25 Actors Who Were Seriously Traumatized By The Movies They Were In - #20 Will Stun You!

Paul W. Hewson December 16th 2016 Entertainment
Contrary to what you may think, acting isn’t always just playing make-believe for a few hours a day while you spend the rest of your time sitting in an air conditioned trailer, sipping margaritas. I mean, sometimes it’s like that. Probably. But, sometimes, acting in a movie can be a tough job. Especially if the script and subject matter is really intense.

Every now and then, even Hollywood’s heartiest, toughest actors take on roles and projects that test them to their limits. And those actors don’t always leave the movie the same way they went in. Sometimes, they’re never the same. To that, we present 25 stories of actors who got seriously f%^&ed up by the movies they were in.

1. Leonardo DiCaprio, "The Revenant"

It’s often been joked that was willing to do practically anything in order to win an Oscar. After reading about what he went through for the role that he eventually won it for, one would be inclined to believe it. Shot on location DiCaprio’s character slept in animal carcasses, ate raw animal organs and suffered severe bouts of hypothermia. And so did DiCaprio himself. Enjoy that Oscar, Leo.

2. Malcolm McDowell, "A Clockwork Orange"

In "A Clockwork Orange", McDowell’s Alex was already a pretty twisted guy, leading his gang of droogs on drug fueled rampages across London. While the brainwashing he undergoes in the movie has a serious effect on him, it also didn’t end well for the actor, eiher. McDowell’s eyelids were pried open as part of the scenes, causing temporary blindness and even a scratched cornea.

3. Johnny Depp, "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas"

Even an actor like Depp, who has been known to dive deep into the weird and quirky roles he’s become known for, needed a little extra to get into the head of legendary journalist/guns and drug enthusiast Hunter S. Thompson. So, to really get into character, Depp spent months living in Thompson’s basement… sleeping near barrels of gunpowder. While the movie wasn’t a commercial hit, Depp’s performance was critically praised and he and Thompson were close friends until Hunter’s death in 2005.

4. Natalie Portman, "Black Swan"

Being a ballet dancer is hard work. Just watch a movie like "Billy Elliot" or, you know, "Black Swan" if you don’t believe us. Natalie Portman didn’t have the years and years most dancers put into their craft to git gud at dancin’ So, she did the next best thing - train her ass off for eight hours a day for months. She lost 20 pounds and dislocated a rib (ouch) but in the end, she put forward a performance that won her - you guessed it - an Oscar.

5. Anne Hathaway, "Les Miserables"

Even if you have never seen or - or even if you don’t speak French - you know that any movie with the word “miserable” in the title isn’t going to be a goofy, slapstick comedy. In order to really get into the character of Fatine, Hathaway ate nothing but oatmeal paste for weeks. That plus the long weeks of intense filming led to Hathaway feeling deprived both mentally and physically. Three guesses what she got out of it, though.

6. Linda Blair, "The Exorcist"

If you’ve ever seen this horror classic, you probably wondered to yourself “how in the world did such a young girl play that role without getting screwed up?” To which the answer was, she didn’t, Not get screwed up, we mean. The actress, Linda Blair, recounted numerous times how, as a teenager, she was unable to prepare for and handle the avalanche of questions of faith and discussions of demon possession.

7. Adrien Brody, "The Pianist"

In order to play the role of a man who has lost everything, Brody did just that - lost everything. He dropped a ton of weight, sold his apartment, his car, and his cell phone. He even lost his long-time girlfriend. In return, though, he gained a ton of critical acclaim and an Oscar. The girlfriend thing might explain why he planted that unexpected liplock on Halle Berry after he won.

8. Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight"

Another great actor who put himself through an emotional gauntlet in order to win an Oscar, Ledger - unfortunately - didn’t live to enjoy his win. After accepting the role as The Joker, Ledger locked himself away in a dark hotel room for a month, keeping a twisted journal while trying to get into character. It led to an amazing performance but ended with his death after an overdose of prescription drugs.

9. Chris Hemsworth, "In The Heart of the Sea"

Chris Hemsworth is a big guy. You’ve seen "Thor", right? Anyway, in order to play a scrawny, malnourished sailor in Ron Howard’s sea-faring epic, Hemsworth - and most of the rest of the cast - went on a strict 500-calorie a day diet. In order to stay sane, the cast would compete against each other to see who could lose the most weight. Hemsworth compared it to a “bunch of supermodels.”

10. Christian Bale, "The Machinist"/"Batman Begins"

For this entry, it was actually two films that took a toll on the actor. Christian Bale was no stranger to getting into the head of messed-up characters. But, for his role in "The Machinist", about a troubled insomniac losing a scary amount of weight, Bale dropped so much poundage that friends began to fear for his life. Once filming was complete, Bale was offered the title role in Batman Begins, meaning he had to put on a ton of weight and muscles in a short amount of time. He seems to have pulled it off, though.

11. Cuba Gooding, Jr., "The People vs O.J. Simpson"

This is less a story of an actor who messed up their mind during a film and more of a man who messed up his voice. In the process of playing O.J. Simpson for the critically acclaimed TV series, Gooding damaged his voice to the point where he consulted a throat specialist. The specialist apparently didn’t find anything, but Cuba’s voice doesn’t seem to have returned to normal just yet.

12. Jamie Foxx, "Ray"

In order to play the music legend in the film about his life, Jamie Foxx went above and beyond to accurately portray Ray Charles. He didn’t just work on his voice (Foxx sang all of the songs himself) or lose weight. Foxx would wear prosthetic eyelids to help come across as blind. As Foxx himself put it, “Imagine having your eyes glued shut for 14 hours a day.” No thanks, Jamie. No thanks.

