You might think that acting is an easy gig, but you would be very wrong about that. It can often be an exhausting and taxing exercise on an actor. Okay, maybe if you’re the type of actor that only does comedies or rom-coms, then you are probably not going to be affected by your roles. There are actors, though, that take on disturbing or emotionally damaged characters, and working on those can really mess with your head after a while.
When it comes to the movies that win awards, it usually takes an actor to step out of their comfort zone and to really go all in with a character. These are the roles that typically move the audience to tears or make them really think about life. You know that you’re a good actor if you can convince the audience that you really are that character. They may have made our day on the big screen, but these actors suffered because of the roles we loved so much.
It may have been due to method acting, or something weird that happened to them during filming. It could have been the act of playing a very damaged character. We love that they are so dedicated to their roles, but it shouldn’t come at a cost to their normal lives. While some characters were psychologically draining to play, other roles affected the actors physically. Some of these actors were never the same after their roles and you might be surprised to find who is on the list.
15 Linda Blair Creeped Us Out
Linda Blair is from the original The Exorcist movie, which was made decades ago, but it doesn’t change the fact that the character really affected her. Playing a character that was possessed by the devil couldn’t have been an easy one, especially for a child actor. The movie was terrifying, the kind that sticks with you over the years, so it’s not surprising that she had lasting effects from the movie. As a kid, she really didn’t understand the role that she was playing. She assumed that the story of the devil possessing someone was only something that belonged in the world of fiction.
"To me, The Exorcist was a work of fiction," she later told journalists. "I didn't realize then that it dealt with anything in reality,
and so when the press kept asking me about all the devil stuff, it just kept adding to the pressure I was under, and it was just an awful thing to go through as a teenager."
14 Shelley Duvall Was Damaged From The Shining
The Shining was an amazing movie based on the novel by Stephen King. Stanley Kubrick is the one that brought it to life on the big screen. When it came to filming the scene where her character was crying on the stairs while swinging a bat at her husband, the scene almost ruined her and there were lasting effects of it. The scene seemed so real because Duvall was genuinely upset in the scene. Kubrick was a perfectionist and insisted that she do the scene over a hundred times which must have been emotionally exhausting for her.
"I'm very sick. Going through day after day of excruciating work was almost unbearable. I had to cry 12 hours a day, all day long, the last nine months straight, five or six days a week.
I was there a year and a month. After all that work, hardly anyone even criticized my performance in it, even to mention it, it seemed like. The reviews were all about Kubrick like I wasn't there."
13 JoBeth Williams Swam With Real Props
When it came to her role in Poltergeist, there was a scene near the end of the movie where her character has to swim in a pool full of skulls and bodies. It was a horrifying scene to watch, but it would have been more horrifying if we would have known that there were real skeletons in the pool.
Steven Spielberg did not have the budget to get fake skeletons for the movie, so he threw real ones in. So, that was probably a look of genuine horror for the actress when she saw the skeleton come popping out in front of her.
She said that it really affected her and she felt like she was haunted because they were using real bodies. She said when she would go home at night she would find all the picture frames on her walls were crooked.
12 Isabelle Adjani Needed Therapy
Imagine having to go into therapy after a role you did in a movie? That’s exactly what happened to Isabelle Adjani when she played Anna in the horror movie Possession. The movie had long-lasting effects on the actress and it made her never want to take on a role like that again. There was a scene in the movie that took place in a subway that was so revolting, it would affect the most ironclad stomach out there.
Isabelle actually won a César Award for her performance in the movie, but it wasn’t worth the emotional and physical demands her body endured.
She stated that she had a difficult recuperation after playing that character which is a little shocking. Isabelle has said that she went through “years of therapy” just to get the character of Anna out of her head.
11 Anne Hathaway Wasn’t The Same
Anne Hathaway wasn’t looking her best when she played the character in Les Misérables. Because of the character that she played, it was required of her to be extremely skinny and to shave off her hair. That would certainly be hard for any actress to do. Losing weight is already hard enough, never mind having to do it in a short period of time. Throughout the experience, Hathaway has said that she started to lose touch with reality, which is actually kind of scary.
The emotional role and the fact that she was on a ridiculous diet started to affect her psychologically. "I was in such a state of deprivation — physical and emotional. When I got home, I couldn’t react to the chaos of the world without being overwhelmed."
Now, that’s really sad.
10 Adrien Brody Was Emotionally Strained
For the movie The Pianist, Adrien Brody really went all out to play the role of Holocaust survivor, Wladyslaw Szpilman. He actually went so far as to sell his car, give up his apartment, stop using his phone, and move to Europe to get into character for the role. It sounds like a little much to us, but that’s what he felt he had to do. It was starving himself to get ready for the physical aspect of the role that did him in.
"I've experienced loss, I've experienced sadness in my life, but I didn't know the desperation that comes with hunger," he said.
There were times where he thought he would literally be losing his mind. After the role was over, he said it took a while for him “to settle back into things.” But hey, at least he won an Academy Award for the role.
9 The Conjuring Disturbed Vera Farmiga
It seems that a lot of actors have bad experiences from horror movies and it might be because they are dealing with topics regarding demons and the devil. When she starred in The Conjuring, Vera refused to bring the script home with her, which is really interesting. The reason for it was because she said it made her feel uneasy.
She said that if she tried to read the script at night, she would become paralyzed by fear. She said that many strange things started happening to her after she accepted the role and they were just a little too creepy. When she accepted the role over the phone, she then opened her laptop and found three digital claws across the screen.
