Actors Who Got Very Real On How Difficult Roles Changed Them

The life of an actor is ripe with challenges. One day you're the hero, the next you're a villain. And sometimes it can be difficult knowing how and when to switch it off.

Then there are those roles that stay with actors long after the cameras stop rolling. Have a look below and see as these actors get very real on how their most difficult roles changed them forever.

Lakeith Stanfield as William O'Neal in 'Judas And The Black Messiah'

During an interview with Complex, Lakeith said, "It’s no wonder I’ve been feeling so stressed out and having panic attacks. I realized going forward before I step into something like that again, maybe have a therapist.”

Jake Gyllenhaal as Lou Bloom in 'Nightcrawler'

Jake has said that in order to properly portray Lou Bloom, he had to change both physically and mentally. To this day, Jake admits that the character still haunts his dreams.

Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise in 'IT'

Bill explained to EW that he had a hard time letting go of Pennywise. "I was home, done with the movie, and I started having very strange and vivid Pennywise dreams. Every night, he came and visited,” Bill said.

Bob Hoskins as Eddie Valiant in 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?'

In order to convince audiences that what they were seeing on-screen was real, Bob would trick himself into hallucinating that the cartoon characters were actually there. The only problem was that once filming had wrapped, he couldn't get himself to stop.

Adrien Brody as Władysław Szpilman in 'The Pianist'

It took Adrien Brody months to recover from his role in The Pianist. The Oscar-winning actor told the BBC that "there were times when I was concerned that I might not be able to get out of it sane because I didn't realize how far it had taken me."

Janet Leigh as Marion Crane in 'Psycho'

After her iconic role in Psycho, Janet was forever scarred. She stopped showering entirely, and would only bathe in the bathtub.

In the rare instance where no bathtub was available, Janet would shower with the curtain open and never turn her back to the door.

James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano in 'The Sopranos'

The weight of Tony Soprano wore on James Gandolfini, unlike anything the actor had every experienced before. It drove James into a downward spiral of drug and alcohol abuse and was also a contributing factor in his divorce.

Natalie Portman as Nina Sayers in 'Black Swan'

"There were some nights that I thought I literally was going to die," Natalie told Enertainment Weekly. "It was the first time I understood how you could get so wrapped up in a role that it could sort of take you down."

Anne Hathaway as Fantine in 'Les Misérables'

Anne has described the feeling that came from portraying Fantine as a mixture of physical and emotional deprivation. She said that it took weeks after filming had wrapped before she finally began to feel like herself.

Dakota Johnson as Suzy Bannion in 'Suspiria (2018)'

The dark energy of horror movies can take a toll on actors. Dakota said that Suspiria messed her up so badly that she needed to seek out the help of a therapist in order to properly cope.

Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman in 'Man On The Moon'

Jim famously said that he was possessed by the spirit of Andy Kaufman while filming Man on the Moon. "I broke a couple of times on weekends and stuff, but pretty much from when I woke up to when I went to bed, the choices were all his,” Jim told The Los Angeles Times.

Michael B. Jordan as Erik Stephens aka Killmonger in Black Panther

Michael B. Jordan shut out love completely from his life and adopted the path of a lone wolf for the role of Killmonger. He had a difficult time readjusting to life in the real world and eventually sought professional help.

Penn Badgley as Joe Goldberg in 'You'

Penn doesn't mince words when he says that playing Joe on You has taken an irreversible toll on his psyche. That said, he also considers the role to be one of the most rewarding parts he's ever taken on in his career

Christina Applegate as Jen Harding in 'Dead to Me'

"It tapped into some stuff that I had to face. It was cathartic. I don’t know if it was therapeutic. Did I start therapy after I shot the show? Yes, absolutely,” Christina told Variety.

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in 'Joker'

Joaquin had to lose 52 pounds in order to portray Arthur Fleck and he became borderline obsessive with his weight. "Like so much of what's difficult is waking up every day and being obsessed over like 0.3 pounds. Right? And you really develop like a disorder," he told The Associated Press.