13. Bill Murray, "Where The Buffalo Roam"

Speaking of Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp isn’t the first actor to play the journalist on the big screen. Bill Murray played him in the 1980 comedy, "Where The Buffalo Roam", which was loosely based on a number of Thompson’s published works from the decade before. Murray, also a close friend of Thompson’s until his death, got so into character that it carried over onto the set of Saturday Night Live - causing no amount of complaints from his castmates.

14. Nicolas Cage, "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance"

For this entry, we’re actually looking at how on particular actor mentally scarred everyone else on set. We all know that Nic Cage is a little… different. But, he took that “differentness” to new levels on the set of the "Ghost Rider" sequel. He reportedly came to set covered in face paint and elaborate costumes covered on Egyptian symbols, screaming at his castmates. So… we’re guessing that was a fun set to be on. Certainly didn’t help the movie any.

15. Shia LaBeouf, "Fury"

LaBeouf may not have been exactly, er, “normal” prior to filming the WWII drama with Brad Pitt. But he certainly wasn’t during it, that’s for sure. In order to prepare for the role, LaBeouf did not shower for four months. He also thought it would be helpful to visit an Army base and, as he put it, “watch horses die.”

16. Ashton Kutcher, "Jobs"

The first biopic about the Apple Computers founder may not have been particularly good, but few can doubt lead actor Ashton Kutcher’s commitment to the role. In order to get into character, Kutcher would go on a very strict fruit-only diet, just like Jobs himself did, and wound up going to the hospital because of it. If playing Steve Jobs was a role to die for, Kutcher nearly did exactly that.

17. Shelly Duval, "The Shining"

We’re only four entries in and we already have our second Kubrick film? Not shocked. The unconventional (to say the least) director put the "Popeye" actress through the emotional wringer, even have her redo her scene with Jack Nicholson and a baseball bat a stagger 127 times. We don’t know if this had anything to do with her current poor mental health, but it couldn’t have helped.

18. JoBeth Williams, "Poltergeist"

If you saw the end of "Poltergeist" and thought the skeletons weren’t very realistic, you clearly don’t know much about skeletons. Producer Steven Spielberg decided to use actual human remains in the scene - not for realism but to save money. Actress JoBeth Williams didn’t really care for this and took some of that baggage with her - claiming that someone or something kept making the picture in her home crooked after she traightened them.

19. Mia Farrow, "Rosemary’s Baby"

Despite its satanic subject matter, it wasn’t the movie itself that messed with Mia Farrow’s head. Farrow, a strict vegetarian, was required by director Roman Polanski to consume raw chicken liver for a scene. Assuming it would be one take, Polanski made her do several takes. Eating raw liver is gross enough, but when you abhor meat in the first place. Ick. Also, she was served divorce papers on set by her then-husband Frank Sinatra. In front of the entire crew.

20. The Whole Damn Cast, "The Blair Witch Project"

The original "Blair Witch Project" may seem a little hokey these days, compared to the glut of “found footage” horror films out now. But, you can’t deny the performances of the three leads are convincing as hell. That’s mostly because the directors hardly talked to the cast, instead choosing to mess with them, messing with them while they were sleeping and depriving them of food in order to make them super agitated. Then filming it. Those dicks.

21. Marilyn Burns, "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre"

Tobe Hooper’s horror classic had to have been an unnerving set to be on, what with its twisted subject matter and low budget. But, Burns - who played “final girl” Sally - was especially traumatized during the final dinner scene. Mostly because the actress hadn’t seen Leatherface’s costume for that scene before shooting. Between Burns not being able to see actor Gunnar Hansen’s eyes under the mask and Hansen’s intense acting, Burns genuinely feared for her safety.

22. Gregory Peck, "The Omen"

A lot of films seem cursed, for one reason or another. And, if there’s one film that seems like it was ripe for cursin’, it would have been "The Omen". Consider what star Gregory Peck went through while filming. Two months before filming, Peck’s son Jonathan committed suicide. Not long after that, Peck’s plane was struck by lightning. Between that and the intense scenes he would film, Peck more than likely left the set a little changed.

23. Kyle Richards, "Halloween"

Being a young child actor on a horror movie is a daunting proposition. Sure, you know it’s just a movie, and you have plenty of people there to remind you of that fact. But, don’t tell that to Kyle Richards. The young actress was so afraid that a crazed serial killer monster could be behind her at any moment, that she slept in her mother’s bed until she was 15. Now, that’s scared.

24. Patrick Wilson, "The Conjuring 2"

When you’re neck deep in the story of the film you’re making - especially a creepy film - it doesn’t take much to give anyone on set a case of the heebie-jeebies. In the case of Patrick Wilson and the ghost story movie, "The Conjuring 2", a shaking curtain - shaking with no wind, fan or any other air movement on set - led to not only a priest being brough on set “as a precaution”, but also causing Wilson to think his own house was haunted.

25. Tippi Hedren, "The Birds"

If there are two things nearly everybody can agree on regarding legendary director Alfred Hitchcock, it’s 1.) he’s made some of the greatest films in the history of cinema and 2.) he was an asshole. During the filming of The Birds, the director would constantly hurl verbal abuse - usually sexual in nature - and the actress. He would also hurl actual, live birds at her - and not the mechanical ones she was expecting. Now, that shit is for the birds, right there.


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