Articles, Blog

Times Method Actors Took Things Way Too Far


Whenever an actor decides to use “the method”
approach to a role, it usually ends up making headlines. The process of an actor really getting their
head inside a character has made for some jaw-dropping performances, and some shocking
behind-the-scenes tales. Here are just a few times method actors have
taken things too far for a part. Adrien Brody In 2002, Adrien Brody scored the role of a
lifetime when director Roman Polanski picked him to star as Polish-Jewish musician and
composer Władysław Szpilman in The Pianist. The actor immediately buried himself in Szpilman’s
World War II memoirs in order to better understand the role. After being forced into the Warsaw Ghetto
and separated from his family, Szpilman eluded Nazi forces and survived the Holocaust by
hiding in the ruins of Warsaw. To prepare for the part, the six-foot-one
Brody spent six weeks on an intense diet to get down to a mere 130 pounds before filming
began. For the better part of a year, Brody essentially
“dropped out” of modern society. He moved to Europe, sold his car, and disconnected
his cellphone. “Because the character loses so much, I wanted
to kind of have a glimpse of what that loss would feel like.” After filming wrapped, it took over half a
year for Brody to recover. He later admitted: “There were times when I was concerned that
I might not be able to get out of it sane, because I didn’t realize how far it had taken
me.” In the end, his dedication to the role paid
off in a big way, not only did The Pianist earn widespread acclaim and accolades, but
Brody won the Academy Award for Best Actor, making him the youngest winner ever in that
category. Jim Carrey In 1999, Jim Carrey took a deep dive into
method acting when he played comedian Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon. While a handful of stories from the set made
it into the news over the years, a 2017 Netflix documentary revealed many more jaw-dropping
moments from the film’s production. In Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond, it becomes
clear that Carrey’s dedication to the role went way beyond spitting in the face of professional
wrestler Jerry Lawler. During the shoot, Carrey didn’t just play
Kaufman, he channeled him, to the point that he would refer to “Jim Carrey” as a completely
different person. “Jim had trouble later on and…and it kind
of threw him for a loop and he got angry.” As Andy, Carrey also had emotional reunions
with members of Kaufman’s family, including an hour-long conversation with his daughter,
who never got a chance to meet her father before he passed away from lung cancer in
1984. “So that day she came into Andy’s trailer
and talked to her father.” As Kaufman’s vulgar alter ego Tony Clifton,
Carrey went on drunken tirades, crashed a convertible, and stormed into Steven Spielberg’s
office to chat with him about Jaws. “I have this uh gentleman in the lobby that
is looking for Steven Spielberg.” “I would like to see the real shark. This shark is a phony shark.” Even though Carrey won praise for his performance,
the role clearly took a toll on him, and he later claimed that he could barely remember
who he was after filming. “But wasn’t it funny? Yes, it was funny, Andy. It was.” Nicolas Cage He might be better known today for his goofy
action movies and eccentric spending habits, but Nicolas Cage is also dedicated to method
acting. His approach to acting has yielded mixed results
over the years; he earned acclaim for films like Adaptation and Leaving Las Vegas, and
derision for movies like The Wicker Man. “Aahhh my eyes! My eyes! Aaahhh!” One of his best method roles dates back to
the early days of his acting career, when he was cast in the 1984 war drama Birdy. In the film, Cage plays a disfigured Vietnam
veteran who visits a friend from the war in a psychiatric hospital. To prepare for the part, the then 19-year-old
Cage had his wisdom teeth extracted without anesthesia. He also spent weeks with his face bandaged
day and night, so he could experience the physical pain and discomfort his character
was going through. His impressive dedication to the part shows,
and Cage’s work in Birdy remains one of his best early performances. Christian Bale While method acting began as a way to harness
personal experiences and emotions as a way to play a part more convincingly, in recent
years it’s become almost synonymous with drastic physical transformations. In one prominent example, Christian Bale made
headlines and jeopardized his health when he lost a jaw-dropping 63 pounds to play the
insomnia-plagued Trevor Reznik in 2004’s The Machinist. For weeks before filming began, Bale survived
on just an apple and a can of tuna fish a day. According to his Machinist costar Michael
Ironside, the drastic diet wasn’t even necessary. The screenwriter for the movie had put some
example weights into the script based on his own height. When the much-taller Bale saw the figures,
he decided to go for those weights instead of something more realistic for his bigger
frame. After filming wrapped, Bale bulked up again,
gaining 109 pounds in just six months for his next role in Batman Begins. He’s gone on to use drastic weight changes
in preparation for other parts, too; more recently, Bale shaved his head and packed
on the pounds to play former U.S. vice president Dick Cheney in the 2018 biopic Backseat. Martin Sheen After director Francis Ford Coppola fired
Harvey Keitel from 1979’s Apocalypse Now two weeks into production, he picked Martin Sheen
to take Keitel’s place as Captain Benjamin L. Willard. Sheen’s approach was to use experiences from
his own life to bring himself closer to his character. Sheen certainly brought his own demons with
him to the set. His personal struggle with alcoholism played
a key role in the film’s famous opening scene. The actor was completely drunk that day, and
Coppola captured the unscripted mirror-smashing, weeping, and blood-smearing that followed. When production moved to the jungle, Sheen
told his friends that he wasn’t sure he’d make it out of the shoot alive, and he almost
didn’t. Sheen actually suffered a heart attack and
crawled for a quarter mile to a road, where he was found and airlifted to a hospital. He was back on the set just six weeks later. In this case, at least, it wasn’t just one
actor who was uncontrollable on set. From the tropical diseases that ravaged the
crew to actual cadavers showing up on the set, the entire shoot was chaotic. If anything, it would have been weird if Martin
Sheen hadn’t acted weird. Matt Damon He may be famous today for movies like Good
Will Hunting and the Jason Bourne franchise, but in the early 1990s, Matt Damon was just
another unknown actor. All that changed when he was cast in the 1996
war drama Courage Under Fire. To prepare for the role of an ex-medic with
a drug addiction, Damon dropped down to a mere 139 pounds by running 13 miles a day
and subsisting on a diet made almost entirely of chicken breast. The drastic weight loss took an enormous toll
on his body, after filming wrapped, he had to take special medication for a year and
a half just to repair the damage done to his adrenal gland. Daniel Day-Lewis For much of his career, three-time Oscar winner
Daniel Day-Lewis has been notorious for his intense approach to method acting. The actor’s behavior on and off the set is
the stuff of legend. In preparation for his role as John Proctor
in The Crucible, Day-Lewis went back to basics, literally. He lived for months on the set of the 17th-century
village with no electricity or running water, built his character’s home by hand with only
tools from that era, and even gave up his beloved motorcycle in favor of a horse. Ashton Kutcher After Apple CEO Steve Jobs passed away in
2011, the race was on in Hollywood to develop a feature film based on the mogul’s remarkable
life. For the 2013 independent film Jobs, director
Joshua Michael Stern picked Ashton Kutcher to portray the complex computer pioneer, and
the actor spent three months preparing for the role, watching hundreds of hours of archival
footage to understand Jobs’ accent, posture, and facial expressions. He didn’t stop there, Kutcher also tried adopting
a fruit-only diet, similar to the one Jobs adopted as part of an alternative medicine
regimen to treat his cancer. For Kutcher, the drastic diet caused its own
health issues, two days before filming began, he ended up in the hospital with pancreas
problems. Kutcher explained: “I was like doubled over
in pain. My pancreas levels were completely out of
whack. It was really terrifying.” In the end, Kutcher’s dedication paid off,
while Jobs received mixed reviews and was criticized for its historical inaccuracies,
Kutcher’s performance earned praise. “What are you…you gonna fire me?” “No! I already fired you!” “Why are you still here?”

