16 Crazy Things Celebrities Have Done for Acting Roles

Heath ledger joker
Source: Warner Brothers

Jan. 28 2015, Updated 2:07 p.m. ET

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Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams lived together for a month, with their on-screen daughter, so they could mirror the rhymths of a family in Blue Valentine.

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Tom hanks castaway
Source: Twentieth Century Fox

Tom Hanks lost so much weight for his roles in Philadelphia and Castaway that he credits the yo-yo dieting for his eventual type II diabetes diagnosis.

Christian bale machinist
Source: Paramount Classics

Christian Bale is a notorious Method actor who relishes gaining and losing weight for his roles, but nowhere was his dedication more apparent than in his chilling transformation for The Machinist.

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Matthew McConaughey DBC
Source: Focus Features

To play an AIDS victim in Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey ate egg whites and chicken and lost over forty pounds.

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Renee Zellweger ate 4,000 calories a day to gain twenty pounds to play Bridget Jones—twice. (Okay, it sounds fun!)

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Rooney Mara

Rooney Mara truly pierced her nipple to get into character for her role in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

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Heath ledger joker
Source: Warner Brothers

Heath Ledger was so dedicated to his role as the Joker in The Dark Knight that he locked himself in a London hotel room for a month to experiment with voices and get into the character.

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Source: Focus Features

Jared Leto stayed in character as transgender Rayon for his critically acclaimed role in Dallas Buyers Club, and lost a whole bunch of weight in the process, too.

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Joaquin Phoenix announced a retirement from acting, and a foray into rapping, and generally acted like a total weirdo for months before claiming he was in character for a mockumentary, I'm Still Here.

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Director Roman Polanski reportedly made Adrien Brody practice piano up to four hours a day for his role in The Pianist, though it paid off with an Oscar.

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Shia LaBeouf clearly loves suffering for his art, but one imagines he didn't suffer a whole lot when he actually had sexual intercourse on film in Nymphomaniac.

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Natalie portman vendetta
Source: Warner Brothers

Natalie Portman shaved her head for V for Vendetta, then trained in ballet for 8 hours a day and lost tons of weight for her Oscar-winning role in Black Swan. Get it, girl.

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Daniel Day-Lewis is one of the most dedicated Method actors in Hollywood, notably signing his text messages "A" while playing Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln. But he also worked at a cerebral palsy clinic for two months and was pushed in a wheelchair for his role in My Left Foot.

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Nicolas Cage pulled out two of his teeth to play a Vietnam vet in Birdy. They were baby teeth, he claimed, but still!

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Anne hathaway les mis
Source: Universal

Anne Hathaway survived on two oatmal paste squares every day to drop weight for her Oscar-winning role in Les Miserables, as well as chopped off her hair.

Forrest Whitaker
Source: FameFlynet, Getty

Forest Whitaker learned Swahili so he could ad lib dialogue for his role in The Last King of Scotland.


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