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 dropped 20 pounds and trained for a full year before portraying a ballerina in Black Swan.
11. Halle Berry
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
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
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.
15. Sylvester Stalone
Stallone insisted on giving out and taking real hits while filming Rocky. The result was a broken rib and heart damage while filming Rocky IV.
StyleBlazers, who else would you add to the list?
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