When preparing for a movie role, a lot of actors really find the character - and sometimes find themselves - to make sure that the character comes out as believable and realistic as possible. They say you should never go full method. Whether or not that's true is certainly up for debate, but this list of actors who took it to the extreme for movie roles is entertaining at the very least.
From Heath Ledger's Joker to Shia LaBeouf in Fury, it's easy to get a little TOO caught up in a character. In both cases, though, we have characters that are still being talked about so they must have done something right. Right?
Here they are, the 7 method acting performances that shocked us all!
1. Jim Carrey - 'Man on the Moon'
I don't think I've seen a Jim Carrey movie where the man didn't fully embrace his role. He is obviously a great comedian, but his acting prowess is legitimate, and he has an energy that is almost unparalleled in Hollywood. In Man on the Moon, Carrey plays Andy Kaufman, the iconic comedian - and he wanted to make sure he did it right.
He clearly did, winning a Golden Globe for the role. Apparently, he annoyed some people on set as he stayed in character off-camera. His impressions and voices were amazing though, so I doubt he minds having annoyed a few people in the process of developing such a strong and believable character.
2. Heath Ledger - 'The Dark Knight'
When you talk about method acting and going hard for a role, it's flat-out impossible not to include the late great Heath Ledger and his portrayal of The Joker. He kept a diary with entries written AS the Joker and spent almost a month locked up in a hotel experimenting with voices for the role.
Of course he passed away from an accidental prescription drug overdose soon after his performance was complete, but it's dicey to blame the role for that. I mean, sure, it can be argued that it was a mental challenge to become that man. But either way, his legacy will live on forever with that character - we'll see if Jared Leto can match him.
3. Matt Damon - 'Courage Under Fire'
This was one of Damon's breakout roles and he lost 40 pounds for only two scenes where his character loses a bunch of weight after getting in to hard drugs. Talk about dedication! He was nearly passed up for his now legendary role in Saving Private Ryan due to the "too skinny" tag that Steven Spielberg nearly put on him.
Keep in mind, this weight loss and method acting was for a pretty minor role and this was before Damon was a household name, even. Luckily, he got the role in the Spielberg film and also hit a home-run with Good Will Hunting shortly thereafter. And now... he's Matt Damon, so he won.
4. Dustin Hoffman - 'Marathon Man'
Dustin Hoffman kind of follows suit with Matt Damon here, having blossomed into the prominent actor we now know him as today... but first, making an early role in his career his own. He played a man named Babe who was heavily involved with the mob and crime who is also a marathon runner.
To gear up for the role, he ran at least 4 miles every day and lost 15 pounds. He was supposed to seem out of breath often in the film, and so he would run at least half a mile before shooting.
5. Russell Crowe - 'Body of Lies'
Clearly, Russell Crowe is a handsome leading man in Hollywood, but he kind of abandoned that for 2008 film Body of Lies and went full method. Crowe's character in the film, Ed Hoffman, spends most of his time driving his kids around town, walking around the house at all hours of the morning attached to an earpiece phone, or... eating.
He put on 62 pounds for the role and generally got less good-looking for it. It turned out to not necessarily have been worth it since the movie didn't end up being all that successful or critically acclaimed.
6. Christian Bale - 'The Machinist'
This one is probably one of the most insane method acting performances of all time. Arguably the most ridiculous weight loss... coupled with the fact that it's Christian Bale, aka Bruce Wayne! How could the same guy who played handsome, healthy Batman become this character?
At 6 foot tall, he lost around 60 pounds to get all the way down to 121 pounds! That's legitimately dangerous. All for a movie?! But, hey, you can't knock the grind of an actor who just wants to pour himself into his career. Also, he put the weight back on and he's fine now... for those of you who were worried.
7. Shia LaBeouf - 'Fury'
In an interview with Dazed, Shia LaBeouf explained the ridiculous way that he prepared for his role in Fury. He literally cut his face! Here's what he had to say about how he got ready for it:
"David (Ayer, director) told us right from the gate: ‘I need you to give me everything.’ So the day after I got the job, I joined the US National Guard. I was baptised – accepted Christ in my heart – tattooed my surrender and became a chaplain’s assistant to Captain Yates for the 41st Infantry. I spent a month living on a forward operating base. Then I linked up with my cast and went to Fort Irwin. I pulled my tooth out, knifed my face up and spent days watching horses die. I didn’t bathe for four months."