Actresses

All The Intense Ways Helena Bonham Carter Goes The Extra Mile For Her Roles  

Tamara Jude
11k views 12 items

Helena Bonham Carter's method acting continues to astound audiences and critics alike. Though intense method acting isn't unusual in Hollywood, Bonham Carter has managed to add personal charm to the process. Known for her eccentric, off-beat characters, she has gained a reputation for using unique practices to prepare for her roles. In fact, some of Helena Bonham Carter's best parts have included the most bizarre characterizations and performances.

There is so much to learn about Bonham Carter aside from her film and TV roles - check out some of her most outlandish role preparations. Helena Bonham Carter prepares for her roles through nonconventional methods, techniques, and approaches. 

Praise From The Afterlife Encouraged Her To Take On 'The Crown' 
Praise From The Afterlife Enco... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list All The Intense Ways Helena Bonham Carter Goes The Extra Mile For Her Roles
Photo: Netflix

For the role of Princess Margaret in the third and fourth seasons of Netflix's The Crown, Bonham Carter took an unconventional step to connect with the character: she hired a psychic to contact the late princess to understand her personality better.

Bonham Carter has even claimed to have received confirmation from the royal that she was "doing a great job" portraying her. 

She Got Wand Blisters During 'Harry Potter'
She Got Wand Blisters During '... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list All The Intense Ways Helena Bonham Carter Goes The Extra Mile For Her Roles
Photo:  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix/Warner Bros.

The character Bellatrix Lestrange appeared in the last four installments of the Harry Potter film series. Bonham Carter's preparation for the villain included three weeks in wand school and extensive internal character development. The actress said, "We took it very, very seriously. I actually got a wand blister on the [middle] finger."

Speaking to MTV News, Bonham Carter went on to explain the process of extensively studying her character:

I have files and files. But that's what I love doing. And then you have to be open to everything else and learning your lines. And then you root it in physical stuff like costume, teeth, and makeup. 

She also added personal touches to make the character more distinctive, including wearing rotten teeth, messy hair, and a corset. 

She Went To Ape School For 'Planet Of The Apes'
She Went To Ape School For 'Pl... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list All The Intense Ways Helena Bonham Carter Goes The Extra Mile For Her Roles
Photo:  20th Century Fox

Bonham Carter's role of Ari for Planet of the Apes required the actress to emote through a full body costume and prosthetics. Her method acting for this role involved reading the complete collection of works by noted English primatologist and anthropologist Jane Goodall.

In addition, Bonham Carter attended a so-called ape school where "very earnest ape teachers" taught her how to channel her best performances. In Planet of the Apes Revisited by Edward Gross, Joe Russo, and Larry Landsman, actress Bonham Carter describes her struggles in ape school:

[I had] major ape attention deficit disorder. I lacked everything. But then I buckled down, and I was told to concentrate, and I did develop, I think. You know, it's not easy being an ape and discovering you're an ape. It's much more challenging than I thought it was at first. It requires a strange kind of concentration.

A Commune With Another Realm Helped Her With 'Burton And Taylor'
A Commune With Another Realm H... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list All The Intense Ways Helena Bonham Carter Goes The Extra Mile For Her Roles
Photo: BBC Four

For the BBC production Burton and Taylor, Bonham Carter needed to channel the charisma and star power of legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor. To achieve this feat, she studied numerous biographies and spoke to Taylor's real-life goddaughter.

However, the most significant step in Bonham Carter's preparation was contacting the late actress through a psychic. Bonham Carter admitted she felt a spiritual motivation to take on the role, saying, "I even asked a psychic... who was actually de-ghosting our house."