15 Famous Actors Who Went CRAZY Getting Into Character.
"Method acting is what all actors have always done whenever they acted well."
-- Lee Strasberg
Many of us believe that actors have a natural talent -- and some of them do -- but we don't give enough credit to the rigorous process: creative sabbaticals, extensive research, physical transformations, professional consultations, and so forth. You can see the difference; the best ones are committed, physically and mentally. Some challenges are bestowed upon them by the directors, and other times they put it on themselves. As a result, their performances are heart wrenching, terrifying, and most importantly, believable.
Scroll below to learn more about what some of the world's most brilliant actors have done to bring their roles to life.
#1. Johnny Depp, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Johnny Depp truly immersed himself in everything Hunter S. Thompson in preparation for his role as Raoul Duke (a character based on Thompson). He spent time with the writer, stayed in the basement (or the "dungeon") for about 4 months, and studied much of his work. The A-list actor copied notebooks, recovered conversations, and even wore some of his clothes from 1971. According to some reports, they hadn't been washed for 30 years!
Thompson even allowed Depp to take his Chevy convertible dubbed the "Red Shark" to use in the film. Depp let the journalist shave his head to achieve a more authentic look.
Benicia del Toro, who plays Dr. Gonzo (based on Thompson's friend Oscar Zeta Acosta), gained about 45 pounds in a little over 2 months before shooting began.
Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas
#2. Jared Leto, Suicide Squad (2016)
Will Smith, who plays Deadshot in the film, said in an interview with Beats Radio 1 that he has never actually met co-star Jared Leto. Smith revealed that the actor never broke out of character as the Joker.
Leto confirmed with Empire that the many wild speculations of him sending disturbing gifts to fellow cast members -- including bullets to Smith and a live rat to Margot Robbie, who plays his leading lady (Harley Quinn) -- were true.
"There was definitely a period of…detachment. I took a pretty deep dive. But this was a unique opportunity and I couldn’t imagine doing it another way. It was fun, playing those psychological games."
#3. Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver (1976)
Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver is not just considered one of the greats in the film world, it has also been lauded as greatly significant by the US Library of Congress. This is because the film highlights the possible effects of war on veterans in Robert De Niro's character, Travis Bickle.
After an honorable discharge, Bickle, a former U.S. Marine, faces loneliness, paranoia, and insomnia. To combat his inability to sleep, he begins working as a taxi driver in New York City. De Niro prepared by acquiring a hack cab license and driving folks around for a month.
Known for his history of method acting, De Niro also trained and gained weight for Raging Bull and reportedly has his teeth ground to look more like a criminal's in Cape Fear.
#4. The Cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
This film swept all five major awards, including Best Picture, at the 48th Academy Awards, and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1993.
The plot focuses on McMurphy, played by Jack Nicholson, who pleads insanity in a case so that he could avoid time in prison. As a result, he is sent to a mental institution.
Filmed at the real life Oregon State Mental Hospital, the cast worked closely with admitted patients there (who were included as extras) and stayed in character while on set.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
#5. Val Kilmer, The Doors (1991)
When Val Kilmer was cast as Jim Morrison of The Doors, he was said to have learned how to play 50 of their songs. Only 15 of them were used in the film. Living members of the band commented that he had done such a good job on the vocals that they could not distinguish his from Morrison's.
Kilmer also consulted with Paul Rothchild, who produced most of the band's albums and knew the members personally, on the minutest details: how Morrison would act in certain situations, like his behavior in a restaurant.
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