Extreme Acting: Hollywood's Hardcore Stars

January 27, 2013 By:
Extreme Acting: Hollywood's Hardcore Stars

There are actors and then there are acteurs—yes, all pretentiously spelled out like that and in italics. These actors are D-E-V-O-T-E-D to their craft. Some are paid off in awards while others boost their indie and acting cred. Here are some of the more crafty ways Hollywood's finest got into their craft.

Shia LaBeouf for The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman – The sign of an actor yearning to prove himself as more than just popcorn fare is going method for a role. This is what Shia LaBeouf is doing for Lars Von Trier's current film at Sundance, where the actor admitted he dropped acid for his part to get it pitch perfect. "There's a way to do an acid trip like Harold and Kumar," he said, "and there's a way to be on acid."

Joseph Gordon-Levitt for Looper – In order to get under Bruce Willis' skin just short of using a knife and making himself an original Bruce Willis skin suit (illegal), Joseph Gordon-Levitt fell down a Bruce Willis k-hole of all the actor's movies, which isn't that crazy, but if you're forced to watch one of his more recent comedies like Cop Out, then yeah, totally crazy. Joseph also had the audio stripped from the video so he could carry Bruce's voice around with him at all times. He even had Bruce specially record the voice-over monologues from Looper for him to listen to 24/7 so that he could hear what it would sound like in his character's head when his character was thinking to himself in character…insanely confusing!

Tom Cruise for Collateral – In order to prepare for his role as a hitman for Collateral, Tom Cruise posed as a FedEx driver. Delivering mail really had nothing to do with the film itself, however, Tom wanted to figure out how to blend in with a crowd and not catch anyone's attention. For a day he delivered packages all over Los Angeles…and it worked. No one recognized him, which is crazy considering he's known to not be the most subtle guy (see: Tom Cruise around couches).

The Cast of Saving Private Ryan – No, this isn't the latest workout regimen to overtake L.A. It's how Steven Spielberg got his cast in shape and character for the war film Saving Private Ryan. He put them all through a 10-day boot camp led by a real life Marine who shot blanks at them and only allowed food to be served in canned rations because he hates them as humans, but loves them as actors.

Ed Harris for Pollock – In a film that was 10 years in the making for Ed Harris, the actor-director had a lot invested in this passion project of his. He put on 30 pounds, had an entire art studio build behind his home so he could paint in the painter's signature style, even took up smoking Camel cigs, the artist's favorite brand, to get the Pollock lungs. He already kind of looked like Pollock before the film which is already crazy.

Robert DeNiro for Cape Fear – Robert went as far as cosmetic surgery for this one. In order to channel a criminal he wanted to have not just the makeup and clothing of one, but the teeth. Yes, teeth. He dropped $20K to have a dentist grind his teeth to stubs and screw his overall look up.

Daniel Day-Lewis for every movie he's ever made, basically – Daniel Day-Lewis wrote the modern day book on method. He's so method, I'm still not convinced Daniel Day-Lewis isn't just everyone else on this list, but in character. For My Left Foot he stayed secured to a wheelchair and was spoon-fed by the crew in between shoots. For The Boxer, he tattooed his own hands street-style. For In The Name of the Father, it was all-luxurious nights spent sleeping in an abandoned jail and eating prison rations. For Lincoln, he would text Sally Field as Abraham Lincoln because he officially was going off the deep end.

Kristen Stewart for Welcome to the Rileys – To get her role just right as a stripper for this indie film, Kristen actually danced at a New Orleans strip club to really get the full monty experience. Three nights a week, she claims, and she even has the bruises on her legs to prove it. Apparently she was so believable as a stripper she was offered a job at the joint. At least she'll always have a Plan B if that Twilight thing never takes off!

Christian Bale for The Machinist – Just google image this and you'll see why this is absolutely insane. Christian Bale shed 63 pounds to get down to a skeletal 120 that endangered his own health. The craziest part is that it wasn't even part of the script nor suggested by his director. Christian did it just because Christian is crazy.

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine – While it sounds like a dream to live with Ryan Gosling in a tiny intimate apartment for 30 days, it wasn't always pretty. To further immerse themselves in their characters, the two not only lived together as a married couple, but they did so on the combined income of their characters: a nurse and painter. Michelle even mentioned that Ryan did his own dishes. That's enough—a celebrity doing their own dishes?! Crazy!