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16 Wild Stories About Actors' Method Acting That Might Make You Say, "Hmm, That's A Bit Much"

If a coworker sent me a dead pig, I would simply quit.

Alright, so you might be familiar with the term "method acting" — a technique that encourages actors to use their own experiences and emotions for roles. This can also involve trying to live as the character — even when the cameras are off.

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Of course, this approach — or pursuit of it — can mean that some people take things a bit, er, far. Here are just some actors who really went off the deep end:

1. Lady Gaga spoke in an Italian accent for nine months while filming House of Gucci.

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 “It is three years since I started working on it and I will be fully honest and transparent: I lived as her (Reggiani) for a year and a half," she told British Vogue. The immersion led to some "psychological difficulty" for Gaga, who went on a walk for the first time in about two months and thought she was still on a movie set.

2. Ashton Kutcher was hospitalized twice with pancreatitis while preparing to play Steve Jobs in Jobs.

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Ashton tried to follow Steve Jobs' fruitarian diet IRL, which didn't go so well. As per his wife, Mila Kunis, "He was so dumb. He...only ate grapes at one point...we ended up in the hospital twice. With pancreatitis! It was really dumb!" 

3. Michael B. Jordan needed therapy after isolating himself while playing Killmonger in Black Panther.

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"I spent a lot of time alone," Michael explained. "I figured Erik [Killmonger], his childhood growing up was pretty lonely. He didn't have a lot of people he could talk to about this place called Wakanda that didn't exist." 

4. Jared Leto sent his fellow cast a dead pig during his time as the Joker in Suicide Squad.

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Just one of the examples of Jared going method, he also sent Margot Robbie a live rat and got the cast and crew to address him as "Mistah J." He is only in the two-hour movie for about 10 minutes. 

5. Robert Pattinson would try to make himself throw up, lick mud, piss himself, put stones in his shoes, and get drunk during filming of The Lighthouse.

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While later discussing his role, he added, “I always say about people who do method acting, you only ever see people do the method when they’re playing an asshole. You never see someone being lovely to everyone while they’re really deep in character.”

6. Daniel Day-Lewis refused to leave his wheelchair and damaged two ribs while filming My Left Foot.

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He also insisted that the crew spoon-feed him while playing Christy Brown, an Irish artist who had cerebral palsy. 

7. Halle Berry tried out method acting when she didn't shower for 10 days to play a crack addict in Jungle Fever.

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Halle said of her first movie role, "It’s true [that I didn’t wash], ask Sam Jackson. He had to get a whiff of it constantly!”


8. Jamie Dornan straight-up stalked a woman, leaving the London Underground to prepare for his part as a serial killer in The Fall.

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"I followed a woman off the train one day to see what it felt like to pursue someone like that," he explained. "I followed her around a couple of street corners and then was like, 'What are you doing?'"

9. Leonardo DiCaprio, someone who is largely a vegan, slept in a dead animal’s carcass while making The Revenant.

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He also ate raw bison meat.

10. Jamie Foxx had his eyes glued shut for 14 hours a day while playing musician Ray Charles in Ray.

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The experience led him to have panic attacks during the first two weeks of filming and people to leave him places on set, forgetting that he couldn't find his way back. 

11. Nicolas Cage had some of his teeth removed without anesthesia to help him prepare for his role in Birdy.

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Plus, he wore a bandage around his head for four weeks during filming that gave him acne and ingrown hairs.

12. Gary Oldman smoked $20,000 worth of Churchill's favorite cigars while filming Darkest Hour, giving himself nicotine poisoning.

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“It’s Winston Churchill,” Gary said. “You can’t have Winston Churchill without a cigar.”

13. Kate Winslet lived alone in a cottage by the sea that would often lose power while preparing for Ammonite.

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"It was so isolated, cold and rattly that when there was a big storm the waves would hit the windows of the house and the power would go down and I would lie there thinking, 'Kate what are you doing?' Just go to the hotel with everybody else,'" she added.


14. Dustin Hoffman slapped Meryl Streep and taunted her about her recently deceased boyfriend on the set of Kramer V. Kramer.

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Meryl then reportedly told Dustin that if he wanted to use emotional recall, he should use it on himself and not her.

15. Forest Whitaker stayed in character playing Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland even off set — to the point where his family stopped speaking to him.

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He also primarily ate mashed bananas and beans, and learned Swahili and Kakwa.

16. Finally, Will Smith said that he actually fell in love with his Six Degrees of Separation co-star Stockard Channing while filming.

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“So the movie was over and I went home, and I was dying to see Stockard. I was like, ‘Oh no! What have I done?’ That was my last experience with method acting," he said.