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Actors Who Were Never The Same After A Role


We’ve all had tough days at the office. But some actors, dedicated to giving it their
all, took their work a few steps too far. Though these critically-acclaimed, often award-winning
performances are a delight to watch, the experience of preparing for and recovering from these
roles did a number on the actors involved, and left a lasting impression — not always
for the positive. Here are several actors who went the extra
mile for their craft. Isabelle Adjani – Possession Any horror buff knows the subway scene in
Andrzej Zulawski’s 1981 Possession to be one of the most horrifying, shocking moments of
body horror ever to grace the silver screen. And if you haven’t seen the film, buckle up,
you’re in for a treat. Isabelle Adjani won a César Award for her
performance, but the intense physical and emotional demands of the role made for an
extremely difficult recuperation. Adjani later told a French magazine that it
took her “years of therapy” to get Anna out of her system, and that she would never again
attempt another role like it. Adrien Brody – The Pianist Though Brody’s physical transformation for
2002’s The Pianist is obvious, the actor has also discussed the enormous mental and emotional
strain of portraying a Holocaust survivor, which earned him the Academy Award for Best
Actor in 2003. “Y’know, my experiences of making this film
made me very aware of the sadness and dehumanization of people at times of war.” To prepare for the role, Brody gave up his
apartment, sold his car, disconnected his phones, and moved to Europe. But it was the emotional effect of intense
hunger during his extreme crash diet that he found the most surprising and difficult
challenge to deal with. Brody told the BBC, “I’ve experienced loss, I’ve experienced sadness
in my life, but I didn’t know the desperation that comes with hunger.” There were moments when he wasn’t sure he’d
get out of the experience with his sanity intact, saying it took a year and a half to,
quote, “settle back into things.” Colin Firth – The King’s Speech Colin Firth plays the future King of England,
George the Sixth, in the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech, and has to give a number of
speeches in addition to a number of other royal duties. The film has a villain of sorts in the form
of a near-debilitating stammer that ruins nearly every speech George gives until he
hires a vocal coach. “Prince Albert … Frederick … Arthur … George.” Firth himself also worked closely with a voice
coach and watched recordings of George speaking to better emulate both his vocal shortcomings,
as well as his physical mannerisms and nervous tics when stammering. Firth immersed himself so deeply in the role
that he admitted in an interview that he still occasionally lapsed into the stammer when
speaking casually, even briefly stammering during the interview itself. It’s worth noting that this happened in May
of 2011, a full eight months after the film premiered in September of the previous year. Judging by how flawlessly he enunciated every
syllable in Kingsman: The Secret Service while taking down thugs with an umbrella in 2014,
it looks like Firth has since gotten over the stammer. Hugh Laurie – House During the casting process of House, the producers
famously explained that they wanted a “quintessentially American actor” to play Dr. House, shortly
before hiring British actor Hugh Laurie. Laurie apparently got the role because his
American accent on his audition tape was so convincing nobody realized he was British
— the director of the pilot even pointed to the tape and said, “See, this is what I
want: an American guy.” “I was expecting you in my office 20 minutes
ago.” “Really? That’s odd, because I had no intention of
being in your office 20 minutes ago.” Laurie also really went for it when it came
to walking with a limp to portray the cane-using House. So much so, the actor still walked with a
limp in 2015 after eight straight years of pretending to have one on set. Laurie also reportedly attempted to ease the
load on his leg by occasionally switching the leg had a limp, something he claims nobody
ever noticed or called him on during filming or in the years since show ended. Apparently Laurie’s acting is so good he can
make people overlook both his British-ness and the fact he didn’t always limp with the
same leg, despite that being a defining aspect of the character. Bob Hoskins – Who Framed Roger Rabbit One of late British actor Bob Hoskins’ most
famous roles was that of alcoholic L.A. gumshoe Eddie Valiant in the film Who Framed Roger
Rabbit. Hoskins had to spend several hours a day for
eight months talking to and acting alongside cartoon characters who weren’t really there. “Scotch on the rocks. And I mean ice!” Hoskins would later note that he “learned
how to hallucinate” that Roger and the other characters were actually there to cope with
the dissonance of constantly hearing their voices but never seeing them while filming. When shooting finally ended, Hoskins found
himself constantly talking to himself and even hallucinating that Roger was sitting
