18 Actors Who Went to Drastic Measures for a Role

3 years ago

Scoring a great movie role isn’t the toughest part for actors — some have to undergo drastic body transformations, while others dive deep into the concept of method acting which can also affect their lives off-screen. Actors from Robert Pattinson to Emma Stone left no stone unturned to make their roles as convincing as possible.

We at Bright Side respect such dedication and want to highlight some of the actors who went to extreme lengths for a role, leaving an everlasting impact on audiences.

1. Robert Pattinson as Connie Nikas in Good Time

In order to deliver the role of a low-life thief accurately, Pattinson lived in a basement apartment in Harlem. He also kept his curtains shut all the time, never changed the sheets or threw out the trash, and slept in Connie’s clothes for 2 months. All he ate in that basement apartment was tuna to drop his weight. The apartment always smelled like rotting fish.

2. Anne Hathaway as Fantine in Les Misérables

Hathaway was obsessed with the role and so dedicated to it that she lost 25 pounds by eating 2 thin squares of dried oatmeal paste every day. Besides her weight loss, she also had to shave her head for the role. It was this powerful method acting that scored her an Oscar win for “Best Supporting Actress” as Fantine.

3. Chris Pratt as Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy

After shooting Zero Dark Thirty, Pratt gained a lot of weight due to overeating and since he had the role of a comic book hero coming up, he worked with professionals to drop a whopping 60 pounds in just 6 months.

4. Channing Tatum as Burt in Hail, Caesar!

Tatum is known for his dance moves in Magic Mike and Step Up, but for Hail, Caesar!, he had to train himself to tap dance and sing to deliver the role perfectly. That’s why he completed 10 years of tap dance training in just 3 months. With his charming good looks and vocals, he also sang the song, “No Dames!” while dancing around with other shipmates.

5. John Krasinski as Jack Silva in 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Our dear Jim Halpert from The Office was transformed into a ripped special ops soldier for this movie and along with the other actors, he underwent vigorous training similar to that of the army. They learned the workings of various weapons and how to maneuver through rooms with and without lights. It was an incredibly intense workout for the cast!

6. Halle Berry as Vivian in Jungle Fever

Jungle Fever was Halle Berry’s first-ever film and she was so dedicated to the role that she didn’t bathe for 2 weeks and embraced the concept of method acting to deliver Vivian’s role accurately.

7. Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

To portray the role of the punk hacker, Rooney had to bleach her eyebrows, chop her hair off, and pierce her eyebrow, lip, and nose. She also got acquainted with martial arts, motorbike riding, and skateboarding.

8. Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray

Besides working out daily, Foxx also had to wear prosthetic eyelids glued over his eyes for 14 hours every day on the sets to portray Ray Charles’ blindness. For the same, he also attended Braille Institute. He used to wake up early to film for longer hours and stayed up late to practice the piano. So it’s no wonder he won an Academy Award for his very realistic performance.

9. Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena in Boys Don’t Cry

Before filming Boys Don’t Cry, Swank would dress as a male with her hair chopped off and her chest bandaged up to make it look flat. She used to go out in public and spoke in a low voice by introducing herself as her brother, James. She herself claimed that this practice gave her the phenomenal experience of what it feels like to not be famous.

10. Matt Damon as Andrew Ilario in Courage Under Fire

Damon paid heed to a strict diet and training regimen to prepare for this role. His body conditions were so bad that he had to be put under medical supervision for many months after the completion of the film.

11. 50 Cent as Deon in All Things Fall Apart

50 Cent drastically dropped 54 pounds for this role by going on a liquid diet and spending 3 hours every day on a treadmill. He looked emaciated and was unrecognizable to audiences.

12. Richard Gere as George in Time Out of Mind

Gere grew inclined to raise awareness for the homeless and had been working with the Coalition for the Homeless for many years before taking on this role. Aside from method acting, he spent time with actual homeless people, and the cameras were hidden from him while filming which made some local New Yorkers think that Gere was one of them.

13. Demi Moore as Jordan O’Neil in G.I. Jane

Besides shaving her head, Demi Moore also took part in intense Navy SEAL training to prepare for her role as Jordan O’Neil in the movie.

14. Chris Hemsworth in In the Heart of the Sea

It’s hard to picture the mighty Thor in such a drastic weight transformation. For his role in In the Heart of the Sea, Hemsworth, along with fifteen of his burly cast members, worked on a diet called “Lost at Sea” which was so difficult that every pound lost felt like a kilogram. The actors weighed themselves every day and it was all they talked about — their diet and how much weight they lost.

15. Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver

To prepare for his legendary performance, De Niro worked 12-hour cab shifts in New York City. He also researched mental illness and visited a US Army base in Northern Italy to get acquainted with the Midwestern accent.

16. Nicole Kidman as Erin Bell in Destroyer

Nicole Kidman played the role of a worn-down detective named Erin Bell in Destroyer and claimed that living inside that character took her weeks to get used to, she found herself shuffling between the role so often. She also had the flu while filming, but she made the most of her sickness in her performance. Eventually, she got so unwell that she could barely stand.

17. Cameron Diaz as Lotte Schwartz in Being John Malkovich

Diaz’s make-up artist, Gucci Westman, claimed that styling her was a challenging task because the actress had to look very homely for the role, as the script demanded. People thought Diaz was a stranger when she took on the role.

18. Emma Stone in Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Emma Stone appeared in Matthew McConaughey’s last comedy movie, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, wearing a frizzy red wig and geeky braces. It’s hard to imagine her without her gorgeous hair and charming looks, but she portrayed her role flawlessly nonetheless.

Which method acting performance listed above is your favorite? Do you know more about such dedicated method actors who would do anything to deliver a flawless performance? Share what you know with us in the comments below.


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this feels like the real work done, I like it way more than the usage of computer technologies


You forgot about Christian Bale in The Machinist, his weight loss is incredible, and Charlize Theron in Monster. Both really worth mention here...


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