Entertainment

26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera  

Celebrity Lists
301.5k views 26 items

This is a list of actors who stay in character off camera, loosely ranked by fame and popularity. Several famous actors and actresses use the technique of method acting to completely immerse themselves into a role. One actor stayed in character to the point that he took up his character's profession in his off hours and another actor only ate fruit in preparation for a role.

Who is the most famous actor who stays in character off camera? Angelina Jolie tops our list. Jolie got so into method acting for her film Gia that she told her then-husband Jonny Lee Miller that she would not speak to him during filming. "I'm alone; I'm dying; I'm gay; I'm not going to see you for weeks," she said.

Robert De Niro spent weeks driving a cab around New York City to prepare for his role in Taxi Driver. He also gained excessive weight and lived with his co-star Joe Pesci for his role in Raging Bull. Other actors known for staying in character off camera include Daniel Day Lewis, Kate Winslet, and Jim Carrey.

Do you think that these actors take their roles too seriously? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Jared Leto is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Requiem for a Dream, Dallas Buyers Club, Mr. Nobody
Jared Leto would arrive on the set of The Dallas Buyers Club already dressed in drag for his role as Rayon.

More Jared Leto

#238 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #26 of 78 Who Is the Coolest Actor in the World Right Now?featuring Wild Jared Leto Rumors That Are Actually 100% True

Dustin Hoffman is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Kramer vs. Kramer, Tootsie, Rain Man
Dustin Hoffman is rumored to be tough to work with because he is always in character on the set. He even went as far as to deprive himself of sleep to get into the head of his character in Marathon Man.

More Dustin Hoffman

#23 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #8 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film Historyfeaturing The Best Dustin Hoffman Movies

Kate Winslet is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Revolutionary Road
Kate Winslet reportedly dove in to her role in The Reader to the point that she had trouble getting back to normal life. She said of the experience: "It's like I've escaped from a serious car accident and need to understand what has just happened."

More Kate Winslet

#20 of 938 The Best Actresses in Film History #50 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment Historyfeaturing The Best Kate Winslet Movies

Daniel Day-Lewis is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
There Will Be Blood, Lincoln, Gangs of New York
Daniel Day Lewis is probably the actor best known for staying in character off camera. Reportedly, he would send text messages as "Commander in Chief" and talk on the phone as Abraham Lincoln when he was filming Lincoln.

More Daniel Day-Lewis

#8 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #28 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film Historyfeaturing Forget Jared Leto, Daniel Day-Lewis Is The Most Insane Method Actor In Hollywood

Donald Glover is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Community, The Martian, Mystery Team

In the Atlanta episode "Teddy Perkins," Donald Glover took on the titular role. Glover insisted on acting in character day and night on set, even having cast and crew members call him Teddy. 

 

More Donald Glover

#306 of 455 The Greatest Singers of the Past 30 Years #24 of 78 Who Is the Coolest Actor in the World Right Now?featuring The Best Childish Gambino Songs, Ranked

Angelina Jolie is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Maleficent, Changeling, Mr. & Mrs. Smith
Angelina Jolie got so into method acting for her film Gia that she told her then-husband, Johnny Lee Miller, that she would not speak to him during filming. "I'm alone; I'm dying; I'm gay; I'm not going to see you for weeks," she said.

More Angelina Jolie

#161 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the Worldfeaturing Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Angelina Jolielisted on Famous Left Handed People

Jack Nicholson is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
The Shining, The Departed, As Good as It Gets
Jack Nicholson has said, "There's probably no one who understands method acting better academically than I do, or actually uses it more in his work." He reportedly underwent shock therapy treatment in real life to better understand his character in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

More Jack Nicholson

#5 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #8 of 337 The Coolest Actors Everfeaturing The Best Jack Nicholson Movies

Heath Ledger is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight's Tale, Brokeback Mountain
It was rumored that Heath Ledger reportedly only spoke to people as the Joker when he was filming The Dark Knight. Although this has since proven to be untrue, it IS true that he spent a month locked in a hotel room practising for the role. He went over dialect, stance and even the inner workings of the characters' mind to the point where he could dip in and out of various character traits. He dove so deep into the madness of the character that he couldn't sleep.

More Heath Ledger

#72 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #76 of 337 The Coolest Actors Everfeaturing The Best Heath Ledger Movies

Michelle Williams is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Dawson's Creek, Blue Valentine, Shutter Island
Michelle Williams began preparation for her role as Marilyn Monroe on and off the set for her film Marilyn. She reportedly bound her legs together to develop Monroe's famous stride.

More Michelle Williams

#124 of 938 The Best Actresses in Film History #38 of 226 The Greatest Former Child Starsfeaturing The Best Michelle Williams Movies

Robin Williams is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society, Jumanji
Robin Williams reportedly went around town as Mrs. Doubtfire to stay in character for the role.

More Robin Williams

#109 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the Worldfeaturing Heartwarming Behind-The-Scenes Stories About Robin Williamslisted on Guests of the Jay Leno Show

Nicolas Cage is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Leaving Las Vegas, National Treasure, Moonstruck
Nicolas Cage fully immersed himself in his role for Leaving Las Vegas, and the hard work paid off. Cage won an Academy Award for his performance.