100 Comments

  1. ABHISHEK MUKHERJEE Author

    Well Robert De Niro had a dentist mess up his teeth to look evil for his role in Scorsese's 'Cape fear'. I think that should've made it to this list.

    Reply
  2. Bee Pee Author

    Bale should have been suspended and made to put on weight after what he did for the Machinist. The fact that it's a totally average film aside, no one should be allowed to torture themselves for role like this. He's a great actor, but my goodness, what a fool he was to do that to himself.

    Reply
  3. Smithrock Author

    7:20 '…special medication to repair his adrenal gland…' All hats of for Matt , Good Will Hunting and Departed and what not bur this info is BULLSHIT. There isn't a medication that can repair such damage at that level.

    Reply
  4. frecklesaep Author

    Method acting at least on stage is considered suicide acting lol. If you get too much into a character, especially very depressed ones or ones in sad plays, it can get hard to come back from and often leads to actors killing themselves

    Reply
  5. HeyZeus M Author

    Thanks for disrespecting Heath Ledger in his performance as the Joker, the ultimate method acting performance that essentially cost him his life. RIP

    Reply
  6. Kevin Lucey Author

    I guess Im the only one who thinks its weird and borderline crazy to find comfort in an actor "method" acting as my dead dad? that was a trip to hear lmao

    Reply
  7. baby caleb Author

    Thats why hollywood actors are great, compare to Filipino actors who will do a fucking role by just reading a script and not really immersing into the character experiences.

