Method acting is an extreme technique that actors apply to get into character. It’s not a technique that all succeed in, but their dedication shows their level of passion for their movies. Here is a list of dedicated actors that nearly went crazy because of their movie roles:
Christian Bale In The Machinist:
Christian Bale is an actor who has taken his movie roles very seriously. The Machinist being his most extreme. The actor lost 63 pound which is 28 kg for his role of Trevor Reznik. Bale did this on his own accord, even wanting to lose more weight but the producers stopped him. He weighed 120 pounds for the entire movie, eating only a can of tuna and an apple per day.
The Cast Of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest:
One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest takes place inside a mental asylum. To get a feel of the atmosphere, the cast decided to stay in a real life asylum. Danny DeVito made up an imaginary friend to make his character more realistic. Sydney Lassick suffered a real mental breakdown while Anne Fletcher who played villain Nurse Ratchet stripped in front of the cast and crew to prove she was a real woman.
Choi Min Sik As Oh Dae-Su In Oldboy:
Choi Min Sik was so dedicated to playing a man out for revenge, he actually burnt his flesh off with a hot wire to count off the 15 years in prison his character suffered through. Choi also ate a live octopus in several takes, even though it was against his Buddhist religion’s belief of never harming animals.
Natalie Portman As Nina Sayers In Black Swan:
Natalie Portman went the extra mile for her role in Black Swan. The actress followed a grueling training program that included five hours of ballet, swimming, and cross-training while on a diet of 1200 calories to mimic the body of a real-life ballet dancer.
Heath Ledger As The Joker in The Dark Knight:
The late Heath Ledger took such extremes with his role as The Joker that the actor suffered mentally long after filming stopped. Ledger locked himself in a hotel for a month and barely slept. He also kept a creepy journal while he locked himself away. Ledger also talked about only sleeping two hours per night while shooting took place.
Kate Winslet as Hanna in The Reader:
She is a rip-roaring talent and an actress par excellence. She is willing to go an extra mile for her roles. She played Hanna in The Reader who is facing trial as she was a Nazi concentration camp guard during WWII. It took a heavy toll on her mental well-being and for months she couldn’t part ways with the role in real life.
Adrian Brody as Wladyslaw in The Pianist:
He is a versatile actor who dares to go where nobody goes. He played a Polish jew who is caught in the crossfire of war but loves playing the piano. He was required to have this emaciated look and he starved himself to pull that off as he wanted to show genuine desperation which can’t be faked. He once thought that he would never be able to return to sanity while filming it.
Daniel Day Lewis in Basically Every movie:
He is the textbook definition of a method actor. If he is doing a movie, it means that he will get into the skin of the character and become him, whether it’s Lincoln or There Will Be Blood, this man is relentless and denied Leo his shot at winning Oscar.
Nicholas Cage as William Wharton in Birdy:
The man has never shied away from taking outlandish roles for a living. From Ghost rider to Vampire’s Kiss, he has done it all. But in Birdy, he played Vietnam war veteran William Wharton and got four of his teeth removed and wearing facial bandages for weeks just to look the part. It nearly drove him crazy in the end.
Robert De Niro as Max Cady in Cape Fear:
He is famous for getting his teeth grind down to pull off the look of Max Cady in the movie. The tattoos that you see on his wrists were made of vegetable dyes which took months to disappear. He studied the behavior of sex offenders for months and crept the shit out of Martin Scorcese as he would leave messages on director’s machine after the shoot.