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7 Actors Overstepping Boundaries in Method Acting


Method acting, the art of truly embodying a character, was made famous by Marlon Brando in the 1951 movie “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Since then, many actors have taken this approach, but some have pushed it to extreme levels, often causing discomfort among their co-stars and engaging in questionable actions.

1. Ashton Kutcher’s Extreme Diet for ‘Jobs’

In his portrayal of Steve Jobs, Ashton Kutcher fully immersed himself into the character, adopting Jobs’s fruitarian diet. This radical diet choice, meant to closely replicate the Apple founder’s lifestyle, resulted in Kutcher being hospitalized with pancreatitis, highlighting the physical sacrifices actors sometimes make for their roles.

2. Shia LaBeouf’s Intense Approach in ‘Fury’

In the WWII film “Fury,” Shia LaBeouf took his method acting to the extreme by refusing to shower and even cutting his own face to maintain realistic injuries. His commitment to realism, while admirable, disturbed his co-stars, including Brad Pitt.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio’s Harsh Realism in ‘The Revenant’

 For “The Revenant,” Leonardo DiCaprio endured freezing conditions, slept in animal carcasses, and ate raw bison liver, pushing his physical limits in pursuit of an Oscar-winning performance. His dedication to portraying fur trapper Hugh Glass was both impressive and arduous.

4. Michael Fassbender’s Drastic Weight Loss for ‘Hunger’

Michael Fassbender’s transformation to play Bobby Sands in “Hunger” involved a harrowing physical transformation. He embarked on a dangerously low-calorie diet, losing over 50 pounds, to authentically depict the effects of a prolonged hunger strike, highlighting the extremes actors go to in order to embody a character’s experience.

5. Jamie Foxx’s Commitment to ‘Ray’

In portraying Ray Charles, to authentically experience the musician’s blindness, Foxx had his eyes glued shut, later opting for prosthetics, in an effort to deeply connect with the character’s physical limitations and experiences.

6. Robert Pattinson’s Wet His Pants in ‘The Lighthouse’

 In “The Lighthouse,” Robert Pattinson’s commitment to his role involved growling, eating mud, and even wetting his pants to portray a lighthouse keeper’s descent into madness. This intense approach to his character added a layer of authenticity to the film but also caused tension on set.

7. Charlize Theron’s put on a considerable amount of weight for ‘Monster

Theron, known for her striking beauty, underwent a staggering metamorphosis to portray serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a role that diverged dramatically from her previous work. She gained substantial weight, wore prosthetic teeth, and immersed herself in the psyche of Wuornos. This transformation was not just skin deep; Theron delved into the emotional and mental state of her character, portraying the complexities of Wuornos’s troubled life with an intensity that blurred the lines between actor and role. 

These six examples of method acting showcase actors’ willingness to push boundaries to bring authenticity to their roles, sometimes at the expense of their well-being and relationships with co-stars.