15 Actors Who Took Their Roles Too Far

15 Actors Who Took Their Roles Too Far (From Starving Themselves to Breaking Bones!)

Being an actor requires one to go deep and, often times, lose one’s self in a role. Some actors take this very seriously; almost too seriously.  From losing an excess amount of weight to not allowing themselves to break character long after the director yells cut, here are nine actors who took their roles too far.



1. 50 Cent

The Queens rapper lost up to 54 pounds in All Things Falls Apart to play a football player who gets diagnosed with cancer. Pictures of the emaciated “Wanksta” singer prompted most of the world to exclaim “He better win an Oscar for that mess!”  The result?  Do you know ten people that actually saw the film?  Right.

2. Christian Bale

The actor lost an extraordinary amount of weight that veered on being dangerous for his health for his role in The Machinist.  Ultimately, the starving did not pay off as the film was a box office flop. Womp, womp.

3. Jim Carrey

For one of his more serious roles, the funny man stayed in character throughout filming, alienating friends and family for his portrayal of Andy Kaufman in The Man on the Moon. The movie, however, did not do as well in ticket sales as hoped.

4. Robert DeNiro

When he took on the role of Max Cady in Cape Fear, he was so dedicated to his character’s appearance that he actually paid a dentist $20,000 to destroy his teeth to look as if he spent years in jail. DeNiro’s yuck-mouth seems to have paid off, as received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for the role,  which is still lauded today as one of the best characters on film.

5. Daniel Day Lewis

One of the more seasoned method actors, Lewis has continuallly taken things WAY left with his roles.  While the list runs long for his wacky means of preparing for roles, two that stand out were etching tattoos into his own chest for The Crucible; and sitting in a wheelchair so long in between takes for My Left Foot that he actually broke one of his own ribs.

6. Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey

To get their super smooth beefy man-chests in the poor man’s movie version of Chippendale’s, both actors underwent some serious waxing time at the salon.  At least they know the pain we felt after sitting through two painful hours of Magic Mike.

7. Tom Hanks

To play a Fedex employee who becomes stranded on a desert island for four years, Hanks lost 55 lbs; spent weeks up to his neck in water; and caught a narsty infection, which almost led to blood poisoning.  It required surgery.  Though in this case, the  hard work paid off as Hanks received an Academy Award nomination and won a Golden Globe for the part.

8. Heath Ledger

To become “The Joker” in the film The Dark Knight, Ledger locked himself up in a hotel room for a month to perfect the villain’s sinister laugh.  He also reportedly kept a notebook filled with crazy writings that he called the Joker’s personal diary.  The erratic behavior paid off—albeit tragically—when he posthumously received a number of awards for the role, including a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor.

9. Joaquin Phoenix

Did you know the entire time Joaquin was making rounds on talk shows with his overgrown beard and proclamation of quitting acting to become a rapper, it was all for a movie role? Yeah, we didn’t see I’m Still Here (we bet no one else did either), but what a really strange way to get into character.

 10. Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman Black Swan

Natalie Portman dropped 20 pounds and trained for a full year before portraying a ballerina in Black Swan.

11. Halle Berry

Los Angeles Premiere of 'The Call'

Photo: WENN.com

For her film debut in Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever Halle opted not to bathe for two weeks to get into character.

12. Meryl Streep


Photo: Getty Images

For the 1999 film Music of the Heart Streep learned to play the violin for her role by practicing six hours a day, everyday, for a month!

13. Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

In her Academy Award winning performance for The Reader, Winslet was so focused on depicting the part accurately that it took her months to return back to reality.

14. Nicholas Cage

Kick-A$$ Nicholas Cage PF WENN

Photo: WENN.com

To prep for his Oscar winning role as a suicidal alcoholic in Leaving Las Vegas, Nicholas Cage would film himself while drunk so he could replicate the performance for the movie.

  • bigdawgman

    What movie are you referring to? Are you okay?

    • brandon9271

      He was talking about Magic Mike.. lol

      • you’re kidding right? i like dramatic films. to call magic mike anything dramatic is a joke. that guy is nuts!!!

        • brandon9271

          Yes i was kidding 😛

  • Grace

    Jared Leto for Chapter 27 he gained 67 pounds and got gout.

  • tom

    Not a great way to judge a movie by how many awards it’s won. A lot of these movies were great but according to this article, they didn’t “pay off”. I’m Still Here was funny as.

  • Joe

    This article should include actor Sacha Baron Cohen, his transformation and performance in Bruno is unreal.

    • your mom


  • zpyro

    Honestly EVERY actor and actress should take their roles to far. That is their job, to convince us they are some else and to bring that character to life.

    Where is Tom Hardy for Bronson and Charlize Theron for Monster o.O or Even Johnny Depp for Fear in Loathing in Las Vegas? Countless movies left out here for this list.

    Also who cares about box office numbers or “oscars”. If the movie entertains you then it was a success. Bless these actors who actually try to immerse themselves, and not some god awful teenage vampire one facial expression the whole movie crap that Hollywood has been rolling out lately… And really.. Magic Mike because of WAXING? what about Hugh Jackman doing 6 hours of training a day to get into the shape for Wolverine? Like I’ve said there are countless other examples…

    List is awful, needs to be rethought out and the title changed to something less misleading.

    • Brawny71

      Charlize Theron wore a prosthetic for Monster. Not the same thing.

      • Shawn

        she also put on a large amount of weight to get the role which is not as easy as it may sound, Stiil was more sacrifice than a waxing.

        • It’s easier than you think. :S

        • Yeah she gained what all of 20 lbs maybe, if that even? Good grief she can eat a whole bag of oreos every other day for a month and gain that… not that hard…and not anywhere near the same thing as christian bale or any of the others above

  • Harry

    If you had actually SEEN Magic Mike you would know it’s a great film. Just like the other films you put on this list that didn’t “pay off.”

