Actors who went too far with method acting
by Ana Walia | Fri, 12 Nov 2021 21:42:46 GMT
Lady Gaga went a step further to portray the role of Patrizia Reggiani in 'House of Gucci'. Image Source: Variety 

Method acting is a technique or style of acting in which actors strive to achieve authentic and emotionally expressive performances by totally immersing themselves in the character's role. Instead of classical acting, which is predominantly action-based, it is an emotion-focused practice. Lee Strasberg and Elia Kazan refined it further and introduced it to American acting studios in the 1930s.

We are all aware of the fact that for some actors, just simply saying dialogues and looking like the character is not enough. They aspire to make the viewers feel the emotion of the character, and in this process, they transport the audience to a different time and place, and for some of us, that’s why we go to the movies. When actors commit themselves to method acting, they dedicate their body, mind, and soul to doing justice to the character and because they want the audience to feel the same emotion as them.

Here are some of the actors who, with their acting methods, not only impressed the audience but almost shook the world because of the uncanny similarity between the character on paper and the character on-screen.

Lady Gaga:

Lady Gaga is portraying the role of Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s ‘House of Gucci’. Patrizia is Maurizio Gucci’s socialite ex-wife, who was convicted of hiring a hitman who shot and killed him in the 1990s. Lady Gaga started to live like she was dedicated to her work and to staying in the character of Patrizia Reggiani.

The actress spoke with an Italian accent for nine months straight, on and off-camera. Talking to British Vogue about how she prepared for this iconic role, she shared, "It was nearly impossible for me to speak in the accent as a blonde." I instantly had to dye my hair, and I started to live in a way whereby anything that I looked at, anything that I touched, I started to take notice of where and when I could see the money. I started to take photographs as well. Furthermore, I have no evidence that Patrizia was a photographer, but I thought that as an exercise, and to find her interests in life, I would become a photographer, so I took my point-and-shoot camera everywhere that I went. I noticed that Patrizia loved beautiful things. If something wasn't beautiful, I deleted it. "

Lady Gaga also shared that she does not know if the character is going to leave her completely or not, but she is aware that the part of her she’d want to leave and move on, and some experiences were empowering and beautiful. "House Of Gucci" is released on November 26th, 2021.

Christian Bale:

Christian Bale portrayed Trevor Reznik in 2004’s "The Machinist," a psychological thriller where Trevor’s severe insomnia and psychological issues lead to an accident, and he ends up in a downward spiral of paranoia and delusion. The actor had to shed 62 pounds for the role, and he mentioned to the Guardian that losing weight was not hard, but the effect it had on him physically and emotionally was the hardest. He said, "It's an amazing experience to do that. When you're so skinny that you can hardly walk up a flight of stairs, ... You're, like, this being of pure thought. It's like you've abandoned your body. That's the most Zen-like state I've ever been in my life. Two hours of sleep, reading a book for 10 hours straight without stopping ... unbelievable. You couldn't rile me up. No rollercoaster of emotions. As soon as you start putting the food back in your stomach, the rollercoaster comes back".

He shared, "I came up with the brilliant method of just smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey to lose weight". He also consumed the Black Coffee Fast, which included black coffee, a solitary apple, and a tin of tuna every day.

Christian Bale as Trevor Reznik. Image Source: Microsoft

After The Machinist, Christian Bale had to get buff again because he had to portray Batman in Batman Begins, and he had six months to do that. To get into the caped crusader's costume quickly, Bale took on a high-protein diet and a regime involving heavy-core, plyometrics, and resistance training. He is recognized as Hollywood’s undisputed king of transformation.

Image Source: Twitter

Halle Berry: 

Halle Berry made her debut with Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, and to get into the skin of the character and play a crack head, the actress did not shower for eight weeks straight, saying it was gross and certain body parts got washed. Coming from the world of beauty pageants, Halle Berry was persistent about playing the role of a crackhead, and with her dedication and determination, she got the part.

Halle Berry played a crack head in her debut movie. Image Source: Entertainment Weekly

In one of her interviews, she mentioned, "It was intentional to not play the gorgeous girl... I had the job of trying to eliminate that part of my persona, and Spike gave me a chance to do that. And I took on roles early on that really didn’t rely on my physical self at all, and that was a good way to sort of get some credibility within my industry."

Jamie Dornan:

To prepare for "The Fall," Jamie Dornan had to try out some very unusual methods to get into the skin of the character and the right frame of mind of a serial killer. The actor admitted that he stalked a woman on the Tube to get into the mindset of the character.

Jamie Dornan added that he kept his distance and only did it half-heartedly, but he followed the woman off the train one day to see what it felt like to pursue someone like that. The actor further added, "It felt kind of exciting in a filthy way, and I’m not proud of myself, but I do think I learned something from it, because I’ve obviously never done any of that. It was intriguing and interesting to enter into that process of ‘What are you following her for?’ and ‘What are you trying to find out?’"

Jamie Dornan tried out unusual methods to get into the zone of the character. Image Source: The Independent

Adrien Brody

Adrien Brody for his role in 2002’s The Pianist dropped 30 pounds to portray Holocaust survivor Wladyslaw Szpilman and learned how to play the piano. He survived on two boiled eggs for breakfast, a little chicken for lunch, and a small amount of fish or chicken with steamed vegetables for dinner for six weeks. The actor mentioned, "There is an emptiness that comes with really starving that I hadn't experienced. I couldn't have acted that way 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. "

Adrien Brody as Wladyslaw Szpilman. Image Source: Britannica 

The actor practiced for four hours a day until he was able to play specific passages by Chopin. Adrien Brody, being the exceptional actor he is, took a step further to feel exactly like Wladyslaw Szpilman, and for that, Adrien Brody stripped his life back to basics. Sharing with the BBC, the actor said, "I gave up my apartment, I sold my car, I disconnected the phones, and I left. I took two bags and my keyboard and moved to Europe". It took the actor over half a year after the film was done to get back to normal life, but his hard work won him an Academy Award.

Heath Ledger:

In Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight, Heath Ledger played the Joker opposite Christian Bale's Batman, and the actor went to great lengths to play and justify the character. The actor previously stated in the New York Times that playing the Joker was "physically and mentally draining" for him. He struggled with sleep and slept for only two hours on certain days.

Locking himself away in a hotel room and maintaining a diary is how Heath Ledger prepared for the role, and during his interview with Empire in 2007, Heath shared, "It’s a combination of reading all the comic books I could that were relevant to the script and then just closing my eyes and meditating on it." I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, wrote a little diary, and experimented with voices — it was important to try to find a somewhat iconic voice and laugh. I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath — someone with very little to no conscience towards their actions. He’s just an absolute sociopath, a cold-blooded, mass-murdering clown. "

Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight. Image Source: Den of Geek

The last page of Heath Ledger's diary read, ‘Bye Bye’. The actor’s father, in a documentary, shared that Heath galvanized the upcoming characters and would like to dive into them, but with Joker, he took it up a notch. Heath Ledger passed away in 2008 due to a drug overdose. Like the Joker in The Dark Knight, he won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.