Some Hollywood actors put their heart and soul into their roles. Here are 10 actors (from a list published in The Hollywood Reporter) adherents of the Stanislavski method; It’s about performing so physically, mentally, and emotionally that the character follows you off set.
As the Joker in the 2019 film of the same name, Joaquin Phoenix lost 52 pounds, which he says had a significant impact on his mental health. Hunger, dissatisfaction, physical weakness, and the vulnerable state of his weight loss helped him become his character and move his body in ways unfamiliar to him.
Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Singer and actress Lady Gaga is known for her intensity on stage and on set. For her role as Patrizia Gucci, she struggled to speak with an Italian accent for nine months, even when the cameras were off, and lived her character every day for a year and a half. She said in an interview that towards the end of filming she experienced psychological difficulties when it was time to return to her “normal life”.
Al Pacino has a career spanning decades and is known for becoming totally immersed in his characters. In the film Parfum de femme (1992), the actor who played a blind man is said to have attended a school for the blind. He also reportedly began going about his daily routine before filming began as if he had lost his sight, and instructed the crew on set to continue treating him as if he couldn’t see.
The actress did her best to portray her role as a ballerina in the 2010 film Black Swan. She trained with a professional dancer for several hours each day, and she also swam and exercised indoors. She lost 20 pounds and, like ballet dancers, began restricting her food intake. This role, she says, didn’t stop her from filming, even when she was at home.
Photo courtesy of Searchlight Pictures
The 51-year-old actor has never shied away from using extreme acting techniques to embody his characters. He soaks up his roles by being physically involved by gaining or losing weight. The director of Suicide Squad confirmed that the actor used the Joker’s crutches or wheelchair to get around between takes.
Impossible to forget the sleepless character played by an unrecognizable Christian Bale in the film The Machinist (2004). The actor, who lost 30 pounds, was skin and bones and only slept two hours a night, leading to health problems for him.
The 74-year-old actress has employed a variety of acting techniques throughout her long and prolific career. She remained her mean boss persona throughout filming of the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada. She later confessed how miserable and depressed she felt on set.
Raised on the Stanislavski Method, Robert de Niro used body (he’d lost 30 pounds) and soul to interpret his legendary role as a taxi driver in the film Taxi Driver (1976). He would have worked as a taxi driver for several days to study his character’s behavior.
The actor, who brilliantly played the one and only Elvis, said he didn’t see his family for three years while filming the 2022 film. If he happened to talk to him or his friends, he never left his family character who only speaks in the voice of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He explains that by the end of the shoot he had trouble figuring out who he was.
Photo courtesy of Hugh Stewart
The late actor, who played the Joker in 2008’s ‘The Dark Knight’ (he sadly passed away in January 2008 before the film was released), voluntarily retired from social life for the duration of filming. He kept his character’s journal to explore their psychology and used different voice tones and facial expressions to define the character. Christian Bale revealed that Ledger asked him, for truth’s sake, to actually hit him in the interrogation scene.