Most of the time, it's considered a good sign when an actor is passionate about their role. Such dedication can lead to an Oscar-worthy performance that captures the emotions of audiences and even makes them think about life differently. However, there should definitely be limits on how actors prepare for their roles---particularly, when it comes to method acting. It's all fine and swell to method act a little to get into character, but some actors go way too far, and are even dangerous. From starving themselves to having panic attacks, we've compiled a list of 15 actors who took method acting way too far.
1. Daniel Day-Lewis for 'The Crucible'
Giving up civilization probably isn't a good idea, even when it's for the iconic role of John Proctor in The Crucible. Day-Lewis decided to live on the set of the 17th-century village without any access to water or electricity. He even built a home for his character with his bare hands and tools that would only exist in that particular era. Then, he ended up swapping his motorcycle with a horse. It's safe to say that he could have skipped some of those steps, or all of them.
2. Ashton Kutcher for 'Jobs'
While we certainly appreciate perseverance, Kutcher went dangerously far when trying to get into gear for his leading role as Steve Jobs in Jobs. In an effort to replicate Jobs' diet, he would only allow himself as little as a few grapes to eat — which landed Kutcher in the hospital twice. He was diagnosed with pancreatitis both times, which sounds like a complete nightmare.
3. Adrien Brody for 'The Pianist'
It would be an overstatement to say that Brody lost it all for his role in The Pianist.
For his role as Szpilman, he learned piano, lost 30 pounds, and then sold his apartment along with pretty much all of his stuff. Brody and his serious girlfriend actually broke up because of the chaos he created for the role. To say the least, he went above and beyond the call, and kind of blew up his life.
4. Jamie Foxx for 'Ray'
We get wanting to have a better understanding of the world that each role inhabits, especially one based off of a real person. Yet, we can't help but feel like things have reached an unhealthy state when there are several real-life panic attacks involved. Jamie Foxx actually glued his eyelids shut for his role as Ray Charles in Ray — and then he had panic attacks. He was so set on embodying the experience that he wore prosthetic eyelids and basically traumatized himself.
5. Jamie Dornan for 'The Fall'
We don't even know where to begin with this one. So, when Jamie Dornan was starring as serial killer, Paul Spector, he decided to get into character by stalking a woman — in real-life. In an interview with the LA Times, Dornan described his cringy behavior, saying, "I kept my distance … she got off a few stops earlier than I was planning so I said right, I have to commit to this. I followed her around a couple of street corners and then was like: what are you doing? It felt kind of exciting, in a sort of dirty way. I’m sort of not proud of myself. But I do honestly think I learned something from it because I’ve obviously never done any of that." In case it needs to be said, stalking is never okay — not even "method acting stalking."
6. Halle Berry for 'Jungle Fever'
While we're glad that Berry opted out of experimenting with drugs for her role as a crack addict in Jungle Fever, we feel pretty sorry for the people that had to stand close to her. She connected with her character by deciding not to shower for eight weeks straight. Something smells kind of fishy about this approach to acting.
7. Colin Firth for 'The King's Speech'
Things took a painful turn for Colin Firth when he was adapting a stutter for his role as King George V. He got so into character that he couldn't shake the stutter in real-life and began having headaches, and even developed a pinched nerve. We never thought it was possible to overdue getting into character, but Firth truly went way too far.
8. Gary Oldman for 'Darkest Hour'
Oldman decided that he wasn't just going to get into his role in Darkest Hour a little bit, he was gonna do it a lot a bit. He actually smoked $20,000 worth of Winston Churchill's favorite cigars for his role — and then got nicotine poisoning. Sounds like a good way to never want to see another cigar again.
9. Matthew McConaughey for 'Dallas Buyers Club'
When it came to portraying rodeo cowboy, Ron Woodruff, who was suffering from HIV, McConaughey needed to look sick--and that meant losing weight. So, naturally, he called up his buddy, Tom Hanks, for some advice. After all, Hanks had lost a lot of weight in the movie Philadelphia, which had similar themes with HIV and aids. The problem is, McConaughey went from 185 pounds to 135, and then stopped going outside, so he could look pale and sickly. He even started losing his vision. Even if a character is dying, it probably doesn't mean the actor needs to do the same.
10. Natalie Portman for 'Black Swan'
Portman got a little too connected to the pressures of ballerina life when she lost 20 pounds for her role in Black Swan. She had already been small, so this was some critical weight loss. She was only eating a few carrots and almonds a day, which could have killed her.
11. Shia LaBeouf for 'Fury'
LaBeouf decided to go a very interesting route for his role in Fury, one in which his wellbeing was far from a priority. First, he refused to bathe and then cut his face open on purpose. He also pulled out a tooth. He was definitely scaring people, including costar, Brad Pitt, who had to have a serious talk with LaBeouf before he did even more damage to himself.
12. Sylvester Stallone for 'Rocky'
Sylvester Stallone found himself in the ICU for nine days while filming the fourth installment of Rocky. It was all because he really wanted the scenes in the movie to be realistic, and somehow that meant him taking a real-life uppercut from Dolph Lundgren, who played Ivan Drago. Well, damage was done and filming was delayed for two weeks. Talk about a painful lesson.
13. Tom Hanks for 'Cast Away'
Cast Away is a story of a man living in a situation that no one would want to experience, so Hanks decided to do experience it--because that totally made sense. While he didn't get himself trapped on a secluded island, he did purposefully lose 55 pounds and then developed a staph infection from a cut on his leg during filming. The infection was so severe that it could have killed Hanks.
14. Jared Leto for 'Suicide Squad'
To prepare for his role as the iconic mad man, the Joker, Jared Leto did some bizarre things. First, he only let people call him Mistah J and then he sent other cast members a dead pig during their first table read. Things got even creepier when he gifted Margot Robbie a live rat. We really wish someone would have stressed to him that delivering creepy animals is a big no.
15. Dustin Hoffman for 'Kramer Vs. Kramer'
Many believe that Hoffman was just wrong in Kramer Vs. Kramer when he decided to handle his character's fictional divorce with Meryl Streep's character by hurling comments about her real-life trauma. He thought it would be most realistic for him to slap Streep across the face and then target her with personalized insults, including cruel comments about her real-life dead boyfriend. It's one thing for actors to make themselves suffer for a role, but can cross the line when they decide to punish someone else with their method acting.
Let us know what you think of these method actors that went too far in the comments and if you think of any we missed.