  • Steppenwolf

    Magic Mike may be great or it may be awful, haven’t seen it, don’t know. I do know that getting your chest waxed isn’t too far. Or far even. Fairly close actually.

    • Quistal

      Otherwise put Steve Carell in this list for the waxing scene in 40 Year Old Virgin!

  • SID 8.0

    Ralph Fiennes in Schindler’s List. Some people say his marriage ended because of it.

  • honestly, how is waxing, or staying in character on the same list as these guys who starved themselves for a movie?? bale was sick looking. his knee was bigger than his thigh!! it was disgusting!!

    • MaryinBoise

      Agreed. And I see know mention of Emile Hersch’s self-emaciation for Into the Wild either. He should have been included on this list.

    • Myco Mike Jarvie

      Not to mention The Machinist was NOT a flop, that movie was phenomenal, so this guy/girl has no idea what he/she is talking about.

      • sam

        to be fair, i think they meant it was a box office flop, not that it was a bad movie

        • Jeremy

          she did, but to say the poor financial success of a movie makes the dedication of an actor unworthy is disgusting. The Machinist has tons of artistic merit, which I’m sure Bale is proud of.

      • whogivesaratsfata**

        the movie wasn’t a flop, it was a mega-flop, a first class piece of poo-poo and bale was and still is an idiot

        • Andrea

          They don’t earn millions for a role for nothing… He wasn’t an idiot. Every actor/actress needs to do similar things at one point if they want to be successful.

        • eddieisgreat5150

          your the idiot,that movie rocked !!

      • Sf

        Or that waxing is just business as usual for any actress who wants to actually get roles and not be insulted by the public.

  • How do you break a rib just sitting in a wheel chair??? O_o

    • aladdinsane22

      I wondered the same thing…..

  • james

    Christian Bales performance in The Machinist is the reason he is regarded as one of the greatest actors of our time. When someone gets snubbed from an oscar nomination with a performance like that it can be beneficial to their career for years to come. From now on if Christian Bale has a movie where he is great chances are there will be awards season talk and action.

    • Lucy

      Christian has been snubbed by the Academy since he was 13 years old and did The Empire of the Sun. It’s a shame he had to starve himself for people to notice him.

      • Chris Davis

        Add in the ole he just played as the boxing trainer to Mark Wahlberg’s character. He lost a ton of weight for it. He took on an entirely different personality for it. The man is a brilliant actor, regardless if he is a bit of a douche in real life.

    • F You, you owe me the car!

      Firstly, I think Bale is massively overrated. Secondly, it was his appearance that made him more effective. He was much better in American Psycho. His performance in The Machinist is not bad, but anyone else could have done it. It was his appearance, period.

      • “Anyone else could have done it?” Ok, drink coffee and have an apple every once in a while…for a week and see how easy it is. Bale did this for much longer. “Anyone” cannot do this…

    • HAHAHAHA!!! Really?? In what circles??? Hey, I really like the guy a lot!! But he doesn’t rate with Daniel Day Lewis, Anthony Hopkins, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons, and more.

  • Agree with some, disagree with some. Method actors are strange and wonderful creatures, they often deliver some of the most poignant performances in Cinema.

  • Charlie.

    Jared Leto!!! Gained 70lbs, Got Gout and almost more serious illnesses!!

    • uckermanf

      Jared Leto is gout.

  • Uz

    Robert should get back to being lean and mean. It suits him. Come to think of it, I should, too. Weights, here I come.

  • heath’s joker was over rated

    • I can understand Batman films not being someone’s thing but Heath Ledger’s Joker was nothing short of perfection. Dark, sinister, mysterious with no real answer on why he’s all crazy or where he got those scars. The voice, the laugh, the licking of the lips and the hunched over walk he does. Everything about the role was superb, but don’t take my word for it, just look at the nominations and awards he received. Plus, when it comes to roles like the Joker a main part that goes into the role itself is the appreciation of how the role is interpreted and how much work goes into it. As it says above, he locked himself in a hotel room for a month working on the laugh and personality of the Joker. No, it’s not overrated.

      • lola

        You’re amazing

    • your mom


  • odin

    Why WOULDN’T the author view the films she’s referencing in this article? In the case of Joaquin Phoenix in “I’m Still Here,” the EXCELLENT character he role-played in real life was necessary for the concept of the film to be executed correctly. The film is itself a commentary dependent on media-types (such as those who write shitty articles) playing into it.

    • your mom

      Exactly. I still laugh at people who think Joaquin Phoenix actually went crazy. It goes to show what a phenomenal actor he is.

      • Daniel Long

        being a meth addict is not insane enough for you?

    • Dave

      Yes. It’s an exploration of how the same media that builds stars up isn’t just happy to watch them fall, but is actually eager to tear them down. Sadly, people either didn’t watch it or understand it, and it killed his career for about 4 years..

  • RobDobbs

    What do ticket sales have to do with anything? Most of these movies (and acting) are great – regardless if they did well at the box office.

  • real life person

    who really cares, they are just stupid actors, hence the word actor, a person who cannot live a real life without f****** anything that moves, men and women alike, a bunch of liberal coked out losers who cannot function in real life and then the rest of you sheep blindly follow them like they are something important. pathetic

    • Sounds like you are the person who has the problem, not the actors. First of all, there is nothing wrong with being, “liberal,” and the fact that you said that in an attempt to use it against the actors just tells me all I need to know about you. And movies are a national past time, like baseball or football. As children when we go to movies we go to another world, a fantasy world where we can enjoy ourselves and escape the horrors of reality for a few hours. And if you say you don’t like movies you are either lying or you had a really boring/rough childhood. Either way, doesn’t look good on your part. And actors and actresses (such as myself) we LIVE to entertain people. We make it not only are job but our pleasure to please the audience with out roles which you would have no idea how much emotional as well as physical work goes into each and every role. And not all of us are coked out losers. Even the coked out losers as you call them can make a come-back, case and point, Robert Downey Jr. had a major drug problem but he made a serious comeback and now he’s friggin Iron Man. So go be bitter and a loser yourself someplace else.

