Many people assume that celebrities have the best jobs in the world, but they actually don’t. Just like the rest of us, most of them also start at the bottom and go through long and daunting processes to be where they are right now. They attend acting auditions, visit the set, portray characters, and even memorize long lines, which they never wrote.
These celebrities exert a lot effort to portray their characters in the best possible way. They practice singing and dancing. They hone their skills in martial arts and in other forms of sports. They even learn new languages, regardless if this is foreign or just made up. At the end of the day, they get paid with tons of money, gain more fans and earn praise and awards.
Behind all the fortune and fame, it is pretty much obvious that it takes more than practicing and memorizing to get into character. It needs constant practices and research just to ensure that the character will be portrayed well by an actor. And since the competition in the industry is tough, actors do extremely bizarre things to land the best roles.
Here is a list of the most bizarre things celebrities have done to prepare for roles and acting auditions:
Halle Berry is seen as a strong, beautiful and charismatic actress, inspiring plenty of women with her perfect body and signature hairstyle. She made her acting debut in Spike Lee’s, Jungle Fever. Because this was her first major break, she wanted to get into character.
The award-winning actress was originally asked to play the role of Lee’s wife. However, she convinced Lee to cast her in the role of Vivian, the young crack addict. It was an understated role for the young actress, but it was a challenging enough for her.
In preparation for the role, she didn’t take crack cocaine. Instead, she didn’t shower the whole time they shot the movie, which took them eight weeks long. She did this so that she could easily fit into the role of an addict.
There was also a point when she visited a crack den with a police officer escorting her. There, she got an idea on how addicts act and operate. Still, her co-stars weren’t bothered by what she did because she is Halle Berry. Although Halle admitted she did wash certain parts.
It’s been years since the tragic death of Heath Ledger, but his performance as the Joker in the film The Dark Knight remains to be one of the most memorable and frightening villains to ever hit the big screen.
He was determined to play the role in the best way he can, so he prepared for it. He didn’t upset many Batman fans because his portrayal was disturbing enough, leaving many people wondering how he was able to portray such a dark role.
Ledger was cast as the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s 2008 Batman Sequel, The Dark Knight. He prepared for the role by reading all comic books that were relevant to the story and then closing his eyes and meditating on it. He even told Empire in 2007, “I sat around in a hotel room in London for about a month, locked myself away, formed a little diary and experimented with voices.”
He also practiced and perfected the movements, the speech patterns and the posture of his character. Obviously, his dark portrayal paid off, winning him an Oscar Award for Best Supporting Actor. Unfortunately, he died before the film was released because of an accidental drug overdose. Later on, there were speculations that his death was an effect of playing such terrifying character.
While many actors are working hard to become famous and rich, some of them are letting go of everything just to get into their roles. Adrien Brody was chosen to play the role of a Jewish Holocaust survivor, who gave up everything he had to the Nazis.
For him to feel like he actually survived the Holocaust, he made a big decision to give up everything he had. He gave up his cell phone, his fancy car, his luxurious lifestyle and even his apartment. He also broke up with his long-term girlfriend just to make his crying on-screen look real. But, learning how to play piano from scratch and memorizing the Chopin Piece was the best part.
His portrayal of the character in Roman Polanski’s The Pianist, gained him recognition and acclaim. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor at age 19, making him the youngest person to date to win the prestigious award.
Brody admitted that after filming, he became seriously depressed. According to him, “It was all-consuming. For a good year after, I was probably seriously depressed.” He added that the results of filming The Pianist helped him decide to venture into less demanding films.
Praised for his commitment to roles, Robert De Niro is a regular when it comes to going to extremes in preparation for films.
In the movie Cape Fear, De Niro was cast as a psychopathic rapist. For that role, he paid a dentist to stain and grind his teeth. He also devoted some time in the gym to get a jail-hardened body. This way, he can fit into the profile of his character. After the film, he had it fixed again. It cost him a total of $25,000.
However, this wasn’t the only weird thing he did in preparation for a role. When he played the role of Jake LaMotta in the boxing film Raging Bull, he mastered the art of boxing. He also added enough weight to appear like a real boxer.
In the film Taxi Driver, he was cast as a taxi driver. For him to fit in the role, he got a taxi driver license and did what taxi drivers do. He worked 12 hours a day for several weeks.
For his drive and method acting approach, Robert De Niro is considered the greatest actor of his generation. Clearly, he takes acting more than script reading, earning him awards and respect in his field.
Christian Bale is a prominent English actor, who has starred in lots of blockbuster films. He first caught the public eye when he was 13, when he was chosen for the title role in Steven Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun.
