Actors Who Took It A Step Too Far To Get Into Character

entertainment | Rick Lax & Friends | 7/19/18

I’m sure a lot of us have watched a movie or television show and said, “I could probably do that.” Acting can’t be that hard, right? Wrong. Some actors might be average, but others really get into their roles. You could even say they took it a step too far.

Playing solitaire like your character is one thing, but having teeth pulled with no pain reliever is way too much. Some actors rely exclusively on method acting, and others just like to experiment with it. These people prove that being an actor is one part genius, one part talent, and entirely crazy.

Halle Berry Didn’t Shower To Get That ‘Fresh Off The Street’ Look

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Photo credit: Universal Pictures / MovieStillsDB

When director Spike Lee gave Halle Berry her first feature role for Jungle Fever, he initially wanted her to play his wife, but she wanted more of a challenge.

Instead, she played the crack-addicted prostitute Vivian. Berry got into character by not bathing for two weeks to get the “homeless” look right.

Jonah Hill Actually Overdosed On Set

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Hill’s character in The Wolf Of Wall Street is an innocent investor turned stock-market mogul who loves every drug he can get his hands on. During filming, Hill had to be rushed to the hospital after snorting too much fake cocaine.

The film used vitamin d powder as a substitute, but since it is fat, not water, soluble, you can still OD off it.

Daniel Day-Lewis Has Always Been The Ultimate Method Actor

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Even though he’s now officially retired, anyone in Hollywood would call Daniel Day-Lewis the ultimate method actor. He is known for staying in character 24/7 while filming. During My Left Foot, the crew would have to feed him by hand, or he wouldn’t eat, just like his character.

After playing a spooky character for years, the actor coming took a completely different role — both he and his character ended up in rehab.

No One Knows What Creed’s Actual Job Was, So He Played Solitaire

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Creed Bratton was written to mirror the actor who portrayed him. Real life Creed Bratton is laid-back and fun-loving. Creed in The Office is usually seen in the background doing absolutely nothing, and that’s exactly what the actor did.

He would sit on his computer and play solitaire in the background the entire time a scene would be shot.

Heath Ledger Kept A Dark Diary While Preparing For The Dark Knight

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Most people know that the role of The Joker was a big factor in Heath Ledger’s untimely death. But it’s shocking just what he did to immerse himself in the character.

Ledger locked himself in his apartment for more than a month to be alone with his thoughts. He left behind a creepy diary that shows a window into his mind.

David Duchovny Had To Go To Sex Addict Therapy, Just Like His Character

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After The X-Files came to an end, David Duchovny started his new project, Californication. The show was about a novelist named Hank Moody with a sex addiction. Duchovny himself checked into rehab for sex addiction in 2008, making us all think twice about his starring role.

Getting too into character isn’t always a bad thing. The actress coming up used her time on set to pay bills and do Christmas shopping, just like her character would have.

Robert De Niro Became An Actual Taxi Driver For Taxi Driver

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Robert De Niro got an actual New York City cab drivers license to prepare for the role of a derange driver in Taxi Driver. He would drive around the town charging standard fares for 12-hour shifts to understand a cabbie’s experience.

The method acting worked because the film was nominated for several awards.

I Don’t Know How Adrian Brody Cut Off His Cell Phone For A Role

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Unlike other actors who just take on a persona, Adrian Brody gave up all his worldly possessions to play a Polish Jewish refugee during the Holocaust in The Pianist. Brody gave up his apartment, sold his car, disconnected his cell phone, and even broke up with his girlfriend.

He said he wanted to learn what it felt like to lose everything.

Phyllis Smith Would Do Her Christmas Shopping On The Set Of The Office

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Phyllis Vance from The Office wasn’t exactly known to be the hardest worker, and the actress that portrayed her made sure to always stay in character. She would actually pay her bills and do her Christmas shopping online in the background of scenes. Sometimes getting way too into character can really work in your favor.

Learning an entire new language helped the man coming up win a Best Actor Oscar.

