Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his intense portrayal of the Joker in 2008 film ‘The Dark Knight.’ TNS
Mitchelle D’Souza, Sub-editor/Reporter
We know for a fact that actors put in much time and dedication in understanding a movie character and embracing it.
However, method acting as they call it, can make actors sink into their roles so deeply, that it gets difficult to resurrect their actual personalities post the completion of the role.
From injuring themselves on set, to giving a fright to co-stars and family members, actors have been known to blur the lines between fiction and reality many a times.
While method acting has been adopted by some of the greatest actors, there have been many instances of things going awry.
The usual suspects definitely are the toast of the season Joaquin Phoenix and seasoned method actor Daniel Day-Lewis.
The not so obvious names in our list are those of Rooney Mara and Christian Bale.
Below is a compilation of 10 actors who took their roles too seriously.
Famously known as one of Hollywood’s biggest method actors, Daniel Day-Lewis spent six months alone in the wilderness in preparation for his role in The Last of the Mohicans (1992).
Hilary Swank almost risked dying while filming scenes for the drama Million Dollar Baby (2004).
She had to undergo intense training sessions for her role of a boxer.
She spent such long hours in the gym (six days a week for three months) that a doctor told her a staph infection — caused by a burst blister on her foot — was hours away from reaching her heart.
For her turn as Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011) Rooney Mara transformed herself not just mentally, but physically too.
She cut her hair, bleached her eyebrows and pierced her body to get into the mindset of the cyber hacker protagonist.
We reckon Leonardo DiCaprio’s Best Actor Oscar win for The Revenant (2015) was the prize he received for putting himself in harm’s way (not to mention his brilliant acting chops) while preparing for his character in the film.
For his role as Hugh Glass, a man stranded in deep wilderness, the actor had to go in and out of freezing rivers, sleep in animal carcasses, and risk getting hypothermia.
DiCaprio himself admitted getting sick while filming the movie.
Christian Bale is in this list for not one, but two transformative movie roles.
He portrayed former US Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice ((2018), for which he gained immense weight and bulked up, eventually winning a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
But this was not his first tryst with body transformation, as back in 2004 he lost such an alarming amount of weight for the role of Trevor Reznik in The Machinist (2004) that he became virtually unrecognisable.
"I was intrigued by a perverse nature of mine just to see if I can go beyond what I've been told is actually safe and okay, and see if I could push the limits," he went on to tell the BBC.
Kate Winslet took her role of the former Nazi concentration camp guard at the heart of drama The Reader (2008) so seriously that she spoke with a German accent in her day-to-day life and compared leaving the character behind her to escaping a serious car crash.
Anne Hathaway’s Oscar-winning role of Fantine in Les Misérables (2012) saw her cut off her hair and eat nothing but lettuce and oatmeal paste, leaving her in "a state of deprivation, both physically and emotionally."
Heath Ledger set a precedent when he dramatized the role of Joker in The Dark Knight (2008).
However, the maverick actor went to many lengths to get his mannerisms and quirks right for the role.
He decided to lock himself in a hotel room for an entire month just to perfect the villain’s mischievous laugh and even reportedly kept a diary with outlandish writings that he considered The Joker’s personal journal.
While Natalie Portman created quite a stir when she shaved her head for the film V for Vendetta. However, it was her role in the 2010 film Black Swan that really made her a bona fide method actor.
The star, who already has a tiny frame, dropped 9 kilogrammes for the ballerina role and spent an entire year training for it.
Portman reportedly spent eight hours a day rehearsing and even ended up dislocating a rib.
The role won her an Academy Award for Best Actress.
That the actor is no stranger to body transformations is a fact well known by now.
However, back in 2008, Joaquin Phoenix displayed some bizarre behaviour after he quit acting to become a hip-hop artist.
It was later revealed that his career switch — strange interviews included — was, in fact, a giant hoax for 2010 mockumentary I'm Still Here.
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