in the same room for months afterwards, prompting his doctor to advise him to take a much needed
break from acting. Heath Ledger – The Dark Knight Ledger’s performance as the Joker in The Dark
Knight was so chilling that it landed him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor—tragically,
it was a posthumous award, as Ledger had died of an accidental drug overdose in January
2008. “Does it depress you, commissioner, to know just
how alone you really are?” In the years that followed his premature death,
rumors swirled that the preparation for the dark role had contributed to Ledger’s demise. Before filming began, Ledger put himself in
strict isolation, keeping a diary of disturbing images to enter “the realm of a psychopath.” He sometimes only slept “two hours a night,”
while filming, according to a November 2007 interview with The New York Times. It was a mixture of “painkillers, anti-anxiety
drugs and sleeping pills” that ultimately caused Ledger’s death just two months later. Charlie Hunnam – American TV & Movies Charlie Hunnam has played everything from
a soccer hooligan to a giant robot pilot, and he’s known for his extraordinarily convincing
American accent, making him one of a handful of chameleon-like British actors able to convincingly
pass as American in his various roles. “You rescued her. You raised her. You’re not protecting her now. You are holding her back.” Years of living in the States, however, took
their toll on Hunnam’s actual, real-life accent, and when he appeared on TV in 2013 to plug
a movie on Conan, he spoke with a bizarre amalgamation of various American dialects
that prompted confusion and mockery, especially in Hunnam’s native U.K. “I went out just as he was rounding the side
of the house, and he stopped, I looked at him, and said, ‘So we got business, motherf—–?'” Hunnam spoke about this in 2017 when he admitted
that his accent—or lack thereof—had gotten so bad that when he signed on to star in King
Arthur: Legend of the Sword, he had to hire a dialect coach to re-learn how to speak with
an English accent. “For the first time in my career my name was
above the title. It said, ‘Charlie Hunnam, BOOM, King Arthur.’ I said, ‘Here we go.'” Janet Leigh – Psycho Academy Award-winning actress Janet Leigh
is known mainly for one role: playing the character who gets stabbed to death in a shower
early on in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. The scene terrified millions, including Leigh—after
filming wrapped, she never felt comfortable in a shower again. In interviews Leigh noted that she “stopped
taking showers” after watching the scene. “I still… I still don’t take showers, that the truth.” On the rare occasion she had to take a shower,
she would only use it briefly while staring directly at the door—and she wouldn’t even
draw the shower curtain. James Cromwell – Babe James Cromwell is the kind of actor whose
appearance is so distinctive most people know his face, but not his name. He scored one of his few leading film roles
in 1995’s Babe, in which he was upstaged by a talking pig—but it all worked out, given
that it was not only a massive hit, but it changed Cromwell’s life, turning him from
a guy who occasionally flirted with vegetarianism into a vegan. Cromwell has called the experience of making
the film a turning point in his life, recalling in an interview with Vice that he was profoundly
affected by seeing a small piglet react to being put onto a patch of grass. He said, quote, “When that little pig was
put down on that big pitch and saw the blue sky and the green grass and the sea, that
pig just took off. I said, I don’t want any part of this. I am out.” Cromwell has been an ardent supporter of animal
rights ever since—especially pigs, which, understandably, now have a special place in
his heart thanks to Babe and its sequel, Babe II: A Pig in the City. “I know that I’m aware of their suffering,
and I know I have an obligation to talk about their suffering, and to do something about
their suffering.” Christopher McDonald – Happy Gilmore Christopher McDonald isn’t exactly a household
name, but his performance in Happy Gilmore is so memorable that generations of filmgoers
can’t look at a picture of his face without blurting out “Hey, it’s Shooter McGavin!” That’s just one role out of many in a solid
career, but it looks like McDonald doesn’t mind being forever associated with the hot-headed
golf pro. McDonald told the A.V. Club he took the role basically because he
enjoyed playing golf—and won a tournament shortly after being offered the script. He was hesitant at first, saying he wasn’t
eager to get back on a film set after shooting two movies back to back, but being paid to
play golf and hang out with Adam Sandler seemed like a pretty sweet deal. According to McDonald, his “golf game got
sick” since he played for five hours a day, six days a week while filming, and as an added
bonus, now that he’s synonymous with Shooter McGavin, he basically gets to play golf for
free for the rest of his life. “Damn you people! This is golf, not a rock concert!” Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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100 Comments