    • your mom

      your mom is pathetic

    • J.F.

      And ladies and gentlemen, here is your political connection to a non-political story. I bet it was Obama’s fault that there are actors????

    • All stupid actors are not Liberals (do not know when that became a dirty word). Bruce Willis and Mathew McConaughey are two prime examples of Conservative actors. McConaughey bought property in Texas close to Bush 43s property. A movie with Bruce Willis & Sarah Jessica Parker almost did not get completed since the two actors were political polar opposites. I do not think Charlton Heston was a liberal actor. Greatest example of conservative actor was a guy named Ronald Reagan. This a small handful of examples.

  • Jan

    Matt Damon lost 40 lbs for some scenes in the movie “Courage Under Fire.”

  • zacal

    Surprised you left out Nicolas Cage in “Birdy”. He had his teeth pulled to make it look like he’d lost them in combat. False teeth for the rest of his life for a movie no one remembers.

  • pnut166

    What about Hugh Jackman ? Although the X Men films aren`t exactly art, he packed on 40 lbs of pure muscle. Repeatedly.

  • JB

    The Machinist was an AMAZING movie.

  • mohammed ali jawaid

    Tom Hanks for Philadelphia should have been included in the list too!

  • Who was in charge of making and insulting the people in this list? Christian Bale’s The Machinist didn’t NEED to be a box office hit. Some of the best movies are CULT HITS, meaning they don’t need money to be awesome. For example, Big Lebowski, Kick-Ass, WaterWorld, Watchmen, Cloud Atlas, Re-Animator and even The Adventures of Tin-Tin were all considered box office flops but are well loved and celebrated now. So just because it’s not raking in the dough doesn’t mean it’s a horrible movie.
    Jim Carrey did an amazing job in The Man in the Moon, Heath Ledger, sure he took it “too far,” as the title states but if he didn’t take it too far he wouldn’t have been as awesome as he was and wouldn’t have received any awards for his role. A great actor must know that he/she must get into the role at any and all costs and the more overboard you go 99% of the time it does nothing but great things for your career. And don’t even try and say that Daniel-Day Lewis ever went overboard even if he did break one of his own ribs. Have you even seen My Left Foot? I believe he was nominated and won awards for that movie so whatever he did for the role (including breaking one of his own ribs) it got him the award which I don’t see you going out of your way to get an award. All your good for is bitching about actors who are talented and do anything they can to make the role extraordinary.

  • Says the person who has never acted in his life and has no idea how much emotional, mental and physical work goes into a single role. Real easy to judge someone for doing something you clearly wouldn’t be able to do if given the chance.

  • Eileen Johnson

    Russell Crowe for ‘Body Of Lies’ or ‘Cinderella Man’ or just about any other film role he’s ever done. The man is known for recreating himself for just about every role he takes.

  • Jeff

    100 percent agree with both of you guys on this. But if we are talking about incredible transformations, forget 2 dudes waxing their chests (which those two probably already did anyways) and even forget Deniro as Max Cady, what about Deniro as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. Losing weight and getting into incredible fighting shape to play Jake in his boxer years then gaining 70+ pounds to play Jake in the later scenes. That was his most crazy transformation

    • xodiak

      Agree with the incredible transformations with the exception of the Magic Mike stars. Waxing their chests have no business being on this list. Geeze. Womp Womp.

    • Guest

      Matt wax his chest? The dude doesn’t even BATHE every day! Or use anterspirant! Read what Tina Fey said. The man REAKS! I don’t know how his wife can stand it. He’s one of those idiots who thinks BO smells good.

    • And you didn’t even mention that he had to regain and re-lose that weight in order to re-shoot scenes!! And it was 80 lbs difference. And Jake LaMotta himself was there for the shoot, and said DeNiro could have been a world champion fighter- for real.

    • Jerseysmelltours

      Loved the sincerity and truth that Bobby “D” brought to the bull role but it wasn’t the weight gain or lose that made the role it was the transformation that he used these to bring the entire role to life…The movie “Tropic Thunder” has it’s characters discussing some of these type of acting good or bad real or bogus…

  • Tao_Jones

    I agree: Waxing your chest for a role is, indeed, “taking it too far.” *rolls eyes
    And it was worth Heath Ledger preparing for a role which ultimately led to his suicide because he won a couple of overhyped and meaningless awards? Are you retarded?

  • uckermanf

    Who is the designer of this web page? They seriously need to be slapped. The only way you could make it MORE inconvenient to advance through the 9 entries is to put the d-mn thing at the very bottom of the page.

  • like privatepyle said, “a lame attempt at being funny”

  • kowtz

    Matt Damon? Courage Under Fire? Really… was out done by waxing chest hair?

  • David Clements

    The Machinists was a great movie. It showed just how powerful the human conscience can be. When Bale’s character finally resolved everything at the end, I felt the relief myself!
    Also, when Joaquin was on Letterman with his character get-up, he went over to Dave as the end credits were rolling and said something to him. He was actually spilling the beans to Dave about what was going on; the director/producer of the production was not pleased.

  • Davimo

    You missed perhaps De Nero’s best role ever as Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. He gained over 60Lbs for the role and won Best Actor. The movie itself was good as well getting 8 Academy Award nominations.

