10 Intense Roles That Almost Drove The Actors To The Edge

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Many talented actors are so dedicated that they are willing to face extreme challenges.

Johnny Depp, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

To work on the character of notorious Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp moved into the journalist’s house, where he spent four months studying the diaries of the reporter's drug experiments. The actor recreated the image of Thompson so accurately, adopting his mannerisms and phrases, that it took him a few months after the end of filming to become himself again. From the film's release in 1998 until the journalist's suicide in 2005, Johnny Depp and Hunter S. Thompson remained best friends.

Charlize Theron, Monster

Theron, who started her career as a fashion model, gained 15 pounds (6 kg) for the role of the serial killer and prostitute Eileen Wuornos, had to regularly shave her eyebrows and wear dentures during the filming. The actress’s efforts paid off as Theron won an Oscar for this memorable role.

Christian Bale, The Machinist

For the psychological drama The Machinist, Bale lost 30 kilograms (66 lb), driving himself into the ground. The actor, who weighed 55 kilograms (121 lb), ate one apple and a can of canned tuna a day during the filming. According to the producers of The Machinist, the actor was ready to exhaust himself further (his “diet” received no supervision from medical specialists), but the team was worried about Bale’s state and asked him to stop.

Shia LaBeouf, Fury

LaBeouf, widely regarded as one of the most serious and thoughtful character actors, displayed his remarkable stamina to the fullest while preparing for his role in the 2014 war drama Fury. The fact that Shia lived on a military base for a month was just the beginning. He knocked out his tooth, cut his face with a knife, stopped showering, and watched horses being killed around the clock.

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant

By agreeing to star in the biographical drama The Revenant, DiCaprio thereby signed up to live months in hell. It has become known that the actor slept in a horse carcass to prepare for the notorious scene. DiCaprio also had to eat raw buffalo meat in one of the scenes, which was a hardship for the vegetarian actor. The character's painful reaction to eating meat is Leo's real condition and not an act. All of Leo's anguish and deprivation during the filming are known to have paid off: He won the first Oscar of his career after several unsuccessful nominations.

Kate Winslet, The Reader

The actress was literally captivated by her character of an illiterate concentration camp guard, and it took her months after filming ended to get back to normal. Winslet, who won an Oscar for her work in The Reader, admitted that getting out of that character was as much work as rehearsing for it. "It took a lot of days and energy to finally say goodbye to this character of mine."

Robert De Niro, Taxi Driver

To star in the 1976 psychological thriller, the young actor De Niro actually got a taxi driver's license and for a while drove around the city, chatting with passengers about politics and the decline of morals in modern society. At the same time, the actor was losing a lot of weight in order to convey the unstable psychological state his character enters.

Jared Leto, Suicide Squad

While getting into the role of the insane Joker, Leto started sending his colleagues on the set strange gifts. Will Smith, for instance, received a pack of bullets, and Margot Robbie was less lucky – Jared sent her a living rat. And all the other partners received a video message in which Leto, in the role of Joker, addressed them with a dead pig in the background. In doing so, Leto ensured that his fellow actors starring in the film felt a real dislike for him, which was transmitted on camera.

Adrien Brody, The Pianist

The actor went an extra couple of miles in preparing for the role of a starving outcast pianist. Miles, taken even in the literal sense. Brody sold his car, moved out of his apartment, shut off his phone, and went to Europe equipped with a couple of bags with personal belongings and keyboards. In a day, the actor ate a couple of eggs, a chicken leg, and vegetables, didn't watch TV at all and constantly rehearsed on the piano.

Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

The late actor was obsessed with creating the perfect "agent of chaos" and didn't leave the character of Joker for the entire period of preparation and filming. Ledger locked himself in a hotel room for a month, where he started an "observation journal" for analyzing the villain’s character, which later evolved into a first-person diary – the Joker himself. Unfortunately, the actor never lived to see the fruit of his efforts on the big screen: Ledger died of an overdose of painkillers, sleeping pills, and tranquilizers. Some fans state that Heath simply lost touch with reality and could no longer understand where and who he really was. The crazy Joker might have led the actor to an uncontrolled drug addiction.