Method acting can legitimately be dangerous. Whether you're stepping into the mind of an insane character, you're gaining or losing too much weight for a role, or you're simply changing your mannerisms and entire style for a role... it's easy to lose touch with your actual self.
Heath Ledger's Joker is probably the most famous case of too much method at least somewhat affecting his mental state. Now, I don't think that the role led to his drug overdose, because there were multiple factors at play there. However, diving into that maniacal role couldn't have been good for a balanced and normal state of mind.
So, starting with Heath, here are 6 stars who went so method that they actually sustained slight - and in some cases severe - trauma.
1. Heath Ledger // 'The Dark Knight'
I already went into this a bit, but this seems like an obvious one that needs to be included. While Heath was described as amiable and friendly on set, he still dug incredibly deep to pull out this character. It couldn't have been good for him mentally.
His overdose needs to be considered an isolated and unrelated incident. At least, to those who knew him it is probably feels easier to digest that way. However, to act like it wasn't at least slightly related to this character is probably unrealistic. The good thing, though, is that this character will live on forever even with Heath no longer with us.
2. Christian Bale // 'The Machinist'
This is straight up hard to look at. The same man who played healthy, buff, handsome Bruce Wayne and Batman played the role you see above. His transformation was incredibly impressive, albeit damaging.
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.
3. Shia Labeouf // 'Fury'
Here's what Shia had to say to Dazed about this transformation. We all know how the man turned out since this film. He's kind of lost his mind, but done so in a charming and vaguely iconic way. Fury may have had some part to play in his shenanigans. Just sayin'...
"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."
4. Daniel Day Lewis // 'Gangs of New York'
Daniel Day Lewis is a world renowned method actor who goes all-in for every single role he takes. It's clear that he is dedicated, but he literally put himself in danger for the sake of the role when it came to Gangs of New York.
The man caught pneumonia while making Gangs of New York because he refused to wear a warm modern-day coat on set because it wasn't in keeping with the period. Going too hard... or being a true pro? It's hard to say.
5. Jared Leto // 'Dallas Buyers Club'
Jared Leto dressed in drag and dropped 40lb to play Rayon, a drug-addled, HIV-positive transsexual. Was it worth the effort? As his recent Oscar nomination and Golden Globe win would suggest, it very much was.
He's got The Joker next, and from what we've seen from the Suicide Squad news as of late, he kills it.
6. Charlize Theron // 'Monster'
Theron is a gorgeous woman, but she turned into a literal monster in... Monster. She gained weight and got thoroughly unattractive for the role. She wasn't necessarily damaged by this role, but I'm sure that it must have had an effect on her psyche.
The [Mad Max: Fury Road](tag:41445) star bounced back with ease from this role, though.