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
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.