They say it takes 10,000 hours of intensive practice to become a master of something. The same golden rule applies to acting. Of course, only a few have pulled off such a huge feat in their industry careers, and many have yet to hit quadruple digits.
It’s one thing to become a character in the blink of an eye, but staying in that state of mind for hours and sometimes even days without breaking down is another skill in itself. For some, it comes naturally. But for others, it’s a talent that only something like, say, 10,000 hours of practice could evoke.
To enter the state of mind of a withdrawn alcoholic on the verge of breaking down violently, Jack Nicholson would often have his character as Jack Torrance in the Shiny even when filming has ceased. It was so convincing, this co-star Shelley Duval, who played his on-screen wife Wendy Torrance, often showed real fear during filming.
Take the iconic “Here’s Johnny!” Segment at the end of the film, for example. Nicholson played the whole scene without breaking the character, that is to say DuvallThe reaction of the ax suddenly hitting the door was disturbingly legitimate.
Leonardo DiCaprio has become such a big star on Hollywood’s list over the years, that her sheer glow doesn’t surprise us so much anymore. But his dedication to the set and his on-screen focus is something we can’t help but admire every time.
Take Django unleashed, for example. During one particular scene, DiCaprio slammed his hand on a table during a speech, only to realize that he had mistakenly sliced it on glass. However, even with blood gushing from his palm, the actor used it to his advantage and continued the scene until the end. He then needed several stitches.
For an actor who fuses both complex dance moves and action-laden routines into his most iconic roles, it doesn’t seem possible to stay in character 24/7. And even, Channing Tatum has, in fact, delivered some pretty credible performances over the years, without breaking the immersion even off-screen.
One scene that immediately comes to mind is in Foxcatcher, where Tatum butted a mirror several times with all his might until it shattered. Of course, it suited the character, but it was also completely improvised. The fact that Tatum did it in the heat of the moment was what made it compelling and scary.
Johnny Depp is one of the most prolific players in the industry. He received critical and public acclaim, and in his heyday, was a box office superstar. One of his most iconic and lucrative roles is, of course, that of the rogue pirate, Captain Jack Sparrow of pirates of the Caribbean.
While Depp has a knack for delving into his familiar offsite roles, he also has a way of keeping personalities at heart during most productions. Jack Sparrow, surprisingly enough, is just one of them.
It is a well known fact that Joaquin Phoenix, as an actor, has reach. From his perspective on the power-hungry Roman Emperor Commodus Gladiator to the unstable joker Arthur in Joker, The Hollywood A-lister has proven his worth as one of the greatest actors of a generation.
To look at Walk the Line, where Phoenix took on the role of music legend Johnny Cash, the actor took it upon himself to learn to sing and play the guitar for the role. In the end, the director thought he had done such an exceptional job portraying Cash, that all of the voices recorded ended up being his. He even asked other cast and crew to call him JR, and refused to recognize any other first names throughout the production.
outraged Titanic and the obvious success stories, Kate Winslet has continued to star in some really big movies over the years. Take the Reader, for example, in which she plays Hanna Schmitz, a former Nazi guard on trial for her crimes during World War II.
According to Winslet, in order to adapt to the character before and during production, she maintained a German accent wherever she went, including at home, where she often read bedtime stories to her children. Fortunately, it all paid off when she won the Oscar for Best Actress.
Returning to Gotham’s most notorious villain, excluding Health ledger an iconic performance as the Joker would be an insult. To prepare for such a role, in the same way that Joaquin Phoenix underwent drastic weight loss, Ledger decided to completely isolate himself from society.
Locking himself in a hotel for an entire month with nothing more than a journal for his thoughts, the Method actor then incorporated the Joker’s personality into his own. Fortunately, it all paid off when register walked away with numerous awards for his stellar performance.
Wretched was by far one of the most popular films of the past decade, its soundtrack being a staple of the musical genre. However, it might have turned out a little differently without Anne Hathaway leading the cast.
To get into her character Fantine’s state of mind, Hathaway had to follow a strict diet, during which she lost 25 pounds before filming began. On top of that, she also had to have her hair cut in the middle of a scene, which she agreed to for the sake of the character’s story arc.
Jim Carrey is undeniably one of the greatest comedy icons of the past fifty years. His creativity is also what helped shape the world of method gaming, and so it makes sense that he reached the top of this list. His in-depth portrayal of Andy Kaufman in Man to the Moon, of course, that’s what drove him to such heights in 1999.
Replacing the shoes of the late comedy “The Man of Song and Dancing”, Carrey made it his goal to impersonate Kaufman for the entire film, even off-site. It all amounted to a documentary spin-off, Jim & Andy: the Great Beyond, a 90-minute special that showcased Carrey’s unparalleled dedication to the role.
There’s script reading day and night, and then there’s pushing yourself to the brink of exhaustion and starving yourself to crack a character’s mind. Sadly, Adrien Brody was targeting the latter with his lead role in the Pianist.
To get into the character’s free space, Brody gave up most of his possessions, sold his apartment and car, and even broke up with his then-girlfriend. He retired for months, while being invited to practice the piano four hours a day, to the point of being able to play some of Chopin’s more complex works. After eventually finishing the role in the film, the loyal performer won an Oscar in 2003 for Best Actor.
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