Published on Saturday, 06 July 2013 00:00
Contrary to popular belief, Hollywood is not just all about sex, drugs and rock n’ roll, even though it seems like it. Behind the glitz, the glamour and the cocaine lies a strong, formidable spirit in many of the A-listers. The “A” does not only represent their social status in Hollywood, it also stands for Admirable.
Just to get into character for a movie role, some actors push themselves to the limit to achieve the particular mindset of their character.
1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To get in character for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975), majority of the supporting cast had themselves checked into a mental institution. Several of them mentioned that what the audience see in the film as them acting bat-shit crazy is more of them being affected by the experience than just simply acting.
2. Charlie Sheen
Charlie Sheen galvanized his druggie character in Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) by staying awake for 48 hours straight before filming to achieve a wasted look.
3. Daniel Day-Lewis
During the shooting of My Left Foot (1989), Daniel Day Lewis obstinately refused to break out of character as Christy Brown, a man with cerebral palsy whose left foot is the only part of his body he can fully control. The cast and crew had to physically feed him during breaks or he would have starved.
4. Billy Bob Thornton
In his directorial debut Sling Blade (1996), Billy Bob Thornton filled his shoes with crushed glass to make his character’s unusual shuffle seem more believable and consistent.
5. Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody wanted to know what it feels like for his character in The Pianist (2002) to ‘lose everything’. So prior to the shooting of the film, he gave away all his worldly possessions and cut off all contact with people he loved. He gave up his house, his car, he disconnected his cell phone, and he dumped his girlfriend.
6. Christian Bale
Christian Bale lost a staggering 28.5kg for The Machinist (2004) where he plays Trevor Reznik, an insomniac man who lost so much weight to the point of being severely emaciated.
Bale is documented as stating, “I had what could be called a kind of stupid feeling of invincibility, like, 'Oh I can do it. I can manage it.'”
7. Heath Ledger
In preparation for his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008), Heath Ledger confined himself in his hotel room for an entire month, all the while recording dark, creepy entries into a diary.
“I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices – it was important to try to find a somewhat iconic voice and laugh. I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath – someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts. He’s just an absolute sociopath, a cold-blooded, mass-murdering clown.” – Heath Ledger
Acting may not sound like a very respectable profession. However, these actors’ sheer determination and ultimate dedication to their jobs is very much underrated and in need of a standing ovation for their impressive display of human spirit. This literally goes to show that you can become anything you want through a sturdy sense of willpower and hard work.