The soon to be released The Revenant has been doing the rounds online after crew members have been reporting back with stories that make shooting it sound like a living nightmare. Not only that but the star of the movie, Leonardo Dicaprio, has revealed the extent to his sacrifices, claiming that he was forced to eat raw bison liver, sleep in an animal carcass and risk hypothermia. This form of method acting where actors push themselves to the limit in the hope of finding the best performance possible isn’t new however, many having done it before.
As you can see in the photo above, The Machinist saw Bale dropping a hugely dangerous amount of weight. To reach this emaciated state, he took up smoking daily and resigned himself to a single can of plain tuna with an apple for his daily meal. This was all done without the director’s say so and when Bale turned up for filming, he threatened to chuck the actor off the project unless he stopped with his ceaseless journey towards becoming a skeleton. He relented.
While I don’t know the name Vincent D’onfrio whatsoever, the above picture will be able to strike really fear in me no matter how old I get. In the hope of furthering himself even more from the rest of the cast, D’onfrio gained around seventy pounds for his role in Full Metal Jacket. It took him nine months to remove the weight he put on in seven, but in the end it was worth it, the character becoming as iconic as the film itself.
Theron is known as one of the most beautiful women in the world of cinema, who has performed in films of all genres. However, when playing the real life murder Aileen Wuornoss, Theron decided to gain thirty pounds in an attempt to keep her performance as real as possible. She also left off the makeup and shaved off her eyebrows in an attempt at authenticity.
Anyone who has seen Castaway knows that there’s a bit around the middle where the movie skips forward four years. To those who haven’t, sorry but you should’ve watched it by now. When the movie got to this point in filming, everything was halted to allow Hanks the time to drop fifty-five pounds and grow it his hair so he looked as if he actually had been stranded on a desert island for nearly half a decade.
Quite possibly the most extreme form of method acting on this list, Brody decided that to get ready for the performance which would win him an academy award, he’d completely destroy his own life. Alongside losing thirty pounds, he got rid of all of his possessions and comforts, even going as far as losing his own girlfriend. It clearly put his mind in the place of someone who has nothing because the movie put him on the map.
While DeNiro is known for his heavy preparation for the various movies he’s taken through his career, Meet The Parents not included, Raging Bull is the one that truly highlights the limits he’ll go to. While preparing to play Jake LaMotta, he trained himself as a boxer with the real Jake LaMotta, even entering the ring for real and winning to boxing matches. Not only that, but he then purposefully put on sixty pounds to portray LaMotta during his post-boxing career, as shown above.
Do you think I’ve missed out any brilliant method acting that really took things to limits? Let us know in the comments whether you think this stuff strengthens a performance or is just a bunch of faff.