7 Actors Who Went Crazy Method For Their Roles

They all deserved Academy Awards.

Method acting is pretty insane. If you’re not familiar, it means when an actor physically becomes his or her character as opposed to just pretending to be them. Even when the cameras aren’t rolling, they walk, talk, and even demand to only be called by their character names. It’s a dangerous approach with a slippery slope, but can pay off in the form of Oscar gold.

These seven method acting stories are particularly crazy. Give them a gander, and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

  • 1 Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln (2012)
    20th Century Fox
    Daniel stayed in character as Abraham Lincoln during the entire shooting of the film. Even crazier? He started texting his friends as Abe, signing his messages, “Yours, A.” Insane, right?

  • 2 Adrian Brody, The Pianist (2002)
    Focus Features
    To play a Holocaust survivor and piano player in the film, Adrian practiced piano four hours a day and soon learned complicated pieces by Frédéric Chopin. He also lost 30 pounds, gave up his apartment, sold his car, and stopped using phones. Damn, that’s commitment. But it paid off: He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2003.

  • 3 Shia LaBeouf, Nymphomaniac (2013)
    Zentropa Entertainments
    Instead of simulating sex with his co-star Mia Goth, Shia actually had sex with her. Needless to say, Shia’s girlfriend at the time was POed about it—so she dumped him. [Source: The Huffington Post]

  • 4 Madonna, Body of Evidence (1993)
    Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
    Madonna didn’t talk to Julianne Moore during the filming of this erotic thriller. (Madonna played Julianne’s husband’s mistress in the movie, so the cold shoulder was meant to create tension.) The film isn’t the greatest, but that bathroom slap is life-changing.

  • 5 Rooney Mara, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)
    Columbia Pictures
    To prepare for Lisbeth, Rooney actually cut her hair and died it black. But the most extreme thing she did? Pierce her nipples. She earned an Academy Award nomination for the part, so we suppose the pain was worth it.

  • 6 Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight (2008)
    Warner Bros.
    The late Heath won a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work as the Joker, and for good reason. Reportedly, he barricaded himself into his apartment for 30 days before shooting and only slept two hours a night. While on set, he only wanted people to call him “Joker.” A source says Heath would ignore people that tried to address him anyway else.

  • 7 Dustin Hoffman, Marathon Man (1976)
    Paramount Pictures
    Dustin knew Thomas “Babe” Lev was frantic and an avid runner. To step into his shoes, he literally stayed awake for three straight days. When Dustin spoke to his co-star Laurence Olivier about the incident, he reportedly said, “Why not try acting?” Amazing.