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.
- Requiem for a Dream, Dallas Buyers Club
Birthplace: Bossier City, Louisiana, United States of AmericaJared Leto would arrive on the set of The Dallas Buyers Club already dressed in drag for his role as Rayon.
- Kramer vs. Kramer, Tootsie
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of AmericaDustin 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.
- Titanic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Birthplace: Reading, United KingdomKate 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."
- There Will Be Blood, Lincoln
Birthplace: Greenwich, London, United KingdomDaniel 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.
- Community, The Martian
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, United States of America
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.
- Maleficent, Changeling
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USAAngelina 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.
- The Shining, The Departed
Birthplace: Neptune City, New Jersey, United States of AmericaJack 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.
- 10 Things I Hate About You, A Knight's Tale
Age: Died at 29 (1979-2008)
Birthplace: Perth, Western Australia, AustraliaIt 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.
- Dawson's Creek, Blue Valentine
Birthplace: Kalispell, Montana, United States of AmericaMichelle 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.
- Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society
Age: Dec. at 63 (1951-2014)
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States of AmericaRobin Williams reportedly went around town as Mrs. Doubtfire to stay in character for the role.
- Leaving Las Vegas, National Treasure
Birthplace: Long Beach, California, United States of AmericaNicolas 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.
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Truman Show
Birthplace: Newmarket, CanadaJim 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.
- The Godfather, Apocalypse Now
Age: Dec. at 80 (1924-2004)
Birthplace: Omaha, Nebraska, United States of AmericaMarlon 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.
- The Butterfly Effect, That '70s Show
Birthplace: USA, Cedar Rapids, IowaAshton 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."
- Goodfellas, The Godfather: Part II
Birthplace: Greenwich Village, New York City, New York, United States of AmericaRobert 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.
- The Dark Knight, The Prestige
Birthplace: Haverfordwest, United KingdomChristian Bale is so dedicated to method acting that he lost over 60 pounds for his role in The Machinist.
- American Psycho, Boys Don't Cry
Birthplace: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States of AmericaChole 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.
- The Godfather, Scarface
Birthplace: East Harlem, New York City, USA, New YorkAl 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.
- Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden
Age: Dec. at 24 (1931-1955)
Birthplace: Marion, Indiana, United States of AmericaJames 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.
- The Pianist, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Birthplace: Woodhaven, New York City, New York, United States of AmericaAdrien 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."
- Some Like It Hot, The Seven Year Itch
Age: Died at 36 (1926-1962)
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USAMarilyn Monroe worked with method acting developer Lee Strasberg to hone her craft.
- Michael Caine considers himself to be a method actor. He says: "the rehearsals are the work; the performance is the relaxation."
- Nine to Five, Klute
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States of AmericaJane Fonda was trained in method acting by the man who developed the technique, Lee Strasberg.
- A Beautiful Mind, Gravity
Birthplace: Englewood, New Jersey, United States of AmericaEd Harris built a painting studio at his home so that could completely become Jackson Pollack in the film Pollack.
- Gladiator, Walk the Line
Birthplace: Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, Puerto RicoJoaquin 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.