  1. Bill Guevremont Author

    Really? The director says "cut!" and life moves on – these idiots try to compare acting, in a VERY CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT, to experiencing the real thing. What a joke.

    Reply
  2. Mallidon Author

    'George the VI was the future King of England'.

    Oh so not, as he was in real life, the King of the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth then?

    Reply
  3. Sterling Crockett Author

    While filming Gunsmoke, Dennis Weaver affected a limp. Like Hugh Laurie, he would sometimes switch legs because of the pain it put him in over nine seasons.

    Reply
  4. VISPRES Author

    Anyone remember the scene on Happy Gilmore ….Hey you're gonna pay someday do you want some hay? Or something like that. That was funny.

    Reply
  5. Graham Wolfe Author

    ur bit about heath ledger is a load of bollocks. watch any interview including those who worked with him on batman and they all tell u the same thing. nice guy always making jokes. the diary thing is apparently lies

    Reply
  6. jackal242 Author

    Ever heard of this movie called THE SHINING???! It's pretty famous. You might have heard of it.

    Ever heard of Shelley Duvall ???!! She's pretty famous. You might have heard of her.

    That's all I'm going to say… oh and WOW HOW COULD YOU HAVE LEFT OUT ALL THE MENTAL DAMAGE Shelley Duvall got from the Shining? It's the only thing that popped into my head when I read this title.

    Reply
  7. KulinBan777 Author

    Oh these assholes went through a rough time, try serving a 13 month tour in Iraq, come home for 6 months then go to Afghanistan for year, or even just one 12 months tour to Afghan, all while making 40k a year

    Reply
  8. Havilland Savage Author

    I watched psycho for the first time when I was a teenager and the opening scene is the reason why I still don’t draw my shower curtain either. 👀I’m extremely paranoid thanks to Alfred Hitchcock ass😭🚿🔪

    Reply
  9. Lil Red Riding Hoood Author

    youll never know what its like to run for your life and fight for your life and hunger at the same time then be put in a normal world after being treated like a dog for years

    Reply
  10. Dr. killpatient Author

    Janet Leigh is known for far more classic-movies than just "Pyscho." She is however, best known for "Pyscho." She was no one trick-pony.

    Reply
  11. René O'Deay Author

    too many are/were affected by these roles…. sometimes fatally….. but now their mental issues are showing up in their extreme TDS……..sadly….

    Reply
  12. Keyser Sozie Author

    This is idiotic!!! Heath died tragically because he had a drug problem.
    These other people are baphoons!!!
    When people say acting is hard work I want to punch them in the face.👊👊👊

    Reply
  13. Lily Lane Author

    im way over anything hollywood. its too awful. these people have to accept extreme harm to themselves. i don't think being used by executive pedophile pigs is worth any amount of money. They make sure to destroy you for it, and the rabbit hole is even deeper than this.

    Reply
  14. Valerie Tucker Author

    After doing Dahmer for years jeremy renner could never go to a bar alone because he realized how easy it was to put drugs or something in someone's drink

    Reply
  15. Wayne Clark Author

    All this for stupid movies poor people make millions I could care less suffering my butt go join military like I did these actors are cry babies

    Reply
  16. Deborah Romilly Author

    I am very surprised Shelley Duvall isn't on this list. Stanley Kubrick literally drove her mad while filming the Shining.

    Reply
  17. Swirling T Author

    Val Kilmer after playing Jim Morrison in The Doors film changed forever. I KNEW Kilmer would be ok this list. Surprisingly he is not.

    Reply
  18. Gawaine Ross Author

    There is an occupational hazard in acting, which is becoming so identified with your role that it takes over. These actors have my sympathies and respect.

    Reply
  19. Send Bobs and veggies Author

    I like how it says actors that aren't the same after a role, and mentions heath ledger. He ain't the same, hes dead too

    Reply
  20. Phuc Dat Bich 1 Author

    There are lots of British actors who can do American accents. Christian Bale, Dominic West
    who played the lead in the long running cop series 'The Wire', Damian Lewis who played Brody in Homeland and Lt. Winters in the Band of Brothers series, Tom Holland who plays Spider-man, Henry Cavil plays Superman, Tom Hardy playing Bane, London born Daniel Day-Lewis playing Lincoln, Anthony Hopkins playing Nixon, Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, idris Elba etc etc.

    Reply
  21. Alan Barter Author

    You missed one, actor Kirk Douglas noted in his book "Rag Man's Son" that after the role of Vincent van Gogh in the movie "Lust For Life" that he actually felt that he was van Gogh several months after the filming. He needed the help of a therapist to get over it.

    Reply
  22. drego5 Author

    Seriously, you mention how Christopher McDonald improved his golf game, but not how William Petersen couldn't even look at his own face in a mirror after the movie Manhunter? He had to color his hair blond afterward so that he didn't see the character of Will Graham.

    Reply

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