10+ Actors Who Hurt Their Mental Health By Staying In Character

Sometimes actors portray characters that are very villainous or criminal with dark and twisted minds. In some cases, these characters can be difficult for actors to portray because they have to spend so much time thinking about that darkness.

Even for those who aren't method actors, certain roles can be particularly draining and bad for health and happiness.

Here are 10+ actors who hurt their mental health by staying in character.

Evan Peters on *American Horror Story.*

Peter has played various roles in this television horror anthology, but his first role as Tate Langdon might have been one of the most messed up.

He told GQ how playing some of these characters was difficult for him and "hurting his soul." Peters says he doesn't relate to the characters much as he's overall a playful, fun person.

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles.

When Foxx played the legendary musician, he did such a good job that he won an Oscar.

However, doing things like having prosthetic eyelids glued over his own eyes led him to have panic attacks. The strict diet he was on probably didn't help matters.

Nicolas Cage for the _Ghost Rider_ sequel.

When filming Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengenance Cage would cover his face in pain and Egyptian amulets while screaming at his castmates.

Cage claimed this was an acting technique called Nouveau Shamanic, but in fact, he totally made it up. He claimed this method came from Africa, and everything about this lie is super weird and messed up.

Adrian Brody in *The Pianist.*

Adrien Brody portrayed Holocaust survivor and concert pianist Władysław Szpilman which would have been a heavy role to take on.

To get ready for the role he had to go on an extreme diet.

"I gave up my apartment, I sold my car, I disconnected the phones, and I left." he told BBC.

This extreme preparation took its toll on him.

Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs.

Ashton Kutcher played Steve Jobs in a 2013 biopic that was mostly a flop.

That's a shame given that Krucher went so far as to replicate Jobs' diet by living only on fruit.

This diet wasn't healthy for Kutcher, obviously, and it even sent him to the emergency room.

Shia LaBeouf in *Fury.*

LaBeouf really took things too far in an unhealthy way when taking on this role. He didn't shower for four months!

However, things got even worse as he started doing really weird things like watching videos of horses dying. He even pulled out a tooth and cut open his face in front of other cast members.

Johnny Depp in *Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.*

While Johnny Depp usually doesn't go the method acting route, he did for his portrayal of Hunter S. Thompson.

He even went so far as to live in Thompson's basement. He even went so far as to let Thompson shave his head.

Val Kilmer portraying Jim Morrison.

When playing the famous musician in the movie The Doors, Kilmer started off by learning how to play a few of his songs which made sense.

However, he started to take things to an obsessive level when he learned a whopping 50 songs which is 35 more songs than were even in the movie.

Jared Leto as *The Joker.*

Playing The Joker seems to have a negative impact on actors, but many people have questioned whether Leto was actually going too method or if he was just harassing his co-workers.

While filming, he made other members of the cast uncomfortable by doing things like sending Margot Robbie, who was playing Harley Quinn, a love letter and a rat.

Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill the Butcher.

This is a rather infamous case of method acting gone wrong. When Day-Lewis played Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York, he went so far as to train as a butcher and to get in fights with strangers.

He told The Independent : "I had to do my preparation. And I will admit that I went mad, totally mad."

Zac Efron as Ted Bundy.

Playing someone as twisted as serial killer Ted Bundy wouldn't be easy for anyone.

Zac Efron said that taking on this role was mentally and emotionally difficult for him. He told Metro that he "was put to the test for this one."

Kate Winslet in *The Reader.*

The fact is that most actors that get really into method acting are men, but it's not like women never do it. And, they do are obviously also impacted by the roles they take.

After Winslet played a Nazi guard in 2008, Winslet said it took her many months to recover.

Daniel Day-Lewis in *The Last of the Mohicans.*

Day-Lewis is notorious for method acting in almost every role even though doing so doesn't appear to be great for his mental health.

When playing the role of Nathaniel, he decided to live in the woods for six months to learn how to hunt and live off of the land.

Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes.

When DiCaprio played the real-life billionaire, Howard Hughes, it wasn't great for his mental health.

Hughes suffered from a severe case of OCD, and as DiCaprio also has mild OCD, it made his mental health worse.

He told The Telegraph that "I let myself do it because I wanted that to come out. I was trying to be the character. It became real bothersome, even after the filming."

Heath Ledger as *The Joker.*

This entry is probably one of the most well-known as it became a big topic of discussion given Ledger's tragic death just after filming The Dark Knight.

At one point while filming the movie he told The New York Times: "Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night. ‘I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."