    Reply
  8. Brock Author

    I just watched the Machinist and Christian Bale's dedication to his weight loss is amazing, he looks like a fucking zombie in that film and it makes things much more immersive. Its crazy he was willing to go through that torture for a relatively small movie

    Reply
  9. baw0909 Author

    What 2018 Christian Bale movie was mentioned where he shaved his head a gained weight? He played Cheney in "Vice" in 2018 but that was not the movie mentioned in this video.

    Reply
  10. ALLY S Author

    The Jim Carrey- Andy Kaufman story may have been a little creepy but it shows true dedication. Crazy how Jim referred to himself playing Andy as “Andy” many years later. 😳

    Reply
  11. carl ruppersburg Author

    Method Acting isn't acting. If I become Andy Kaufman for the role then I am not acting. If I stop eating and throw up after meals for the role of Karen Carpenter, I am not acting. Too much hype about method acting – sell the idea through the art of acting and not becoming something else.

    Reply
  12. MR Min Author

    If someone different from you and doesn't have your thoughts it doesn't mean that he is insane, don't compare theothers with your self. I'm talking about Jim

    Reply
  13. Jenie Michael Author

    hey uh why is there not one single woman in this video??? meryl streep/angelina jolie/jessica chastain/anne hathaway/natalie portman/chloe sevigny/rooney mara/kate winslet/michelle williams/charlize theron??

    Reply
  14. jataimvu Author

    Well, I am going to add Heath Ledger,(as literally-everyone already has), but not just for "The Joker" character in "The Dark Knight" but look and mention at least one of his other works where he is "BRILLIANT"! His portrayal as "Ennis Del Mar" in "Brokeback Mountain" ??? And come on Morgan "Freak' n Freeman-that guy played God-he makes everyone a better actor- Then of course you Meryl Streep who takes down all these guys. Actually, I would love to see how a Daniel Day-Lewis/Meryl Streep movie would go????

    Reply
  15. Mark T. Author

    Vincent D'Onofrio changed so much between "Adventures in Babysitting" and "Full Metal Jacket," both made in 1987, it's hard to believe you're seeing the same person. (The movies are radically different too.)

    Reply
  16. Nathan Boyle Author

    @Biscuitchris7again
    Well, you don't have to put Oldman here as an exceptional example, as if he discovered America, because many actors think so. Bale said this about acting as well, that ''it's just a job''. But the same time, he just wants to give 1000%, all he has and for that I admire the guy. My fav Bale quotes: [on being called a 'star'] I'm embarrassed when people say things such as 'star'. It's so vacuous. What if it was the apocalypse right now? What use would I be to anybody? Most people have definite skills but I'd be going 'Yeah, you know what? I'm going to pretend to be somebody else'. That's a great leveller. Ultimately, I'm useless.
    [on Mroczny rycerz (2008)] Many times, I'll work with actors and I can tell they're thinking: "What are you doing? Why are you going that far with it?" or "You're nuts!". With [Heath Ledger], I could feel him going: "I love it!".

    Reply
  17. Kimberley Searching Author

    Nicolas Cage started off so promising! I was blown away by Birdy! Now he’s in every other Netflix piece of crap!

    Then again .. Matthew Modine was amazing in that movie too.. yet his career went absolutely nowhere. 🤷‍♀️

    Reply
  18. Madmartigan326 Author

    Did you say cadaver when you meant to say corpse? Does youtube not like that word? I know what the word means, but cadaver sort of implies that its a body that will be or is being used for science. If you meant to say corpse…. Maybe 'body' would have been more appropriate

    Reply
  19. Bryan Kanale Author

    I heard Leo DiCaprio did 20 kilos of cocaine each day, shot up heroin 5 times per day, smoke marijuana for 10 hours each day and slept with 3 prostitutes every night in order to prepare for THE WOLF OF WALLSTREET.

    Reply
  20. Maria Iskandar Author

    They should have mentioned Tom hardy instead of Ashton Kutcher. Tom hardy is a phenomenal actor in Stuart a life backwards, warrior and Bronson .

    Reply
  21. Moriz Haskelberg Author

    Can another actor answer this please : do they really need to do it 24/24 ? Could they not just get into the character when shooting ? Never acted, dunno.

    Reply
  22. ischaffee Author

    totally left out Castaway with Tom Hanks.. he dropped a ton of weight and was so believalbe as someone who had been living on a desert island

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *