Actors aren’t just random people reading lines from the movie script, they’re also giving life to their characters, putting their very souls into them. Sometimes those characters are so screwed in the head, that it actually messes with the actors’ health, both physical and mental. That’s what you get for taking things too far!
Either way, these are just some of the actors, who have changed drastically, and not for the better, after playing extremely tolling roles. Remember to take it easy, people!
9. Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
How would you feel if someone told you to shave all your hair off and lose 50 lbs? You’d be just as devastated as Anne Hathaway when she was preparing for her role in Les Miserables. Apparently, her diet was so extreme, she was losing touch of reality, and of course, all that impacted her psychologically.
8. Keanu Reeves, The Matrix
It appears that during the filming of the Matrix, some higher forces really wanted to hurt Keanu really badly. It began when his girlfriend, Jennifer Syme, gave birth to a stillborn baby. Needless to say, such news can easily break anyone, and they broke up soon after that. Not long after that, Syme died in a car accident. Few weeks later 22-year-old Aaliyah (who played Zee in the movie) died in a plane crash, which postponed the movie by a few months. Not long after that, Gloria Foster, who played the role of The Oracle, had also passed. Meanwhile Keanu himself landed in the hospital after a motorbike accident, then went right back in with a foot injury. The movie’s budget was almost gone, and Keanu agreed to sign away $24 million of his own pay check to keep the entire production going. Thank the Architect, the movie did extremely well at the box office. At least now you know how the “sad Keanu” photo came to be.
7. Linda Blair, The Exorcist
Linda Blair’s performance in the Exorcist can be only described as uncanny, but there was a price to be paid. She was only 13 at the time, and to her this was just acting, fun, and games. The bad stuff started popping up after The Exorcist‘s release in 1973. For some reason people took her performance too seriously, and started bombarding her with questions about possession, faith, and Catholicism, that she simply wasn’t prepared to answer. It’s just a movie, for god’s sake!
6. Johnny Depp, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
To prepare for his role of the legendary Hunter S. Thompson, Depp basically moved into Thompson’s basement, to study his mannerisms and lifestyle. And you know how that little study turned out, because you’ve seen his performance in the movie. But the on-screen craziness was only the beginning. People on the set actually thought Depp and Benicio Del Toro were tripping on acid! Even to this day Depp sometimes goes into his inner “Thompson”, which, combined with alcoholism, ruined his marriage with Amber Heard.
5. Jennifer Carpenter, The Exorcism of Emily Rose
Imagine you’re a part of a movie about possession, exorcism, and all that good stuff. Now imagine going home and your car radio suddenly goes on and off. That’s just one of the weird, spooky things that happened to Jennifer Carpenter during filming The Exorcism of Emily Rose. “Two or three times when I was going to sleep my radio came on by itself,” she said. “The only time it scared me was once because it was really loud, and it was Pearl Jam’s ‘Alive’”. Strangely, she wasn’t the only one. Her co-star Laura Linney’s TV kept turning itself on at night. Whatever it was it gave them a hell of a scare, but at least the clock didn’t read 3:00 AM when all that happened, like in the movie.
4. Shelley Duvall, The Shining
Do you consider The Shining to be one of best horror films of all time? If you do, then you should know that Shelley Duvall, who played Wendy Torrance, was slowly but surely going crazy during the filming. Turns out she wasn’t faking her cries in the famous baseball bat scene, which was an earful, and that was due to the a-hole director Stanley Kubrick, who had her redo the traumatizing scene more than a hundred times. Even I’d go crazy after such a life-changing experience.
3. Janet Leigh, Psycho
Remember that one scene from Hitchcock’s Psycho that everyone and their dog have seen at least once? Yeah, that’s right? The shower scene. Wanna know how messed up it was? It turns out Alfred Hitchcock had Janet Leigh, aka the naked victim in the shower, redo that scene time after time, but each take was different, as the timing was always improvised, to get the surprise attack. This unsurprisingly lead to Leigh developing a phobia of showers that lasted for years even after the end of filming. She reportedly only took baths since then, and always kept the curtain open, while facing the door at all times.
2. Hugh Laurie, House
Did you know that originally the role of Gregory House was supposed to be played by a “quintessentially American actor”? Well, Hugh Laurie is as British as one can get, but his American accent was so on point, nobody even noticed it was fake. Throughout the show Laurie had to be walking with a limp to portray the cane-using House, and he got used to that so much, he started limping off-camera, up until 2015, which is 8 years after the show’s finale!
1. Tippi Hedren, The Birds
You know what they say about directors: in order to reach the legendary status, you gotta either be a genius or a madman. Looking a Hitchcock’s legacy, I’m fairly certain he was both. He did take filming a little bit too far sometimes. One other example, aside from Janet Leigh, is his acclaimed film The Birds, which BTW, gave me nightmares for years. In the final scene, when Tippi Hedren is attacked by the birds, she isn’t playing around, and those aren’t fake props. Hitchcock and his production crew actually threw real birds at the actress, in order for the scene to be as horrifying as possible. Needless to say this affected her mental state quite heavily.