    • Max Cady

      That was the performance that started it all – in terms of body transformations and beyond. He was the first, baby! But a fantastic performance regardless.

    • 80 lbs fercrissakes!!!

  • OK. Heath Ledger locked himself up for months to perfect his laugh. Can anyone really seriously remember one moment in the movie that really made note of the joker’s laugh? Maybe I need to watch it again – like 40 times. Not to knock Heath, the rest of the performance was great, but I didnt’ get the emphasis on the laugh…

  • Obiwanbill

    Boris Karloff had teeth removed to have a sunken facial expression in FRANKENSTEiN

  • the machinist was a GREAT movie, and Bale did a spectacular job! sales of tickets are not really a measure of how good (or bad) a movie, or actor is. really lame and shallow for you to say so.

  • You should be ashamed for even mentioning Ledger! It is obvious that you do no have any knowledge of the movies you listed or their impacts on the careers of the actors. This was a truly pathetic attempt at journalism.

  • kurtespo

    looks like Joe perry from Aerosmith COOL

  • sailormars

    I agree with PrivatePyle. One person I suggest should be added to the list, or instead of most of them, is Mickey Rourke in 9 & 1/2 weeks. He treated Kim Bassinger like dirt the whole time the movie was being made, filming or not. The director either suggested it or agreed with him that it was a great idea. Kim Bassinger detested having to go to work every day. Like her or not, she didn’t deserve that from a fellow actor. Whether this movie was a box office bomb or highly profitable, Rourke’s performance was in no way inspired, and I think it was more of an excuse for him to indulge his misogyny. I thought Heath Ledger gave one of the most brilliant performances on film, and I believe he worked on a lot more than his laugh in his seclusion.

  • ohsnaponu

    Exactly. And for the writer’s information an Oscar, which Mr. Ledger won, trumps a Golden Globe. Geez, do some research.

  • Patton Slayer

    De Niro is the godfather of this. He started it. There’s no denying that. I mean sure, before him, guys like Monty and Brando were already there, but… they mainly did research for the roles, they never went beyond that – except for Brando (who of course popularized method acting in film) and spent some time in his character’s life. But De Niro, he did whatever he felt necessary… Before he became famous, he lost 30 pounds and slept in a coffin. The rest is history.

  • F you, you owe me the car!

    Bale has got nothing on De Niro. De Niro was a medium build guy. He got ripped, gaining pounds of muscle. Then, he gains over 60 pounds of pure fat. All for one movie… Lastly, It is safe to say that Bale was inspired by the master.

    • PeterDarker

      The next film bale did after the Machinist: Batman Begins. Try gaining 60 pounds of muscle in a decade let alone a few months and let me know how easy it is.

      • You’re full of sh!t. He didn’t gain 60 lbs of muscle- ever, you retard.

        • Dave

          Bale dropped 63 lbs in a matter of months to play his role in The Machinist. At the end of filming, Bale weighed 121 lbs. When he was cast to play Batman, he weighed 130 lbs. In 6 months he went from 130 to 230 pounds. That is a 100 lbs transformation. Now, not all of that weight is muscle weight, but I would venture to guess that more then 60% of it (60 lbs) is muscle. The only reason why Bale doesn’t hold the record for Most Weight Gained To Play A Role (the current holder gained 90 lbs to play Pvt. Pyle in FMJ), is because 63 of those 100 pounds, the 63 that he lost originally, were not counted.

          • Jay BurnSlow


    • 80 lbs. And DeNiro is a light-framed guy, not medium.

  • PeterDarker

    Dear Mr.Gray,
    You are an idiot. Stop writing now.
    The Internet

  • Drew Douglas

    Article is terrible. You can’t say something didn’t pay off, like you did about The Machinist, because it didn’t make any money. That logic is beyond stupid.

  • frelling_cute

    Dont wax. Let the hair grow on the chest.

  • etc

    Funny, your entire reasoning for whether an actor’s prep for a role “worked” is based solely on asses in seats/award show recognition.

  • sean

    I wholly agree. The writer’s attempt at being funny is simply pedantic, snarky and seriously unfunny. I believe douchebaggery is the only word to describe this tripe.

  • The emperor has no clothes

    Mr. Gray went to extraordinary lengths to achieve a sufficiently extreme level of pretentiousness to accurately portray a third rate hack…..

  • Triple Ace

    I also agree with all the comments that call the idiot who wrote this to task. I can only
    hope she never writes again. She has no respect and probably could act as well as
    she writes which is stupid and sloppy.

  • Name

    Womp, womp.

  • Donnybrook

    50 Cent is NOT AN ACTOR. F this writer who thinks so just because the guy lost an obscene amount of weight. He is a wanna be.

  • Tim Kramar

    Those who can, do. Those who cannot do, criticize.

  • magic mike

    some actors consider themselves as artists. artists regularly do what most people would consider to be extreme. luckily for these so-called writers – now they have a way to showcase their unique abilities. can i get a WOMP WOMP?

  • this article feels like it was written by a mentally handicapped child.

  • srsly?

    The title is “Man on the Moon” not “The Man on the Moon.” So not only is the point of this article shallow and trite, it’s also factually erroneous.

    • Yanksfan2010

      That’s all you got from the article?

  • Hutch

    Not to mention the fact that this film has gone on to become a cult classic. How many people do you know who haven’t seen it?

    • fairportfan

      I haven’t.

    • Nicki Savage

      Regrettably, I’ve not seen it.

  • Toby_gibson002

    Whoever wrote this must really like vapid tripe for his viewing pleasure.

  • Yup, I agree. The number of people who saw a movie determine how good it is? So if a certain amount of people think something it’s true?

    Nonsense. I don’t give a f@#$ if nobody liked that movie. That was a great f@#$in’ movie.