When it comes to acting extremes, Bale is also famous in his own league. His disturbing body transformation in the horror film, The Machinist, shocked the whole world. He prepared for his anorexic character by placing himself on a crash diet with only coffee and apples. He lost over 63 lbs. doing this.
Bale went on receiving commercial recognition and acclaim for his performances in Christopher Nolan’s films – Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises, in which he was cast as Bruce Wayne or Batman. But, before he was able to do that, he had to gain weight. The actor went through a three-hour training session to gain 60 lbs. of muscle and ate a high-carb diet.
As part of his craft, he is willing to take all shapes and sizes – from a skinny crack addict to a fit caped superhero. No other actor in Hollywood does it better than Bale.
People think that Nicolas Cage is insane, but in real life, he is not. He is just so devoted when it comes to portraying the roles given to him.
In 2007, he starred in the film Ghost Rider, which was a box office success. And for him to fit into the character, he would paint his face and bring Egyptian relics. It was his way of tapping into the realms of ancient ghosts.
Whenever they are filming, he would refuse to speak to his co-actors. He does this to create an illusion of fear, which he thinks was necessary to effectively portray the role of the Ghost Rider.
His performance in the film Leaving Las Vegas looked so real that he actually received a Globe, an Academy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. During the filming, he had this routine of getting drunk and recording himself. He then reviews the footage and learns how drunkards act.
Natalie Portman starred in the psychological horror film Black Swan. Her performance gained critical acclaim, earning her lots of major acting awards, including Academy Award for Best Actress, Golden Globe, the SAG Award and BAFTA Award.
The Black Swan star spent more than a year in preparing for her role. She practiced her tutu the whole year just to perfect the white swan ballet dancing skills. Since her role is a sweet white swan who becomes an evil black swan, she teamed up with Mila Kunis, who played the role of the Black Swan. They practiced together.
One year prior to filming, Portman practiced every day. She dedicated five hours to swimming and ballet dancing. She also went on a strict diet consisting of 1,200 calories per day. Portman’s hard work paid off as she looked like a real dancer.
The action thriller film, Collateral, stars Tom Cruise as cold killer. At first, there were problems casting him as a professional assassin because Cruise has no experience with blending into a crowd. So, the director decided to test Cruise’s ability to fit in a large number of people.
The charismatic actor disguised himself as a UPS courier. He worked hard and delivered packages in the crowded streets of Los Angeles while trying his best not to be noticed by anyone around him. With his sneaky disguise, he was able to blend in.
When asked about how he prepared for the role, Cruise answered that he just worked with the director Michael Mann. Since he had never dealt with weapons at that time, he had to practice. He did extensive training with guns and learned how to shoot accurately and quickly. He also worked on the fight scenes for months until he and the director came up with the look for the character.
Cruise’s performance was widely praised and gained critical acclaim. He received nominations from award giving bodies like the MTV Movie Awards as Best Villain and Saturn Awards as Best Actor.
It is rare for actors to completely change their appearances for the sake of filming. Rooney Mara was once an innocent-faced girl until she decided to overhaul her physical appearance for filming The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.
Mara went through a lot of changes and transformations to play the part. She cut her hair and dyed it black. She pierced her nipple and bleached her eyebrows. She also learned how to ride a motorcycle. Throughout the filming, she had to portray the role of a tortured girl, so she wore black makeup.
As part of the character, the lack of eye contact was pointed out to her. Mara said, “It’s something that we talked about for the entire time of shooting, and through the audition process as well.” It was challenging for the actress as for her, “listening is the most important part of acting, and a lot of people listen through eye contact.”
Her performance in the film received critical acclaim. She was even nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture Drama and an Academy Award for Best Actress.
As a group, doing something crazy in the crowd seems fun and harmless. But when you have to act as psychopaths in a movie, it would be another case.
The majority of the supporting cast in the movie One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest locked themselves into an actual psychiatric ward, helping them a lot throughout filming. They had to do this to have a better idea on how they will attack their roles and to get a feel for life in a mental institution.
Other than the cast, the crew had to become accustomed to working with extras as well. They supported some crew members, who were real inmates at the Oregon State Mental Hospital.
Their acting strategy was so effective that most of them stayed in character, even if the cameras were no longer rolling. The film won five major Academy Awards – Best Picture, Actor in Lead Role, Actress in Lead Role, Screenplay and Director.
Tom Cruise, Natalie Portman, Nicolas Cage, Robert De Niro, Heath Ledger and Robert De Niro all have one thing in common. They all became highly praised actors and received prestigious awards and nominations. It goes to show that anyone who prepare hard beforehand for acting auditions and for a role will harvest their just rewards in the end.