There are many different approaches to acting as a skill, and a lot of actors like to go deep with it. Method Acting is the name given to a style of acting in which the actor will inhabit the role, and fully immerse themselves in a character, adopting mannerisms, personality traits, and more. Sometimes this devotion to the cause can wind up in accolades and honors, and that’s pretty awesome.
Though sometimes, actors can go too far into a role that it can adversely affect them after the fact. Much of the time, these movies and roles can have a lasting impact on the actors and their psyche. Check out our list of movies we all love, but that have certainly taken their toll on the people who starred in them.
The Pianist – Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody’s stunning performance in Roman Polanski’s holocaust drama made him the youngest actor ever to receive the Best Actor in a Leading Role Oscar. The award was thoroughly deserved, not least because of the enormous physical and mental strain it placed him under. After landing the role, Brody allegedly sold his car, ended the lease on his apartment, and moved to Europe to live in solitude. He also took to starving himself as part of the character’s process – he claimed that after the movie it took him a year and a half to get back to normal!
The King’s Speech – Colin Firth
Another Oscar-winning film, with another powerhouse performance at the center of it. Colin Firth won the Oscar for his role as monarch King George VI, afflicted with a crippling stutter that seems to affect every part of his life. Firth worked closely with a vocal coach for the movie and listened to recordings of George, so he could perfect the King’s tics, mannerisms, and stutter. It worked wonderfully, but so immersed was Firth in the role that he found himself slipping into a stutter in regular, everyday speech, even in interviews 8 months after filming had ended!
The Dark Knight – Heath Ledger
One of the most tragic tales in Hollywood was the untimely death of Heath Ledger at the age of just 28. Ledger’s role of The Joker in The Dark Knight would secure him the first-ever posthumous Oscar following his accidental death in 2008. It was well-documented that Ledger immersed himself in the role – isolating himself in a hotel, keeping a journal of The Joker’s inner thoughts, and barely sleeping. It was rumored that this contributed to the prescription pills he was taking, but this is unsubstantiated.
Psycho – Janet Leigh
Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous film features one of the most iconic scenes in movie history, with Janet Leigh being knifed to death in the shower at the Bates Motel. The scene allegedly terrified Leigh, who claimed she never felt comfortable in a shower again after the movie. She admitted in interviews that she rarely took showers after the movie, and if she did she would have the curtain open and would look directly at the door!
These are some of the best roles in the history of cinema, and many of them were deservedly award-winning. But, they also had long-lasting effects on the actors and actresses who played the roles, and many of them were never the same afterward. These are examples that take the phrase ‘suffering for your art’ to the next level.