Nobody wants an actor to just phone it in, but some of them go almost too far to get into character. They go to extremes, risking their physical and mental health to make the role believable. Some actors are greatly rewarded when they do this, by way of winning awards, specifically Oscars, and garnering critical acclaim from the toughest critics.
There are those that criticize Hollywood for expecting so much from mere humans, but from most of what I’ve read, these stars choose to go to these extremes simply because they’re dedicated to their craft. They give it their all. They do what it takes to please the audience.
We are envious of the money these talented actors bring home, but I’m not sure if I’d ever have it in me to put myself through some of the things they have. I definitely want to give credit where credit is due and pay homage to these incredible stars of the big screen.
There are so many that we could list here, but let’s check out ten of the most extreme examples of actors who almost destroyed themselves for the sake of a part.
1. If You Believe…. They Put a Man on the Moon. Jim Carrey
The 1999 film, Man on the Moon starred Jim Carrey. Up until this movie, Carrey was known for silly and over the top comedy roles. But he was about to change his image and prove once and for all that he was a serious actor with some amazing talent for drama, too. The role was that of eccentric performer Andy Kaufman. The movie didn’t do great at the box office, and most critics were pretty unimpressed.
Jim did win a Golden Globe for his efforts. And he certainly earned it. Deciding to go deep into the head of Mr. Kaufman, Carrey started behaving in such a manner that many became worried about him. Many knew a little, but it was mainly the film crew who knew the full extent of it. A documentary depicts him behaving very strangely, even refusing to answer to his own name. Carrey has battled depression, and said that it took a long time to remember who Jim was after shooting this movie. That’s a little scary, but you have to admire his dedication. He has since proven his talent in other dramatic movies, as well. Some of those include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, a favorite of mine, and The Number 23.
2. The Joker’s Wild. Heath Ledger
Nobody can deny the immense talent that the world lost when Heath Ledger passed away. He put his all and every role he ever played. Who can forget his portrayal of a lovelorn gay cowboy in Brokeback Mountain? His iconic role in 10 Things I Hate About You is legendary. But the one with all that he will always be remembered for was his last. He definitely wasn’t the first person to play The Joker, but many agree that he did it best. He was awarded the best supporting actor Academy Award for the role.
Preparing to play the part he holed up in a hotel room because he wanted to accurately portray the madness of the crazy character. He stayed in a hotel room, alone, for a month to perfect the mannerisms, the laugh, and overall personality of this evil doer of Gotham City. He reportedly kept a journal thinking it was actually the joker’s diary. This affected his mind in a big way, paving the way for severe depression and increased drug abuse. He eventually overdosed on many medications and lost his life.