Entertainment
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12 Times Method Acting Nearly Destroyed Actors' Lives

Updated June 16, 2021 234.1k votes 54.8k voters 4.1m views12 items

List RulesVote up the actors you believe took their roles a bit too seriously.

Method acting, which was born within the philosophy of the Stanislavski system and popularized by the Strasberg Institute, has many famous adherents: from Marlon Brando to Marilyn Monroe. The past 40 years, though, have ushered in a rise of brilliant actors who took method acting way too far. While some of the best overall acting can come from the practice, these stories will leave you wondering if it was really worth the risk. 

"Too far," of course, is a subjective term. For many, the insane commitment simply comes with the territory. But as is the case with almost any experiment, things can backfire. Heath Ledger - who may have actually sacrificed his life for his unforgettable turn as the Joker - tops the list of actors whose lives were destroyed by method acting. Or so the legend goes, anyway.

The business abounds with method acting consequences that were as extreme as they were short-lived. Consider Christian Bale, who almost starved himself to death for his role in The Machinist. Or Divine, who famously upstaged everyone by actually eating a piece of real dog sh*t for the sake of art.

While consuming dog sh*t may not be one of the worst manifestations of method acting, it's surely the most repulsive (even though Nicolas Cage did eat a live cockroach for Vampire's Kiss). But there's a lot more where that came from, so read on to inquire further - and vote up the actors who went above and beyond for their craft. 

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