by and starring Jason Segel, who at the time was most known for How I Met Your Mother, the movie was about a man who goes on Hawaiian vacation to get over a breakup only to be stuck with his ex-girlfriend (who happens to be a glamourous actress played by Kristen Bell) on the holiday. 

Aside from Segel and Bell, the rest of the cast was Russell Brand, Mila Kunis, and Jonah Hill. In the case of Brand, it was the movie that launched his career in Hollywood, spurring on 2010 sequel Get Him To The Greek. 


I know what you're thinking. You're thinking... yikes. 

Two of these three actors are having a very bad week, and one is having a particularly bad year. 

In the wake of the allegations levelled at Russell, some comments made by Bell about filming the movie with Brand are being viewed in a more sinister light. “He didn’t try to mess with me or get in my pants. He knew I would lop his nuts off,” the actor told Scottish Daily Record in 2010.

In another interview with the Daily Mail, she once again spoke about sending Brand a warning during their time together. “I made it really clear from the beginning that I would sock him in the balls if he tried anything. So he was intimidated,” she said at the time.

She did add that she “loved” working with Brand, but acknowledged she might be “the only woman in the world who would shout that from the rooftops.”

Let's go through some of the egregious reports around the film's stars. 

Russell Brand.

In a joint investigation by The Sunday Times, the Times and Channel 4 Dispatches, Russell Brand has been accused of rape, sexual assault and abuse based on four women's allegations from when they knew him at the height of his fame. 


The allegations took place over a seven-year period, with three women accusing the actor of sexual assault while one woman alleged that Brand raped her in his Los Angeles home.  

In one case, a woman alleged Brand assaulted her when she was 16-year-old during a three-month relationship. 

A day before the stories broke, Brand posted a video denying the allegations. 

"Amidst this litany of astonishing, rather baroque attacks are some very serious allegations that I absolutely refute," he said. "These allegations pertain to the time when I was working in the mainstream, when I was in the newspapers all the time, when I was in the movies and, as I have written about extensively in my books, I was very, very promiscuous.

"Now during that time of promiscuity the relationships I had were absolutely, always consensual. I was always transparent about that then, almost too transparent, and I am being transparent about it now as well."

Mila Kunis.

Mila Kunis has been in the news lately in relation to the conviction and sentencing to her former co-star, Danny Masterson, for raping two women in the early '00s. It came out that Kunis and her husband, Ashton Kutcher, had both submitted character references for their That '70s Show co-star to the judge. 

After the letters were leaked online, both actors issued an apology via a video message. 

Watch the apology here. Post continues after video.

Video via

“Our heart goes out to every single person who’s ever been a victim of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or rape,” Kunis said. “We support victims. We have done this historically through our work and will continue to do so in the future."

But the damage was done. In the following days, Kutcher stepped down from his role at an anti-child sex abuse organisation he co-founded with ex-wife Demi Moore. Kunis has also stepped down as observer on the board.

Jonah Hill.

Jonah Hill’s ex-girlfriend, surfer Sarah Brady, accused the actor of “emotional abuse” in a series of screenshots she shared on Instagram of their alleged text exchanges. 

In the texts, a man named in screenshots as Jonah sent Sarah a list of “boundaries” he needed honoured to remain in a “romantic partnership”. These included Sarah not surfing with men, not wearing swimwear on her Instagram, having “boundaryless inappropriate friendships with men,” and “friendships with women who are in unstable places”.

The message exchange sparked a wider dialogue about the modern phenomena of people weaponising “therapy talk.”

In the wake of Brady's allegations, Zoey 101 star Alexa Nikolas claimed that the 21 Jump Street actor once kissed her without consent at a party. 

"[He] didn’t hand me the cig which I thought was weird and then as we walked back to the door I asked him for it and he said nothing but slammed me to the door and shoved his tongue down my throat," she wrote on Twitter. 


Jonah is yet to respond to Brady's allegations, although his attorney has denied Nikolas' allegations which he called a  “complete fabrication”.  

Everyone else...

Compared to these three actors, the other stars of Forgetting Sarah Marshall look like saints. Aside from doing a new and favourably reviewed Apple series Shrinking, Jason Segel lives a largely private and uncontroversial life. 

Kristen Bell has had a few brushes with near cancellation. She and her husband Dax Shepard were criticised for complaining about their family suffering flight delays and lost luggage which meant they had to spend the night at Boston airport, which followers said was a dramatic response for a famous pair who can easily afford a nearby hotel stay. 

The Veronica Mars actor also received some heat for posting a photo of a gathering of her famous friends, which featured no people of colour. 

And finally, let's not forget Paul Rudd who plays a minor-albeit-memorable role as a surf instructor in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. 

Thankfully for fans of this movie, Paul remains the most likeable and least cancellable actor in Hollywood. 

Cancellations and serious allegations might come and go, but Paul Rudd being an eternal sweetie will live on forever.

Feature image: Universal Pictures. 

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