Some people look at actors and their success and fame, and they think that acting is an easy job. It looks like they are paid to simply travel the world, and go to awesome places that normal people could not afford on normal terms. It seems easy to rehearse and perform with lines that were written by someone else. What’s even worse, they are blessed with awards and praise if their films do exceptionally well with the audience. Even if they don’t, actors are among the most handsomely paid people in the world. Many actors don’t even seem like they are trying that hard.
However, it’s obvious that most actors put a lot of effort into their characters, especially if they have roles that require talents beyond simply acting. This includes singing, sports, athletic capabilities like dancing and martial arts and many other skills apart from simply reading lines. Some actors even learn new languages, whether foreign or completely made up. Others have a talent for making people laugh whether they are on screen or off.
The truth of the matter is that it takes more than memorizing and reciting words for actors to get into character. A lot of research and practice goes into ensuring that the character in the script is being depicted well by the actor. Competition amongst actors to land the best roles can drive them to do extremely crazy things sometimes. Here is a list of some of the most crazy things famous actor have done to help them get into their character.
10. Not Bathing For A Month
We all know Hale Berry as a strong, beautiful, and charismatic woman both on and off screen. She inspires many women with her flawless body and signature hairstyle. However, during one of her initial big breaks in 1991, Halle berry admitted to staying a whole month without bathing. She willingly boycotted the shower so that she could easily fit into the role of a crack addict in the movie Jungle Fever. She actually took time to visit a crack den with a police officer as her escort. Once she got the idea of how the world of addicts operates, she set her mind to getting down and dirty for the movie.
9. Complete Isolation
Heath Ledger was determined to leave a scar on the minds of many Batman fans. He was cast in Christopher Nolan‘s 2008 Batman sequel The Dark Knight as the Joker. Ledger’s disturbing portrayal of the character left many people wondering how he was able to access such a dark character within himself, basically overshadowing Christian Bale as Batman. What most people do not know is that Ledger locked himself away from people in a hotel room for six weeks prior to filming. He practiced and perfected the posture, movements, and speech patterns of his character. As far as the film is concerned, Ledger’s dark portrayal paid off, as he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Unfortunately, he died of an accidental drug overdose before the film was released. One can only speculate as to the effect that playing such a terrible character had on him mentally.
8. Giving Up Everything
While some people are fighting tooth and nail to get fame, money and the good stuff, some celebrities are letting go of everything to fit into their roles. Adrien Brody was cast to play a role in the film The Pianist directed by Roman Polanski. His character was a Jewish Holocaust survivor who lost all he had to the Nazis. In order to feel like he actually survived the Holocaust, Brody made the huge decision to consciously lose everything he had. He gave up his fancy car, his cell phone, his apartment, and his luxurious lifestyle. He even dumped his long-term girlfriend so that his crying on screen would be real. However, the grand gesture was when he actually learned how to play piano from scratch and memorized the Chopin Piece featured in the film. These extreme moves did however win him an Oscar at a young age, and he was the first American to receive a Cesar Award.
7. Teeth Grinding
When it comes to going to extremes, Robert De Niro is a regular. In 1991, he was cast in the movie Cape Fear as a psychopathic rapist. He paid a dentist to grind and stain his teeth so that he could fit into the profile. But that wasn’t the first time De Niro did something extreme to prepare for a role. His first encounter happened when he was cast as Jake LaMotta in the famous boxing film Raging Bull. De Niro learned how to box and he added enough weight to his body to look like a real boxer. In 1976, he was cast as a taxi driver in, you guessed it, Taxi Driver. To fit in the role, he registered for a taxi driver’s licence and worked 12 hours a day for weeks. He obviously views acting as more than script reading, which is probably why he has received many awards and much respect in the field.
6. Losing/Gaining Weight
Christian Bale is rather in his own league when it comes to acting extremes. We will never forget his disturbing body images when he appeared in the horror movie The Machinist. Christian shocked the world when he starved himself and lost over 63 lbs. in order to fit the role of his anorexic character. He was cast as a haunted factory worker, who had not slept for a year, and he really did look the part. When it comes to self-harm to fit into a role, there is no limit for Christian. He really bulked up for each film in Christopher Nolan‘s Dark Knight trilogy, and then subsequently let himself go to play the fat slob Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle. He isn’t the only actor in Hollywood who is willing to gain and lose significant amounts of weight for his roles, but there are none who do it better than Bale does.
5. Whatever Nicolas Cage Does
Most people think that Nicolas Cage is probably crazy in real life, even though he is not. He has a way of owning every role given to him and is very hardcore when it comes to executing his characters. In order to fit into the character for the action flick Ghost Rider, Cage would constantly paint his face and carry Egyptian relics so that he could tap into the world of real ancient ghosts. He also refused to speak to his co-stars during filming in order to create the illusion of fear necessary to be the Ghost Rider. During the filming of the movie Leaving Las Vegas, Cage had a routine of getting drunk and recording himself. He would then review the video footage to learn how to portray his drunken roles correctly. He even had two teeth removed without anesthesia to portray war injuries in the movie Birdy.
4. Mastering An Art
The star of Black Swan, Natalie Portman spent more than a year preparing for her role. She spent a whole year practicing in her tutu in order to achieve flawless white swan ballet dancing skills. Her role involves a sweet white swan that turns evil and becomes a black swan. Portman teamed up with Mila Kunis who played the Black Swan in the film, and the two had joint practice sessions. Portman dedicated at least five hours to ballet dancing, swimming and cross training to her daily routine for at least a year prior to filming. She was also on a strict diet of 1,200 calories per day.
3. Going Undercover
The suave and charismatic Tom Cruise makes it seem like he was born acting. However, some of the awards that he won over the years were a result of serious hard work. During the filming of the action-packed movie Collateral, he had to work hard to turn into an invisible assassin. He tried to blend into a crowd by dressing up like a FedEx employee and delivered packages in the crowded market of LA without being noticed. He was actually able to blend in with this sneaky disguise without being recognized. He also learned how to shoot with real ammo, which helped make him fit for his assassin role.
2. Complete Makeover
This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s not every day that an actor completely overhauls their physical appearance and maintains the look all throughout the shooting of a film. Rooney Mara was once a pretty brunette with bright brown eyes before she decided to turn herself into the tortured girl in the film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. She went all out to transform her innocent-looking face into that of a tortured soul. She cut her hair and dyed it black. She also pierced her nipples and bleached her eyebrows. She also wore black makeup throughout the filming period to portray her tortured character in the film.
1. Spending Time in a Psychiatric Ward
When people decide to do something as a crowd, it seems harmless and fun as opposed to doing it alone. But when that thing is checking yourself into an actual psychiatric ward, it becomes a bit more questionable. The majority of the supporting cast in the film One Flew Over the Cuckoo‘s Nest did just that in preparation for the film in which they played a bunch of psychopaths locked in an institution. Nobody will ever know what they experienced in the actual psychiatric ward, although people believe that the experience was so intense that it can be seen in some of them in the film, and perhaps that’s true, as some of the extras were actual patients selected to be in the film.