  • lol you mad?

    • Skullcow

      … says “YoungAngryMan.” Idiot.

      • your mom

        HA HA HA!

  • bgolfguy

    Reminds me of the line from “Tropic Thunder” when Downey’s character (Kirk Lazarus) accuses Stillers character (Tugg Speedman) of going “Full Retard” in his last movie which was an epic flop.

    Kirk Lazarus: Everybody knows you never go full retard.

    Tugg Speedman: What do you mean?

    Kirk Lazarus: Check it out. Dustin Hoffman, ‘Rain Man,’ look retarded, act retarded, not retarded. Counted toothpicks, cheated cards. Autistic, sho’. Not retarded.

    You know Tom Hanks, ‘Forrest Gump.’ Slow, yes. Retarded, maybe. Braces on his legs. But he charmed the pants off Nixon and won a ping-pong competition. That ain’t retarded.

    Peter Sellers, “Being There.” Infantile, yes. Retarded, no.

    You went full retard, man. Never go full retard. You don’t buy that? Ask Sean Penn, 2001, “I Am Sam.” Remember? Went full retard, went home empty handed…

  • BZ

    Danielle – did you actually mention 2 actors because of WAXING? And no mention of Jared Leto who gained 60 lbs, had gout & could hardly walk while making Chapter 27. Lost 25 pounds & slept on the street with addicts in NY preparing for Requiem for a Dream. Then recently fasted for a month while making Dallas Buyers Club. I love all the actors you mentioned but thought you could have done better!

  • DeNiro is well known for lengths to which he will go to prepare for a role. He tacked on more than 50 lbs for his Oscar winning role in “Raging Bull.” Dustin Hoffman is the other renown preparation extremist. For his Oscar nominated role in “Marathon Man,” he deprived himself of sleep for nearly 48 hours to achieve a tired, emaciated look for his famous “Is it safe?” dentist scene with Laurence Olivier.

  • Cuter_Britney

    Why is this article missing so many of its pictures???? Does anyone proofread this site?

  • spirulinaagnew

    meryl streep doesn’t have to do any of this lunacy. she just turns it on and off. I guess that’s why she is the best. these actors are only able to act if they are living the part. and that’s not acting.

  • Tink_Kalua

    I would add Tom Hardy for his performance in “Bronson.” His transformation into Bane in DKR was also impressive. Love Tom Hardy

  • Lars

    The only reason I heard about 50 Cents movie is because of all the weight he lost to be in it. Did it even make it to the theaters, or was it a straight-to-DVD?

  • Lars

    Anyone who appreciated Andy Kaufman will be blown away by Jim Carry’s portrayal of him in the movie.

  • Jamie

    What an awful article. “I’m not Here” was a great satire. So, a movie is only “successful” if it wins the actors awards? What a dumbass.

  • Did you know the entire time Joaquin was making rounds on talk shows with his overgrown beard and proclamation of quitting acting to become a rapper, they were actually using those interview clips for the film he was making at the time. It wasn’t for the purpose of trying to “get into character” they wanted the interviews in the film to appear genuine because it was supposed to feel like a documentary. Geesh, you people need to research better.

  • Duncan


  • sergio

    What? what about Reign of Fire?

  • Pank Freterman

    Dang. Didn’t know 50 Cent could get more ugly.

  • Danielle Gray, So “way left” is a suitable description of Daniel Day-Lewis going too far with a movie role? As a left-handed person I’ve seen this prejudice all my life. My father was forced to learn how to write with his right hand because left was somehow wrong. Please don’t use “left” as a pejorative term. Sloppy use of language hurts everyone.

  • Danielle Gray, So “way left” is a suitable description of Daniel Day-Lewis going too far with a movie role? As a left-handed person I’ve seen this prejudice all my life. My father was forced to learn how to write with his right hand because left was somehow wrong. Please don’t use “left” as a pejorative term. Sloppy use of language hurts everyone.

  • Danielle Gray, So “way left” is a suitable description of Daniel Day-Lewis going too far with a movie role? As a left-handed person I’ve seen this prejudice all my life. My father was forced to learn how to write with his right hand because left was somehow wrong. Please don’t use “left” as a pejorative term. Sloppy use of language hurts everyone.

  • kara

    this website has so many ads i can’t even get through the whole article before closing out, clean it up

  • Gary

    DDL won an Oscar for my left foot….haters gonna hate I guess…

  • WROL

    now carrey has alienated all true Americans and his career is officially over in this country. time for jimmy to head to bollywood.

  • what about Val Kilmer in Tombstone..he got really sick

  • Mike

    How does it feel to focus on the most shallow aspects of modern life? StyleBlazer, you’re another rotten fish in a sea of meaningless drivel.

  • Annoyed

    There are too many ads popping up at me and making sounds to ever come back to this site.

  • dongaroo

    why would they mention that Heath Ledger got a golden globe for his performance, but not mention that he got a ^%$# OSCAR for it. I got your “womp womp” right here

  • Ina Bliss

    One wonders how looooong it’s going to take for actors to realize that there IS NO FICTION and every thought-impulse counts, that every word and deed they “pretend to perform” counts toward their own lives OR deaths ?! The camera does not absolve them from atrocities, neither “pretend”, nor “real”…

  • Jimbo

    I think the left out Matt Damon in Courage Under Fire where he played a heroin addict and lost 80 pounds. It took him 2 years to recover. I dislilke Matt Damon but his part in that movie was monumental.

  • fussy wussy


  • Deb

    Cuban Gooding Jr. in Radio he just screams desparation for Oscar

  • thedarkfields

    I guess if you’re defining “pay off” in the sense of the studio’s profit margin and/or directly related to awards, this almost makes sense. For most people, it has more to do with the quality of the work. Still, I admit that I’m dumbfounded that you included Heath Ledger as sort of paying off because he won an award after his death. Get your priorities straight.

