When filming Dallas Buyers Club, Jared Leto went above and beyond the call of duty to portray the terminally ill Rayon, shaving off all of his body hair and undergoing a massive transformation for the part. It's no secret that Leto throws himself into his art, whether that be his music with 30 Seconds to Mars or his acting career that has seen him win an Oscar.
It is now being rumored that Jared Leto has again immersed himself in a role, this time the part of the Joker. Legendary reporter, Umberto Gonzalez, has reported that Leto has stayed in character whilst not shooting, adopting a method style of acting. This is reminiscent of the Heath Ledger joker, and was even attributed to one of the reasons that resulted in the actors premature death. Although not sharing much information, Gonzalez has reported that sources are touting Leto's joker to be even better than Ledgers!
So what is method acting?
Method acting is a group of techniques utilised by actors to fully immerse themselves in their respective roles. The idea is to become the thoughts and feelings of their characters, portraying as realistic a performance as possible. The teachings and concepts of the technique are attributed to Constantin Stanislavski, and examples of actors using the technique have resulted in incredible, Oscar winning performances.
Method acting can be dangerous for the individual not just physically, but mentally. Many view the risks as worth it, with the results being incredible performances and films that stand the test of time. Check out some of the lengths actors have went too in the pursuit of the profession they so love!
Christian Bale - The Machinist
Bale, seen above as Trevor Reznik in "The Machinist," lost a jaw dropping 63 pounds to portray the machinist whose insomnia has led to his becoming emaciated. What made this shift in body weight so astounding, was that his next project caused him to bulk up again, transforming from the above picture into Bruce Wayne for Christopher Nolans retelling of Batman.
Joaquin Phoenix - I'm Still Here
Joaquin Phoenix was attributed with going off the rails back in 2010, when the actor publicly stated he was leaving the film arena to pursue a career in hip hop music. Alongside his brother-in-law, Casey Affleck, Phoenix documented the year long hoax project, growing out his beard and making several public appearances to perform his 'music'.
Dustin Hoffman - The Marathon Man
In the 1976 film The Marathon Man, Dustin Hoffman portrayed the part of Thomas "Babe" Levy, an avid runner and historian who became entwined in an elaborate spy plot. Hoffman deprived himself of sleep in order to play the part, turning up on set two days later in such a derived state that prompted fellow cast mate Laurence Olivier to infamously ask, "Why not try acting? It's much easier."
Heath Ledger - The Dark Knight
One of the most famous examples of method acting, is also one of the saddest. Ledgers stunning portrayal of the psychotic Joker was due large in part to his dedication to the role. Ledger reportedly locked himself in a hotel room for months, keeping a journal of things he thought the Joker would find funny (AIDs and landmines etc.) whilst practicing his voice and facial expressions for hours on end in the mirror. The actor complained of having sleeping problems during filming and sadly later passed away from a drug overdose.
Marlon Brando - The Men
Marlon Brando is not just considered one of our greatest ever actors, but also a mater of method acting. Whilst preparing for his role as a paraplegic veteran in the 1950 film 'The Men', the actor spent a month in bed at the Birmingham Army Hospital in Van Nuys.
Adrian Brody - The Pianist
Oscar winning actor took some bold decisions when preparing for his role as concert pianist and Holocaust victim Wladyslaw Szpilman. The actor practiced for four hours a day, eventually learning how to play passages by Frédéric Chopin, as well as selling his car and apartment. To further immerse himself in the role, Brody stopped using mobile phones and moved to Europe with only two bags to his name. The actor explained his actions to the BBC stating: "There is an emptiness that comes with really starving that I hadn't experienced... I couldn't have acted that without knowing it. I've experienced loss, I've experienced sadness in my life, but I didn't know the desperation that comes with hunger."
Robert De Niro - Raging Bull
Whilst preparing for Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull, acting pals De Niro and Joe Pesci lived and trained together. De Niro underwent a massive transformation in appearance, gaining a significant amount of weight in order to emulate his character, Jake LaMotta. The actor reportedly suffered breathing problems, prompting Scorsese to shut down production in fear over the actors wellbeing.
Daniel Day-Lewis - Lincoln & My Left Foot
Possibly the most famous example of method acting, Daniel Day-Lewis truly embodies the art in every role he undertakes. When portraying American president Abraham Lincoln in the Steven Spielberg directed biopic, the actor allegedly spent a full year reading and thinking about the president, sent text messages to his cast mates as "The Commander in Chief" or simply "A" and shunned all discussions of current events while on set.
When cast as disabled Irish artist Christy Brown in "My Left Foot," the actor spent eight weeks at a clinic for cerebral palsy patients, used a wheelchair throughout the film's shooting (allegedly being carried from set to set when no wheelchair was in sight). Amazingly, he was also reportedly spoon-fed off set, but all the hard work paid off as he won his first Oscar for best-actor.