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The Method

It's well-known that many of Hollywood's finest actors do more than simply act. They immerse themselves in their characters, sometimes even taking on new lives in an attempt to understand them. It's well known, for instance, that Robert DeNiro actually worked driving cabs in preparation for his role in Taxi Driver. Actually deigning to work for a living may seem like quite a sacrifice for a movie star, but some of his fellow actors and actresses have gone even further:

Anthony Hopkins, a dedicated method actor, brought astonishing realism to his role as Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs by killing and eating three grips and a wardrobe supervisor over the course of filming.

Nicole Kidman prepared for her role in Eyes Wide Shut by marrying her co-star, Tom Cruise. The resulting on-screen sizzle was so convincing that upwards of three hundred people were surprised by their subsequent divorce.

Robin Williams prepared for his role in Patch Adams by spending a decade taking roles as a charming cherubic iconoclast who is looked down on by uncaring authoritarians even while he wins the hearts of those around him. The sacrifice was considerable, but the end result was a role described by critics as "predictable" and "cloying."

John Malkovich spent several years as John Malcovich in order to prepare to his role as John Malcovich in Being John Malkovich. He is said to have learned this technique from his friend and mentor, Mr. T. Co-stars say he was so into the role that he remains John Malkovich to this day just in case the rumored sequel ("Still John Malcovich") is ever made.

Glenn Close spent three months working as a prostitute in Urbana, Illinois in preparation for her role in 101 Dalmatians. While the film was not set in Illinois, did not involve prostitution in any form, and in fact was a remake of a Disney children's cartoon, Close found that her preparation nonetheless gave her a chance to exchange sex for money.

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