  • Andrew Jones

    Am I the only one confused or doesn’t understand how sitting in a wheelchair too long causes you to break a rib??

    • fozzitude

      It does happen, happened to my dad.

  • I would add Anne Hathaway to this list for what she did to herself while playing Fantine in Les Miserables.

  • Guest

    Yeah, well DeNiro also fluctuated weight to the extreme in Raging Bull.

  • anon

    This is a stupid and unfunny article. A good number of these films are great, and actors like Christian Bale and Tom Hanks have already gone down in history for having completely immersed themselves into roles such as these. All it shows is how passionate they are about the work that they do. I get the impression that whoever wrote this has probably never seen any of these films.

  • Seriously with as many ads that are on this page I will never visit this site again. For fucks sake dude.

  • There’s this from Sessions:
    To simulate O’Brien’s posture, John Hawkes used a soccer-ball-sized piece of foam which he laid onto the left side of his back in order to curve his spine. Consequently, some of his organs began to migrate, and he was told by his chiropractor that his spine now has not enough movement.

  • Marlon62

    No amount of torture is worth it,even when it’s done in the name of art. I greatly admire Mr. DeNiro but as Lawrence Olivier once said to a very”method”,young Dustin Hoffman,”Why not try actng dear boy,it’s much easier.”

  • Spartacus

    I can’t believe they didn’t mention Gary Oldman’s weight loss for Sid and Nancy. He dropped so much weight for that role in order to look like a drug addict that he wound up being hospitalized. I mean, a lot of these actors did a lot for their roles, but I wouldn’t call packing on a lot of muscle or waxing your chest going “too far.” Gary Oldman was apparently told if he didn’t start eating right he could die. Truly jeopardizing your health is going too far.

  • BarryG

    movies with the highest box office doesn’t mean they’re the best… I’m sure this opened up a lot of doors for Christian Bale. So in the end, this probably did pay off……..

    • Michele

      i agree. a lot of movies i love do get low ratings or stars..whichev. doesn’t mean they are bad it just means you can’t please them all.

  • Leprechaun P. Doucherson

    The Machinist didn’t do well but alongside his performance in American Psycho it got him the role in a little film called Batman Begins, WOMP WOMP…DOUCHE DOUCHE.

  • Ummmm, Magic Mike was most assuredly NOT painful to sit through! 😉

    • Michele

      right….storyline bad….yes but i wasn’t watching it for the storyline haha ;p

  • Jerseysmelltours

    I give “fiftycents” credit for giving it the old college try, but losing or gaining weight in and of its self doesn’t make you an actor. I’d say to fifty learn to enunciate the english language first than worry about losing weight.

  • Relliklaires

    Regardless how extreme these actors or any actor goes for a role. They’ll have more money and be more known for who and what they do than probably anyone who comments on this article. I’d take a million or even half that for a role in which I starved myself, broke a few bones, or whatever. I’ll take that money I get and get a cheeseburger afterwards.

    • Michele

      and there is a reason they get the major monies. look what some of them people go through just to get a good audience reaction. it’s not a job that everyone can do.

  • tyuttt

    Christian Bale is an idiot.

    • lola

      A man with a passion for his art is an idiot for you?! smh

  • Moonshine628

    You forgot Jared Leto! He gained weight to play John Lennon’s killer and he lost a bunch of weight to play and AIDS patient.

  • Jen H

    I’d add Taylor Kitsch prepping for The Bng-Bang Club—he dropped 40 pounds in two months, so rapidly that his kidneys almost failed. He and the other stars reportedly got so in-character they’d even call each other by their characters’ names without thinking about it.

  • This is one of the reasons why actors get paid so much, sometimes they have to change themselve for a role and they put themselves completly out there for our benefit

  • Everyone should look up the video of Norman Mailer and Rip Torn. Just type those two names in . They were making a film in the 70s. Story is, there was a scene in the script where rip attacks norman mailer with a hammer. it was deleted from the script. but mailer wanted to keep it in. So he just went ahead and did it. There’s video of the ensuing fight. It’s crazy. Mailer bit his ear.

  • Except for Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey’s chest waxing, this list is legit.

    • Michele

      right…chest waxing oooohhhh wow kudos to them lol

  • ThePrufessa

    howard stern (well fred) still plays his laugh from the movie theater scene. it’s priceless and works perfectly every time he drops it in.

  • Scrawny


  • Frank Drebin

    how about Nicholas cage in Leaving Las Vegas. Wow what a movie and what a performance.

    • Michele

      that…was…mentioned…confused…they just didn’t show a pic.

  • Zelda Yarrmouth

    Jared Leto, for both starving himself for “Requiem for a Dream” and gaining 67 lbs for “Chapter 27”

  • Why was this only men, why are you including staying in a wheelchair as extreme (something most of us who use them do without breaking bones), and why are these so out dated when this stuff happens constantly?

  • Jennifer

    This is offensive; Heath Ledger’s training had NOTHING to do with his death. Apart from that, the list is mostly amusing. They could still have included Ledger without making false connections.

  • Cock_Lesnar

    what about Donnie Wahlberg in the 6th sense

    • Michele

      i was thinking the same thing.

  • JamesMMartin

    Jett Retson went from 230# to only 148# for his role in “Diamond Dogs Reservoir.”

  • Channingcantatummeanytime

    Channing Tatum did not take it too far in Magic Mike. Your dumb and I would take it too far with him ANYDAY!!!

  • Larry B. Wright

    How about Vincent D’onofrio? He gained 70lbs for his role in “Full Metal Jacket”!

