Acting isn’t easy. It’s a craft that takes years for actors to perfect and even then some roles call for extraordinary preparation. With the announcement of the new Heath Ledger documentary ‘I am Heath Ledger’ that is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this year. We give you guys a list of the intense regimes that some actors have undergone to get their performances just right.
Let’s Take a look At 5 Actors Who Took Their Roles Too Far!
1. Marlon Brando
No one can deny that Brando is one of the greatest actors of all time and the way he’s committed to some of his roles definitely shows it. You’ve probably heard of the whole cotton balls that he put in his mouth in ‘The Godfather’, but what you might not know is what he went through during the shoot of Apocalypse Now. Apocalypse Now based on the novel ‘Heart of Darkness’ by Joseph Conrad had one hell of a production. The shoot was supposed to be 14 weeks long in the Philippines beginning in the spring of 1976. But it was massively delayed due to many factors including a typhoon. Director Francis Ford Coppola was writing the film as they went along and many of the cast and crew came down with serious illnesses plus there was lots of coke.
Brando during all this chaos arrived midway through the shoot and had gained a lot of weight. He was approximately 300 pounds which shocked everybody. Brando also hadn’t learned his lines or undergone any prep for the character. This shut down production for about a week leaving the 900 cast and crew waiting while Coppola personally read the script out loud to Brando. Brando then shaved off all this hair and arrived at the idea that improvising all the scenes what he was going to do and he demanded that he was only filmed in shadow because he was insecure about his weight.
2. Christian Bale
Christian Bale has gone through some pretty intense rituals for a few of his roles. One of the more glorified ones is his weight loss for ‘The Machinist’, where he dropped 60 pounds in order to play the part. Take a look at his normal physique and compare it to what he looked like in ‘The Machinist’. At 121 pounds, Bale had to undergo another intense weight gain in order to bulk up for the role he played directly afterward. Batman in Batman begins and apparently spent his time binging on pizza and ice cream, this type of junk food made him immensely sick.
3. Shelley Duvall
If you’ve been keeping up with the current news, you’ll know that Shelley isn’t doing the best these days. While there are many contributing factors to how the mental state of actors has deteriorated over the years, one of the most infamous stories was from the set of The Shining and Kubrick’s horrible treatment of her. She has stated that it was unbearable. Kubrick made her cry almost 9 hours every day for nine months straight. It can actually be seen in his daughter’s documentary of the making of the film.
4. Johnny Depp
Hunter S. Thompson was convinced that the only person who could play Duke in the adaptation of his Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was Johnny Depp. This actually spawned a lifelong friendship between the two. Now, if you’ve read any of Thompson’s books or read up on any facts on him, it’s no secret that he had a few screws loose. I mean most great artists do. But, in order to portray this character, Depp felt the need to sleep in Thompson’s basement. He slept on a bed next to gun powder and nitro-glycerin both of which are incredibly explosive. A fact that he was unaware of and also chain-smoking while he was down there. He also consumed hard drugs while getting into the character. This is crazy.
5. Heath Ledger
Ledger was initially approached by Chris Nolan to play Batman but declined. But, when Nolan approached him again this time to play the Joker in the Dark Knight, Ledger saw something in the character that made him hungry for the role. Despite negative fan feedback online, Ledger was committed and isolated himself. He was writing in a diary in collaging images to help him get into the Joker’s head, he told ‘Empire Online’ in an interview during the shoot that he locked himself up in a hotel room for a month. He kept a diary and experimented with multiple voices and landed himself in the realm of a psychopath.
Someone with very little to no conscious towards acts, he slept an average of two hours each night during the production. On January 22, 2008 and six months before the movie hit theaters, Ledger was found dead in his home due to an accidental overdose of prescription pills. He was midway through shooting ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’ with director Terry Gilliam who claimed that the is that the Joker role screwed Ledger up were not true regardless of the rumors Ledger won an Oscar for his performance for Best Supporting Actor which was accepted by his family