Authored by Johnny Dunn in Movies and Television
Published on 03-18-2009
There is a difference between a regular actor and a method actor. Method acting is when an actor begins to think exactly like the character they’re playing, act like the character will out, and immerse themselves completely into the character’s persona. Even when they’re not on the set.
It’s not nearly as easy as it sounds. Can you imagine, spending every waking moment as another person? Abandoning all your normal thoughts and personality and become another person, all for the sake of making a good film.
Some method actors can go to the way extremes that earn them the respect and esteem of fellow actors and other celebrities. These are the most extreme.
1. Christian Bale
Christian Bale has acted in a variety of films, proving himself to be a very versatile and well-accomplished actor. But let’s dissect some of his roles for a moment.
When he was assigned the role of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, Christian Bale hit the gym every day for hours on the end, earning the nickname “Robo-Actor” among his talented cast. Not only that, he completely refused to socailize with anyone to keep a more psychotic attitude. But then he played Trent Reznik in The Machinist, a man who hasn’t slept in a year. So what does Bale do? He studies insomnia for nearly months and tried to sleep as little as possible to understand the effects of insomnia more. Then to look the part, Bale decides to eat only an apple and a can of tuna for a day and lost 63 pounds. As if that’s not impressive enough, Bale decided to play Batman in Batman Begins and gained 100 pounds of pure muscle just months after his near anorexic role in The Machinist.
2. Daniel Day-Lewis
Day-Lewis is considered one of the most versatile and talented actors in the history of American cinema, and he has two Oscars to prove it. And why not? For the movie The Boxer, he trained for nearly 18 months with a former world champion. Then for The Crucible, he desecrated his own body by getting real tattoos. For his role as a butcher, he took up an apprenticeship with an actual butcher. Playing as the paralyzed Christie Brown, Day-Lewis refused to leave his wheelchair when not filming to truly understand how his character felt. Then to star in the role the Last of the Mohicans, he decided to live in the wild for 6 months.
3. Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro has proved to be a very talented actor by taking a variety of roles and excels in both comedies and dramas. He actually learned to play a saxophone in New York New York to the point that he almost reached a professional level, and then in Raging Bull he trained to become a boxer and apparently did such a good job he was considered one of the 10 best middleweights in the world at that time. For his role in Cape Fear, he actually had his teeth ground down by a dentist so he could look the part. Then to play his stunningly good role in the Taxi Driver, he worked 12 hour shifts as a cabbie for nearly 3 months.
4. Heath Ledger
Heath Ledger had to be one of the most talented young actors of his generation. His role and preparation as the Joker in the critically-acclaimed The Dark Knight alone makes him worthy of this list. He lived in solitude in a hotel room for three months and studied the Joker and effects of insomnia. He totally changed his appearance, voice, and mannerisms for the role. He put much research into it and developed a totally new persona of the villain that was never seen before. His death has been speculated to have been caused by his preparation in the Joker because of the trouble he had sleeping at night while performing the role. Heath Ledger won an posthumous Oscar for his role and will be beloved forever.