  • clemdane

    See, if I were a method actor who used extreme methods to prepare for a role I wouldn’t want anyone to know what I did. I’d just let them think I was a great actor and would go around blabbing about the extremes I went to.

  • Dawn

    Ummmm…I don’t know about them but the only pain I felt during Magic Mike was the anguish of not being able to touch them!!! 😉

  • fairportfan

    Of course Stallone insisted on real hits on the Rocky films – otherwise he would have to do something he couldn’t do – acting.

  • WilliamRLBaker

    ….So the measuring stick for going too far is whether they won an oscar or other award? cause that seems to me all I took away from this list…

  • joe b

    These people are paid millions… sorry but nothing they can do will be too much, ever

  • EzioAuditoreDaFirenze

    Matthew Fox in Alex Cross

  • Jericho

    Heath Ledger winning an Academy Award, which wasn’t even mentioned, is a much bigger deal than a Golden Globe and arguably one of the most notable cases of an actor staying in character was Max Schreck in Nosferatu. Was even made into Shadow of the Vampire. Where’s that mention?

  • Ash

    Actually, DeNiro paid the dentist $5,000 to screw up his teeth and then $20,000 to get them fixed.

  • Eagles Flight

    50 Cents in the movie All Things Falls Apart did a great job. The movie had substance. It was realistic an showed what some people go through in this thing we call life. It may not have touched you in any king of a special way, but I am sure it helped someone out there. Your opinion is just that your opinion

  • Llovera

    Although this list was frankly naive and terrible, I think Robert Carlyle should be here. I know he isn’t as extreme as Daniel Day Lewis or Christian Bale, but he does method acting. He even lived where one of his films was set, before the actual filming began. By the way, he played a homeless man in ‘Safe,’ He also passed a PSV test for a bus driver’s license.
    To top of all of this, have you ever seen ‘Trainspotting?’
    Even on “Once Upon a Time,” it takes him two to four hours to put on the necessary makeup and attire.

  • Brainlock

    Flintstones – John Goodman took up an intense power lifting regimen, which turned most of his flab into muscle, only to find out all the muscle/lifting tricks would be done by wires, lighter weighted props, and other practical FX.

  • Michele

    donnie wahlberg lost a lot of weight for the 6th sense. I didn’t even recognize him at first.

  • Leroy

    Is “Raging Bull” just too far in the past for these ‘actors who took their roles too seriously’ lists? Robert de Niro put on a ton of weight and they filmed the ENDING scenes first, then he dropped a ton of weight and buffed up for the boxing parts. And he did his OWN boxing; the trainer who worked with him said that de Niro had the raw materials to become a champion.

  • CaraSimon

    Um, excuse me?! I cherished my 2 hours with Magic Mike.

  • AliceUsagi

    *Not bathing for two weeks isn’t really going “beyond” acting. Do you know how many homeless people can pull that off?

    *Heath is the reason why I love Dark Knight

  • James N.

    I can’t believe this article didn’t mention ‘Nosferatu.’

  • txtone04

    practiced everyday for a month?? LOL Streep is great, and that’s all you got on her…what a waste of time! I consider myself a lite moviephile and these are very obvious.

  • Crystal

    I was going to comment, but you literally snatched the words right out of my thoughts. What a lame list with poor research and even lamer jokes.

  • Penumbra

    In a lazy culture that has long since forgotten the craft and value of workmanship, I suppose it is no surprise that the concept of going above and beyond to achieve a superior result would seem somehow insane to the average Western reader… Frankly, it’s a little surprising we, as a culture, know how to read at all.

    People whine about the high salaries of athletes who “play a game for a living”, completely ignorant to the life commitment these men and women have made to excel at their given pursuit… They are completely oblivious that greatness is earned by those courageous enough to step outside the norm and sacrifice things like life balance and comfort in the pursuit of their ambition. They casually deny the success that these driven individuals have *earned* in the face of odds that are stacked against them.

    Articles like this, and 95% of the content of this site, only serve to reinforce the institutional mediocrity that will, one day, claim the life’s blood of Western culture as we know it. Do yourself a favor and avoid intellectually deficient material like this. Spend your time, instead, asking yourself how you can make the world a better place and acting upon the answers.

    • Tony Martinez

      Jesus, stop your holier-than-thou preaching and shove it. You clicked on it and read it too idiot.

  • Sarah Paine

    how about Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman in Les Mis or Matthew Fox in Alex Cross? And Ashton Kutcher in Jobs- he ate the same diet as Steve Jobs and made himself so sick he had to be hospitalized

  • You’re Lazy

    Dropping 20 pounds and learning to dance.

    Practicing intensely to learn the violin (an art you are portraying in a film) in a short period of time.

    Removing hair for a role about a typically body-hairless profession.

    I think the person writing this is either jealous, or the most work they’ve done for their craft is sit behind a computer and type out obscure things they learned in a Google search.


  • Bonita

    Sitting through Magic Mike painful? Not likely..Also not a hardship getting ready for the movie either. Whoever makes up these lists needs to step back and have a think.

  • Annoyed

    I didn’t make it past the 3rd page, thanks to the annoying ads.

  • Jay BurnSlow

    pay me million i can do it no prob….

  • Thad

    Joaquin didn’t go on talk shows to “get into character,” his Letterman interview was used as PART of the film itself. Because it was shot documentary style, that appearance and the “before and after” parts of the interview were also scenes in the movie.

    • Eijay

      Actually, he did announce his retirement and appear on several talk shows. The Letterman interview did appear in the movie, but it also did actually happen, and aired like any other show.

  • SG F

    Although, some of those we extreme. Learning to play the violin or dance or get a wax job are not asking too much for someone who makes millions of dollars for a couple months of work.

