Acting is what comes from the heart and therefore every actor has his or her unique way through which they prepare themselves for the character they are committed to play. One of the most famous techniques employed by great actors like Marlon Brando in Hollywood and Dilip Kumar in Bollywood is method acting. This technique involves completely identifying with the character physically and emotionally.

Among the current lot, we have Nawazuddin Siddiqui, a powerhouse of talent, who blew our minds with his spell-bounding performance in Raman Raghav 2.0. He is back again with Haraamkhor and we cannot wait for it to hit the theatres.

While Bollywood has evolved slowly in terms of employing method acting, Hollywood is replete with examples of actors turning to extreme levels. Let’s have a look at some of these shocking facts.

Daniel Day-Lewis in My Left Foot
still-of-daniel-day-lewis-and-brenda-fricker-in-my-left-foot-1989-large-picture-compressedHe had already created a niche for himself with his intense method acting for the part of the 16th President of the USA in Lincoln. For his film My Left Foot, in which he played the role of a writer/painter with cerebral palsy, Daniel Day-Lewis not only spent weeks in a cerebral palsy clinic but also refused to leave his wheelchair at all times.

Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man
012-marathon-man-theredlist-compressedIn preparation for his role of a man losing control of his physical and psychological stability, Dustin Hoffman did not sleep for days and did things that would naturally make him look disturbed.

Christian Bale in The Machinist
the-machinist-1024x634Christian Bale’s commitment to method acting saw him lose 60 pounds straight for his character in The Machinist about an insomniac who gradually becomes insane.

The handsome Christian Bale was unrecognizable after this tormenting schedule that he adopted.

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight
the-dark-knight-heath-ledger-compressedHeath Ledger will always be a legend among method actors. His preparation for the role of The Joker in The Dark Knight made him lock himself in a room, write strange things in a diary, take prescription drugs and sleep for just two hours a night. He completely identified himself with the demented, schizophrenic, apathetic Joker. Alas, he met a disastrous end just weeks before the release of the film.

Adrien Brody in The Pianist
adrien-brody-the-pianist-7Now who sells away all their fortunes, starts living like a pauper, stops eating and disconnects from family and friends in order to get into the skin of a character? Adrien Brody’s performance as a Holocaust survivor couldn’t have been any better.

Billy Bob Thornton in Sling Blade
billy-bob-compressedIn order to get the perfect shuffle of his character in Single Blade, Billy Bob placed crushed glass pieces inside his shoes thus making him limp with pain and distress.

Nicolas Cage in Birdy
nicolas-cage-birdyNicolas Cage's preparation for the character of a Vietnamese war veteran in the film Birdy made him go through the excruciating pain of getting his tooth pulled out without anesthesia. It didn’t stop here as he got his face covered in multiple bandages for days together. When the bandages were finally taken off, Nicolas' face was full of acne and inflammation. Ouch!!!

There are both supporters and critics of this historical acting technique. Many are of the opinion that real actors are characters on screen and themselves in real life. Improving acting skills can go a long way in putting an exceptional performance.

This technique is, however, destined to stay in the industry for long. If you feel we have missed out on your favorites, let us know in the comments below.