Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
 

Extreme things actors did so that they would get into character for their parts

Nikola Simonovski
1975: Actors Jack Nicholson, Danny Devito and Brad Dourif perform in scene from movie 'One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest' directed by Milos Foreman. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The lives of the movie stars seem enviable; they are rich, live in luxury, and travel around the globe. The actors make it look so easy, as if all they need to do is appear in movies and earn lots of money.

However, dedicated actors put time and effort to get into character for every single role. Below is a list of some of the most extreme things actors did to prepare:

Robert De Niro drove passengers around New York for his role in “Taxi Driver”

Robert De Niro’s wig from Taxi Driver Photo Credit Pollack CC BY-SA 3.0

Robert De Niro’s wig from Taxi Driver Photo Credit Pollack CC BY-SA 3.0

The role of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver is one of the most talked about film performances of all times. Robert De Niro was known to push the limits and do extreme things to get into character. For this movie, he studied mental illness and got a taxi driver’s license. He would drive passengers around New York City for 12 hours every day until he was fully prepared for the role of Bickle.

Forest Whitaker learned an African language for “The Last King of Scotland”

Actor Forest Whitaker Photo Credit Siebbi – CC BY 3.0

Actor Forest Whitaker Photo Credit Siebbi – CC BY 3.0

Forest Whitaker won notice for playing Idi Amin, the dictator of Uganda. To prepare for the role, Whitaker learned the Swahili language in order to have a better collaboration with the Ugandan actors and the extras on the movie set. Besides this, the actor gained 50 pounds so he would look more like the notorious dictator.

Christian Bale lost 65 pounds for “The Machinist”

Actor Christian Bale leaving the press conference Photo Credit Siebbi – CC BY 3.0

Actor Christian Bale leaving the press conference Photo Credit Siebbi – CC BY 3.0

For his role as Trevor Reznik in the psychological thriller The Machinist, Christian Bale lost 60 pounds to get into the character of the insomnia-suffering factory worker.

Strangely enough, the weight of the character in the script was supposedly a typo, as the writer entered his own weight. The director demanded the script be changed as per Bale’s proportions, but the actor insisted that he lose the 60 pounds as a challenge to see if he was able to do it.

Heath Ledger isolated himself from the outer world for “The Dark Knight”

Heath Ledger at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival, February 2006 Photo Credit Siebbi CC BY 3.0

Heath Ledger at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival, February 2006 Photo Credit Siebbi CC BY 3.0

The late Heath Ledger’s performance in The Dark Knight sent chills up many a viewer’s spine. To get into character for his role as the Joker, Ledger locked himself in a hotel room for six weeks before the filming started. The isolation paid off, and the Joker overshadowed Christian Bale’s role as the Batman. Heath Ledger won the Oscar for the supporting role for his performance, but the award was given to him posthumously.

Some people believed the preparation for the role was in part to blame for mentally destroying the actor.

 

Brody turned away from his luxurious lifestyle and sold his apartment, his car, and all his possessions. The actor went so far as to break up with his girlfriend so that he could better perform in the scenes where Szpilman cried.

A group of actors checked into a psychiatric ward for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”

Bo Goldman (left) and Michael Douglas on the set of Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Bo Goldman (left) and Michael Douglas on the set of Milos Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, the masterpiece of Milos Forman, was made in 1975. The story takes place in a psychiatric ward, so a group of actors led by Jack Nicholson reportedly checked themselves into a real asylum to study the behavior of the patients.

Read another story from us: After filming “The Doors” Val Kilmer underwent therapy just to get out of character

The experience they earned during their stay in the ward helped the actors to play their roles, and many of them stayed in character even when the camera wasn’t rolling. Needless to say, the movie was a huge success and won Oscars.