Acting isn’t as easy as walking onto the set and reading some lines. It often takes an incredible level of dedication, hard work, and sacrifice. Some actors and actresses go to a level well beyond what’s necessary for a role, and it really shows in their work. Here are 16 examples of extreme dedication to acting – isn’t it amazing how far they go?
1. Anne Hathaway lived off of two squares of dried oatmeal a day.
To prepare for her role in Les Misérables, Anne Hathaway ate only two dried squares of oatmeal a day to lose weight. She even cut off her hair.
2. Jared Leto stayed in character as transgender Rayon.
On top of losing weight for the role, Leto remained in character throughout the filming of Dallas Buyers Club, and won quite a few awards for all his hard work.
3. Heath Ledger isolated himself for 6 weeks in a hotel room with a diary.
When cast as The Joker, Ledger went all out to portray the Clown Prince of Crime. He spent his time in isolation trying voices and getting into the mindset of a deranged criminal. It paid off with widespread acclaim and an Academy Award that he tragically did not live to receive.
4. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams lived together for a month before filming.
The actors spent a month living in the house of their characters with their on-screen daughter to truly get in the mindset of a family for Blue Valentine.
5. Matthew McConaughey ate chicken and egg whites and lost 40 lbs for a role.
Leto wasn’t the only one on set who committed wholly to their role, McConaughey also shed the pounds for his part in Dallas Buyers Club.
6. Christian Bale will change his weight for any role.
Bale famously lost a great deal of weight to look skeletal for his role in The Machinist, followed by bulking up to become Batman again, then let it all go for American Hustle, and more in between. If the body is a temple, then Bale’s is constantly under renovations.
via Top Celeb Weight Loss
7. Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis master ballet for Black Swan.
Portman and Kunis began an intense training regimen of 8 hours per day a year before filming even began, so they could perform the pieces in the film. Isn’t it amazing that they actually performed those beautiful ballet moves?
via The Hollywood Gossip
8. Tom Cruise learned to blend into crowds to become an assassin for Collateral
Cruise would dress up as a FedEx employee and deliver packages in crowded areas without being noticed or recognized. He also made sure to practice firing guns with live ammo. In much less crowded areas, I imagine.
via BAMF Style
9. Michelle Williams studied to become Marilyn Monroe.
Williams watched hours of interviews repeatedly to get her voice down and would wear a belt around her knees to emulate Monroe’s walk in prep for My Week with Marilyn. Looks like she nailed it!
10. Rooney Mara went through a radical makeover to become Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Mara had her lip, nose, eyebrow and nipple actually pierced. She got several piercings in her ears, wore all black makeup throughout filming and even cut and dyed her hair black. Talk about a full-body transformation – I’ve never even heard of this level of dedication.
11. Kate Winslet read to her children in a German accent for The Reader.
She would practice her German accent while at home to the point that her children were “mightily fed up.” The role won her an Oscar, so the frustration was worth it. It took her two months to return to her normal self.
12. Nicholas Cage will go to any length for his role.
Cage has recorded himself while drunk to watch it and get into the mindset, refuse to talk to coworkers to establish an air of intimidation, carried ancient Egyptian trinkets said to summon spirits, and removed two of his own teeth for various parts. The man is dedicated to his art.
via Over Mental
13. Adrien Brody gave up everything to be in The Pianist.
In order to get into his role as a Jewish Holocaust Survivor, he gave up his car, apartment, his Hollywood lifestyle, even breaking up with his girlfriend so that he could feel like he truly lost everything.
via Focus Features
14. Charlize Theron transforms into a Monster.
Theron has been applauded for her incredible transformation for the role of Aileen Wuornos, including gaining 30 lbs and wearing facial prosthetics for her haunting performance.
via tumblr / tarkovskymalick
15. Daniel Day-Lewis refuses to leave character, even for his health.
Day-Lewis is known for his extreme method acting, such as never being out of character. Examples include answering all of his texts as Abraham Lincoln or only wearing period clothing during filming. After refusing to wear any coat that wouldn’t have been available in the 1800s, he got pneumonia on the set of Gangs of New York.
via Below the Line
16. Most of the cast of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest checked into a psychiatric ward.
To prep for their roles as the patients of a psychiatric ward, much of the supporting cast decided to live the experience first, and some of the actual patients were used in the final film as well.