More Nicolas Cage

#98 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #157 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film Historyfeaturing 10 Utterly Insane Things You Didn't Know About Nicolas Cage

Jim Carrey is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Truman Show, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Jim Carrey may be known for his comedic roles, but he is a very serious actor. When he was filming the biopic Man in the Moon, he was always in character as Andy Kaufman or his sidekick Tony Clifton.

More Jim Carrey

#168 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #76 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Todayfeaturing Jim Carrey Has A Hidden Love For Art, And His Paintings Are Actually Pretty Impressive

Marlon Brando is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, Superman
Marlon Brando is one of the most well-known practitioners of method acting. He reportedly spent months in bed at a hospital in order to prepare for his role as a paraplegic in The Man.

More Marlon Brando

#4 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film History #21 of 337 The Coolest Actors Everfeaturing 15 Insane Facts About Marlon Brando, One Of The Weirdest Actors Ever

Ashton Kutcher is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
The Butterfly Effect, That '70s Show, Two and a Half Men
Ashton Kutcher stayed in character for Jobs to the point that he ended up in the hospital. To better understand his role as Steve Jobs, Kutcher adopted the Apple CEO's fruit-only diet. He said he "...went to the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie. I was like doubled over in pain. My pancreas levels were completely out of whack."

More Ashton Kutcher

#268 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Todayfeaturing The Best Ashton Kutcher Movieslisted on Guests of the Jay Leno Show

Robert De Niro is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Goodfellas, The Godfather: Part II, Casino
Robert De Niro spent weeks driving a cab around New York City to prepare for his role in Taxi Driver. He also gained excessive weight and lived with his co-star, Joe Pesci, for his role in Raging Bull.

More Robert De Niro

#5 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Todayfeaturing The Most Unhinged (And True) Robert De Niro Stories Ever Toldlisted on Left Handed Celebrities

Christian Bale is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
The Dark Knight, The Prestige, American Psycho
Christian Bale is so dedicated to method acting that he lost over 60 pounds for his role in The Machinist.

More Christian Bale

#185 of 276 The Most Trustworthy Celebrities in the World #3 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Todayfeaturing The 25+ Best Christian Bale Movies of All Time

Chloë Sevigny is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
American Psycho, Boys Don't Cry, Zodiac
Chole Sevigny was so dedicated to her role in the film The Brown Bunny that she actually performed a sex act on her co-star Vincent Gallo.

More Chloë Sevigny

#281 of 938 The Best Actresses in Film History #1,029 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History #393 of 479 Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With

Al Pacino is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
The Godfather, Scarface, Heat
Al Pacino got so into his role as a blind man for Scent of a Woman that he claimed he could not see anything on the set.

More Al Pacino

#13 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #2 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film Historyfeaturing The Best Al Pacino Movies

James Dean is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden, Giant
James Dean reportedly annoyed people with his excessive preparation and dedication to his roles. His work often paid off, and he was known to get scenes in one take.

More James Dean

#40 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film Historyfeaturing 12 Strange Facts Most Fans Don't Even Know About James Deanlisted on People On Stamps: List Of People On US Postage

Adrien Brody is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
The Pianist, The Grand Budapest Hotel, King Kong
Adrien Brody sold everything he owned and moved to Europe to get into character for The Pianist. He also deprived himself of food. He says, "There is an emptiness that comes with really starving that I hadn't experienced... I couldn't have acted that without knowing it."

More Adrien Brody

#93 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #200 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film Historyfeaturing The Best Adrien Brody Movies

Marilyn Monroe is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Marilyn Monroe worked with method acting developer Lee Strasberg to hone her craft.

More Marilyn Monroe

#62 of 938 The Best Actresses in Film Historyfeaturing Marilyn Monroe's Beauty Secretslisted on Famous Left Handed People

Michael Cain is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Michael Caine considers himself to be a method actor. He says: "the rehearsals are the work; the performance is the relaxation."
Jane Fonda is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Nine to Five, Klute, Monster-in-Law
Jane Fonda was trained in method acting by the man who developed the technique, Lee Strasberg.

More Jane Fonda

#45 of 938 The Best Actresses in Film History #229 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment Historyfeaturing The Best Jane Fonda Movies

Ed Harris is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
A Beautiful Mind, Gravity, The Abyss
Ed Harris built a painting studio at his home so that could completely become Jackson Pollack in the film Pollack. 

More Ed Harris

#122 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Today #104 of 1,151 The Best Actors in Film Historyfeaturing The Best Ed Harris Movies

Joaquin Phoenix is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 26 Actors Who Stay in Character Off Camera
Gladiator, Walk the Line, The Master
Joaquin Phoenix always dives into a role, but he went all in for his 2010 mockumentary I'm Still Here. He appeared disheveled and confused during interviews and he successfully convinced people that he was losing his mind.

More Joaquin Phoenix

#22 of 78 Who Is the Coolest Actor in the World Right Now? #48 of 282 The Best (Male) Actors Working Todayfeaturing 14 Heartbreaking Stories From Joaquin Phoenix's Tragic Family