  • Lilith

    Even though almost everything Jared Leto has ever done would be considered a flop by this author, that man is a beast. He’s gained and lost ridiculous amounts of weight in both directions, shot water into his arm to channel a heroin addict, stayed in character as a woman for months on end – so say what you want about the quality of the movies, but Jared Leto is awesome.

  • Russell Buchanan

    Could any of these massive weight gains or losses be due to chemical assistance?

  • whogivesaratsfata**

    jim carrey did an awful job in this movie, he wasn’t even close. i met andy several times and this wasn’t even close

  • JudeJosh

    An actor is male and an actress is female.

    Females are actresses!

    • andrea

      Except that “actor” is acceptable as a term for people of any gender who act.

  • BCPunk

    The Machinist wasn’t exactly geared to be a box office hit!

    It wasn’t even a wide release!! Do your research!

  • Zane

    Narsty ? eh !

  • zane

    Why dont you just simply act dear boy ! Laurence Olivier ,,, maybe he had a point no !

  • Jore

    Is it really necessary to use the word retarded?!

  • Leah

    Michael Fassbender should have been included in this list, with his role in Hunger

  • Jennifer

    2 painful hours of Magic Mike?? Even if the plot and character development had been absent, that was two sweet hours of eye candy. But I found the movie also remarkably substantive and engaging.

  • Taryn Bryant

    I think I saw Christian Bale’s colon.

  • A Skeptic

    How can studying violin and ballet be put in a list like this? How is that too far? Really?! Not only did it help Natalie Portman and Merly Streep understand and portray their characters better, it will be a talent they can take with them for the rest of their lives. Also, for a woman to gain or lose 20lbs is NOT a big deal. Maybe in Hollywood, but not for normal people. Definitely not outrageous or unhealthy.

  • Ryan

    Adrian Brody dropped a ton for The Pianist. He only ate egg whites. Then he won an Oscar. I thought he would make this kind of list.

    • andrea

      Yeah, that probably trumps “getting a chest wax”.

  • Tweedlebean

    Like how Misha Collins got so in character while filming Karla that he started enjoying the domestic abuse scenes and leering at school girls on his daily runs. Acting is scary.

  • joe

    You didn’t mention the most famous!
    De Niro gained 62 Lbs to play they older Jake La Motta.


    You’d think an actor making dedicated personal sacrifices for the quality and passion of their work would demand respect…

    I too stumbled here on a link from another website (it was Listverse, actually) and I’m genuinely surprised that they gave a link directing people to what is clearly the lowest common denominator bullshit tabloid but that’s what you should expect when you’re wandering the infrastructure of the internet. I could literally feel the points drop from my IQ as I read through this tripe.

  • Alice

    What about Jared Leto getting outrageously fat for a role

    • Yeah, but Christian Bale has done it more often, I’m no sure if I did for any $£€, you know to f… up the health one can get sick without doing anything..

  • Name Namingston

    I loved The Machinist, actually.

  • Moistva Gina

    Just because a movie flops doesn’t make it a bad movie. Going by your logic, Transformers 3 is one of the best movies ever made and the Shawshank redemption is one of the worst.

  • DebrinaMaria

    Christian Bale is BRILLANT in any and every role he plays, PERIOD…….

  • Penny Wood

    ‘Narsty’ ?

  • Daphne Procz-Shorts

    Danielle, you forgot one of the most glaring instances of actor dedication: Jamie Foxx in “Ray.” No one can tell me that Halle Berry’s not bathing for two weeks equaled Jamie Foxx’s having his eyes glued shut for six months.

  • James Goodman

    This crap website its full of intrusive ads that slow everything down and you cant even click between slides without reloading pages and have to scroll down again. The most annoying site ever. Sad peoples site anyway but the odd interesting list of ‘things celebrities did when they were dead’ kind of stuff

  • James Goodman

    Yes I was that annoyed I had to write something!

  • billie

    Jim Carrey: Not true. Carrey did not stay in character. A friend of mine played andy’s conductor and i was there for one day of shooting. Jim was very cool and doing imitations of different people for the extras in the audience.

  • André Stark

    Wait a minute Ledger ” received a number of awards for the role, including a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor” WTH ??How about talking about an OSCAR?? A Golden Globe LOL

  • Jon Ingleson

    Yeah Jaoquin, you’re neither your brother nor remotely attractive; you’re actually horrendous.

  • Riccardo

    I have to agree that Bale is a tremendous actor, and he’s got a couple of oscars to prove it!

  • Chik

    And whoever is writing this stuff, please refrain from giving your “expert” opinion about which movie is good or bad, stay with the facts and what the actors did to achieve their goal….

  • Seldom

    Natalie Portman lost a good bit of respect when rumors came out that she was sleeping with Sean Penn. Everytime I hear her name, now I think of that. The same goes for that blond that has a twin. You know who I’m talking about. These people depend on box office draw, and my self, and some others just ignor their latest prodjects.

  • Sam F’kin Cooper

    In ‘Little Buddha’ (1993), Keanu Reeves went on a crash diet of oranges and water, for the scene in the forest with the ascetics where Prince Siddhartha becomes emaciated from lack of food.

  • paper

    #7 Tom Hanks, how could they miss this!? Tom Hanks drastic weight loss and gain for movie roles was a contributing factor to him developing Type 2 Diabetes.

  • pheeze

    When someone dies but wins a posthumous Oscar, do you really want to go on record as saying that it “paid off”? Too late…

  • The Machinist is an excellent film and it would be wrong to judge its merits according to box office success. I mean Mall Cop was a box office success, but it doesn’t mean it was a good film.

  • Bastet

    Waxing is on this list? So, let me get this straight, women waxing for no reason other than female is fine, but omg men waxing, coz male n stuff. So overboard!

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