All it takes for us, the viewers, is mere seconds to pass judgement on movies. What we do forget is the fact that the cast and the crew puts in so many efforts and hard work to make it. Despite the advent of technology and special effects, it’s the actors who have to put in the maximum effort.
When commoners look at moviestars all they see is glamour and lots of money, but as they say the grass is always greener on the other side. While the actor’s life does come with perks like money and fame, there is also a dark side to it which probably goes unnoticed.
To get into the skin of their characters, some actors go that extra mile to make it more believable. In order to do so, they push themselves to such extreme limits that sometimes it takes more effort to actually come out of it. Some characters latch on to the actors so bad, that they deeply affect the actors and their normal lives.
From insane weight loss and gain, lifestyle changes and physical training to secluding themselves from the rest of the world are just a few of the ways these actors go to extreme lengths in order to get into character.
Here are 12 actors and their films that took a massive toll on their physical/mental health:
Movie: Padmavati (Yet to be released)
While the film is yet to release, Ranveer Singh is known to get into the deep end for almost every character that he plays. While he broke his shoulder while shooting for the fight sequences in Bajirao Mastani, for the role of Alauddin Khilji he got emotionally involved with the character. So much so, that he isolated himself and stayed locked inside his apartment to get into the skin of Khilji. This prepping up affected him so much that his behaviour towards people took a hit. He then had to seek psychiatric help to come back to his normal self.
Movie: The Reader (2008)
She rose to fame with Titanic and since there has been no looking back. With a lot of mega hits under her belt and becoming the youngest actress in the history to be nominated for six Academy Awards, Kate Winslet’s most difficult role so far has been that of a former Nazi concentration camp guard in 2008 film The Reader. According to her, this is one performance that took a toll on her health. She said that it took months for her to fully break free of the part leaving the character behind and escaping a serious car accident. Thankfully, Winslet has seemingly moved on and she continues to be one of the top actresses in Hollywood.
Movie: The Dark Night (2008)
This list would be incomplete without the iconic Joker aka Heath’s name on it. Playing the arch-nemesis of Batman was no easy feat for ledger. For this Christopher Nolan movie, the actor locked himself away in a London hotel room for a month, keeping a diary and experimenting with various voices and mannerisms until he came up with the final vision of the character. The result was obviously one of the most memorable villains of all time which also made him win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar in 2009. Tragically, he never got to see his work on the silver screen as he passed away from accidental prescription drug overdose one year before the release. According to a lot of claims, it was this role that drove him to his end.
Movie: The Revenant (2015)
The film that broke Leo’s long dry spell and finally made him earn the Oscar for Best Actor, wasn’t a bed of roses for the actor. Just like his character in the film, DiCaprio slept in animal carcasses, ate raw animal organs and suffered severe bouts of hypothermia in real life! Well, we can only say that it was a well-deserved win for sure.
Movie: NH10 (2015)
She not only acted in the film but she also donned the producer’s hat. With this film, Anushka earned critical acclaim and many nominations for Best Actress in 2015. It wasn’t easy for her as she went through a roller coaster ride of emotions. Talking about the same she said, “I was in depression when I did the scene of being molested in NH10,” she had said. “Being punched, kicked in stomach and all that, I was just thinking how humans can be this way. We aren’t exposed to so much in life other than reading in newspaper. But to shoot such scenes are extremely traumatising.”
Movie: Black Swan (2010)
Ballet is probably one of the most difficult forms of dance. It takes years and years to learn the art of Ballet but Portman did not have the luxury of time in her hands. To learn the craft and get into the character Natalie Portman trained her ass off for eight hours a day for months. She lost 20 pounds and dislocated a rib! She managed to put a superb performance in the end which went on to earn her an Oscar. All’s well that ends well, right?
Movie: Les Miserables (2012)
With the word miserable in the movie title, it was obvious that the film wouldn’t be a light-hearted movie. The protagonist Anne Hathaway ate nothing but oatmeal paste for weeks to get into the character of Fatine! This along with the long weeks of intense filming led to Hathaway feeling deprived both mentally and physically.
Movie: Raman Raghav 2.0 (2016)
Starting from ground level to present, Nawazuddin Siddiqui is one actor who made a place for himself in Bollywood on the basis of sheer talent. He might not be a commercial actor in the conventional sense but he has a gift of acting that not many can match up to, forget competing. He is someone who doesn’t think twice before taking up challenging roles. His portrayal as the brutal serial killer in Raman Raghav 2.0 left him deeply disturbed.
He said, “Somewhere I could not tell what is right and what is wrong. Those lines in my life got blurred. Then what happens is that film gets completed but it stills remains alive in your life as it is said that ‘if you take something from the character then it also takes a lot of things out of your life.”
Movie: Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
To play the role of Ron Woodroof, an individual afflicted with AIDS who tries to get around the system to get medication for people facing the disease, McConaughey lost around 47 lbs and it took him a really long time to recover from it. Talking about his drastic weight loss, he said, “As soon as I hit 143lb [10 stone 3lb], I started losing my eyesight. I would do five push-ups and be sore. I would run 30 feet and my legs would lock up.”
Movie: Badlapur (2015)
By far, one movie that stands out the most in Varun’s career is Badlapur. The vengeance-thriller saga was not just a super hit but it also earned him critical acclaim. The downside of success was that his personal life got affected because of this role. The revenge plot made him lose touch with his real self. He said, “Badlapur messed me up and I had gone crazy. So many people around me left me and one of them was my girlfriend.”
Movie: Rocky Balboa (2006)
He might not be the most talented actor, but he does work very hard to get into the skin of the character. At nearly 60 years of age, Stallone decided to resurrect Rocky in 2006. Almost 16 years after the last role, a lot of work was required by him to portray Rocky again. In addition to all the training and practice, Stallone also faced off against real-life boxer Antonio Tarver, who played Balboa’s primary adversary Mason Dixon. To look authentic, Stallone wanted the boxing to look as real as possible and as a result took a number of blows from Tarver during practice and filming.
Movie: Udta Punjab (2016)
While the movie invited a lot of controversies, it went on to become a big hit. Apart from the interesting plot of the film, it was the performances that won many hearts. Apart from Shahid Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh, it was Alia Bhatt who proved her mettle once again with this film. The actress spoke about how a gang rape scene in the film was too emotionally challenging for her. While shooting for that scene, all she wanted was to get it over with and go home. So immense was the trauma that she dreaded going to the set for a long time.