That is supposed to be a sign of demonic activity if you happen to be a paranormal buff. Those markings also showed up on her thigh as scratches after the movie was done. We’re surprised she went on to make the sequels.
8 Janet Leigh Couldn’t Take Another Normal Shower
One of Alfred Hitchcock’s greatest movies ever made was Psycho and it had a lot to do with the epic shower scene where Janet Leigh gets stabbed multiple times by Norman Bates, dressed as his mother. He was able to put the audience into the mind of the deranged killer, Norman Bates. But as great as that scene was, it affected Janet Leigh more than she would have liked. She had to film multiple "attack" scenes in the shower while feeling vulnerable because she was stark naked.
She ended up developing a fear of showers that lasted many years. She would only take baths from then on with the curtain open while facing the door.
The poor thing! We couldn’t imagine being scared of taking a shower.
7 Leonardo DiCaprio Took Things A Bit Too Far
Leonardo DiCaprio is definitely someone who goes “all in” when it comes to a movie role, the man should have won an Oscar eons ago. It’s been a joke in the industry for a while that it took so long for DiCaprio to win an Oscar when he’s had so many amazing roles. He’s not someone who is satisfied with playing in rom-coms.
When it came to playing the role in the movie The Revenant, he insisted on eating raw bison liver
and even slept with real animal carcasses. He’s had so many incredible performances over the years and he finally won the Oscar for this particular role. The movie was as real as they could make it and his reactions to events in the movie are real as well. During an interview with Wired the actor stated, "If a cat has nine lives, I think I’ve used a few."
6 Jennifer Carpenter Got Spooked
You may also have recognized Jennifer Carpenter from the hit TV show Dexter. Any time that an actor has to play a role in a horror film it seems like bad things happen. Jennifer Carpenter starred in The Exorcism of Emily Rose and she said that weird things kept happening to her during filming. She did an interview with Dread Central and explained the situation.
"Two or three times, when I was going to sleep, my radio came on by itself," she said. "The only time it scared me was once because it was really loud, and it was Pearl Jam's 'Alive.'"
She said it wasn’t just her that experienced things either, her co-star Laura Linney also had her TV repeatedly turn off at night. She later admitted that they found out that the weird things were happening due to electrical issues that the hotel was having at the time but that sounds just a little too convenient to us.
5 Patrick Wilson Was Haunted After The Conjuring 2
First Vera got it in The Conjuring and this time the spirits were after Patrick for the sequel. We’re not sure what’s going on during the filming, but weird things are happening to the actors. When Patrick Wilson started doing The Conjuring movies he didn’t really believe a whole lot in the supernatural. That all changed, though, when he started filming The Conjuring 2.
The paranormal seemed to find him during the filming of the movie. He may have even brought something creepy home with him.
Both he and a few other people who have stayed in his home has told stories of hearing the laughter of children in the night. Now, that’s about as creepy as things can get. We are shocked that these actors continue with the franchise.
4 Sarah Paulson Got Addicted
Sarah Paulson never smoked before, but in 2016 she was required to smoke for both her roles in American Horror Story and The People vs. O.J. Simpson. Normally, it’s not a big deal, but after a while, Paulson said she was starting to have cravings for cigarettes. She found she was lighting up multiple times a day and would become impatient to film the scenes that would allow her to smoke. This is normally just considered method acting, but it would really suck to end up with a habit just for a role. Quitting smoking is no easy task. She considered it to be “a real situation.". Hopefully, she has knocked that habit by now because it’s gross.
3 Eddie Valiant Had Hallucinations
Remember Who Framed Roger Rabbit? We loved that movie. Eddie Valiant played the private investigator in the movie who was trying to help the framed rabbit. It couldn’t have been easy playing the role because he had to basically act by himself for most of the movie as if everyone else was imaginary.
Valiant claimed that after the movie was over, he had “learned how to hallucinate” because he had to always act like Roger was there when he wasn’t.
He said it was difficult to then go back out into the real world without hearing voices inside your head all the time. He said for a while, he found himself talking to himself and envisioning those characters as if they were still there. Well, that sounds a little wacky.
2 Jeffrey Dean Morgan Saw Weird Happenings
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is definitely a beloved actor and he’s no stranger to being around paranormal things. He played the father for many years in the hit TV show Supernatural, but when he got involved with the horror movie The Possession, things were a little different. He was freaked out pretty often while on the set of the movie and things started happening to him. The room would suddenly grow chilly after a while, lights exploded on their own, and the whole thing bothered him a great deal.
He said some of these things would happen while they were filming integral scenes. They also had a storage area where all the props were being held and the whole thing burned to the ground due to an “electrical issue.”
There are a lot of electrical issues during these horror movies.
1 Tippi Hedren Really Got Attacked By Birds
Could you imagine actually getting attacked by birds while filming a horror movie about being attacked by birds? It’s almost too creepy to comprehend. That’s what happened to Tippi Hedren when she starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Birds. When it came to filming, Alfred Hitchcock was known for taking things a little too far for what his actors could handle.
During the final scene of The Birds, Hedren was attacked by a swarm of birds. The birds weren’t props. Hitchcock and his crew threw hundreds of birds at the actress to get a genuine feeling of horror from her.
She said the experience was “brutal” for her and we’re sure she wasn’t too fond of birds after that.