Although acting isn't considered an extreme sport in itself (unless your Sylvester Stallone in Cliffhanger), it can be a very testing and brave profession for actors who take on roles that demand that actors have to confront their real life phobias and fears.
Below are 10 very brave actors that have had to conquer their fears for the sake of their roles.
1. Robert Pattinson
Phobia: Equinophobia (fear of horses)
During the shooting for Water For Elephants (2011), Twilight star Robert Pattinson had to overcome his fear of horses.
Robert Pattinson opened up about the terrifying experience to contactmusic.com:
"I had to get knocked down by a horse. That was terriyfing. It was just one split second but (it was) a fully grown stallion - I'm kind of relatively scared of horses as well"
Despite the trauma, Robert braved his fear and successfully pulled off the stunt for the movie. Not bad R-Patz!
2. Matt Damon
Phobia: Herpetophobia (fear of reptiles)
Damon's herpetophobia was difficult to manage when on-set of the movie We Bought A Zoo. The Bourne Identity Star's colleague Scarlette Johansson discussed his fear with People magazine, commenting:
"He was definitely sweating a bit, and maybe the sweat formed in the corner of his eye,
"I said, 'Matt, these kids are practically juggling the snakes. Hold it together.'
Johannson also reveals that Damon was at times crying and rocking back and forth on set while there were snakes present.
We can't help but feel sorry for the star but at least herpetophobia never stopped him from delivering a stellar performance in the movie, so major respect to the seemingly fearless Matt.
3. Uma Thurman
Phobia: Claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces)
This one is particularly chilling. You remember that scene in Kill Bill Vol. 2 with Uma Thurman buried alive in a coffin screaming? Well check out what the star had to say about that intense scene:
"It was horrific. Nobody wants to live that experience.”
"It was horrific. You don't want to have that experience. Coming through the soil was also horrific."
That's right. What you thought was Uma's character going insane was actually Uma confronting her very real fear of being in confined spaces by being in a coffin alive buried deep underground. Goosebumps.
Although it is quite horrific to imagine, Uma was able to use her phobia to her advantage by giving an authentically terrified reaction and an unforgettable performance.
4. Carmen Electra
Phobia: Aquaphobia (fear of water)
Carmen Electra had to fight her fear of water when starring on famous hit tv show Baywatch which takes place on a beach.
It's really courageous of the Scary Movie actress to go for a role that would involve so much contact with the water. Talk about jumping in at the deep end.
5. Sarah Michelle Gellar
Phobia: Coimetrophobia (fear of graveyards)
Similarly to Carmen Electra, Sarah Michelle Gellar braved her fear of graveyards when she signed up for Buffy The Vampire Slayer.
It is reported that during filming in graveyard locations, Gellar was often brought to tears.
It's incredible that Gellar played the role for so long and so well while she was battling her phobia the whole time. A true example of professionalism.
6. Jennifer Lawrence
Phobia: Necrophobia (fear of death)
The most highly paid actress in Hollywood is reported to have a fear of death, family and ghosts. Yet the superstar was able to give an incredibly controlled and convincing performance throughout the Hunger Games franchise where themes of death and loss of family are persistent with young children essentially fighting to the death for others' entertainment.
7. Orlando Bloom
Phobia: Swinophobia (fear of pigs)
The Pirates of the Caribbean star had to deal with his fear of pigs on the set of Kingdom of Heaven. It is reported that at one point a pig got loose and Bloom ended up "running like crazy."
Nevertheless, such negative experiences on set did not seem to deter Orlando from giving his all to the project and giving a solid performance.
8. Johnny Depp
Phobia: Coulrophobia (fear of clowns)
Depp is scared of clowns because of their distrusting fake painted smiles and painted face. He believes that there evil leaking behind their "friendly" exterior.
Nevertheless, Depp has taken up roles throughout his career that have meant that Depp has taken on a similar clown like appearance. Think Mad-Hatter in Alice and Wonderland.
Johnny's fear hasn't impeded his ability to bring memorable performances to the table-- even if he looks like the very thing he is afraid of!
9. Jennifer Aniston
Phobia: Aquaphobia / Aqua-claustrophobia (fear of going underwater)
For the film Cake, Aniston had to film water therapy scenes. This would have been a piece of cake if it weren't for Jennifer's fear of going underwater.
Before a screening of the film, Aniston opened up about her difficulties of battling her fear of water and where it stemmed from:
"I was a kid and I was riding this tricycle around a swimming pool and I drove my tricycle into the swimming pool and I didn't let go and my brother tried to [help me],"
"So, I can't go underwater and no one will believe me. I honestly can't.”
10. Sylvester Stallone
Phobia: acrophobia (fear of heights)
To suffer from acrophobia and engage in stunts such as hanging off cliff-sides is admirably insane. Can you believe this is actually what Sylvester Stallone had to do for his role in 1993's Cliffhanger.
If the mere idea of performing such a stunt makes you feel ill, then imagine having a legit fear of heights and doing it for real.
All we can give you, Sylvester Stallone, is truly deserved respect.