Andre Royo Said He Got A ‘Street Oscar’ On The Set Of The Wire

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The first season on HBO’s The Wire centered around the drug trade in Baltimore. Actor Andre Royo played drug addict Bubbles, and was so convincing that someone came up and handed him a package of heroin, then said he looked like he needed a fix.

To this day, Royo says that was his first “street Oscar.”

Nicolas Cage Pulled Out Two Of His Teeth, Because Of Course He Did


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Would this list be complete without including Nicolas Cage? While filming Birdy, Cage had two of his teeth removed without any anesthesia because he claimed his character wouldn’t have had any during the period either.

Cage is known for his unique and outrageous style of acting, but removing teeth just for a role is a little much.

A Lot Of Actors Learn Entire Languages For A Role

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Photo credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures / MoviesStillsDB

It’s common for actors to learn bits and parts of new languages for roles so they can appear more convincing, but Forest Whitaker learned the entire Swahili language. Whitaker’s Swahili skills helped him win the Best Actor Oscar for the role of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland.

Keep reading to see what happens when method acting becomes a little too close to obsession.

The Actors On One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest Actually Went Crazy

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The entire ensemble cast for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest checked themselves into the psychiatric ward. Jack Nicolson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, and most of the cast lived in Oregon State Hospital while filming.

Some of them have recalled their experiences as eye-opening, and say that what you see in the film is both acting and a real experience.

Someone Tried To Pick Up Julia Minesci On The Set Of Breaking Bad

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Similar to how Andre Royo was mistaken for a drug addict, Breaking Bad actress Julia Minesci was mistaken for a real prostitute. A man approached Minesci while she was in character and offered money for her “services.”

Minesci thought the guy was one of the hired “johns” for a scene, but thankfully the crew came and told her the truth.

Val Kilmer Wore Jim Morrison’s Old Clothes

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To truly embody Jim Morrison in The Doors, Val Kilmer literally lived as Morrison for a full year. He wore his old clothes, went to all his old Los Angeles hangout spots, and learned every single lyric to each Morrison song ever written. This type of method acting borders on obsession.

Two actors we’ve already mentioned get recognized again because one crazy role just isn’t enough for them.

Maybe Charlie Sheen Has Been Method Acting All His Life

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In case you forgot, Charlie Sheen had a small role in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. He was the guy in the police station that entertained Ferris’ sister. For his small part, Sheen stayed awake for 48 hours straight to achieve a convincing “wasted” look.

Fast-forward 25 years and his drug and sex habits made it way easier to get the “wasted” look.

Nic Cage Deserves A Second Mention For Ghost Rider

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Photo credit: Sony Pictures / MovieStillsDB

Pulling out two teeth for a role wasn’t enough. To be convincing in Ghost Rider, Cage went full-blown voodoo. He painted his face and would carry Egyptian relics to “shock his imagination” into believing he could actually contact ancient ghosts.

He also wouldn’t talk to any of his co-stars because he wanted them to fear him.

And Daniel Day-Lewis Gets A Second Mention For Building A House Using 17th Century Tools

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Is there any role Daniel Day-Lewis can’t do? The actor’s honorable mention goes to his preparation to play the lead role in The Crucible. While filming, Day-Lewis lived on the set without electricity or running water and built a house using 17th-century tools.

Daniel Day-Lewis and Nic Cage are in the ultimate battle of the method actors.

Robert Downey Jr. Did The DVD Commentary In Character

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It was easy for Robert Downey Jr. to embody the crazy method acting character of Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder. Downey Jr.’s character gets surgery to become black for a role and has one line where he says “I don’t drop character ’til I done the DVD commentary.”

Well, Downey Jr. took it to heart and even did the Tropic Thunder DVD commentary as Lazarus.

Helena Bonham Carter Actually Tortured Matthew Lewis

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An accident on the set of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix shows why Bellatrix Lestrange is one of the most hated characters in the Harry Potter universe. During a torture scene, Bonham Carter accidentally ruptured the eardrum of the Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom.

They say the scene was an accident, but maybe Bonham Carter was just a little too into character.