1. Jim Carrey with Andy Kaufman
Netflix’s best movie tells how Jim Carrey was scarred for life by his role as Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon by Milos Forman. As soon as he got the role, Carrey lost his footing, starting to communicate with Andy Kaufman telepathically and above all completely abandoning Jim Carrey throughout the filming. Carrey was just Andy Kaufman, on camera or off: he went so far as to actually provoke the wrestling actor he was supposed to fight on screen and ended up in the hospital. And at the end of filming, Carrey had the greatest difficulty in becoming himself again and sank into an absolute depression which led him to seduce Gondry when he was looking for his actor for Eternal Sunshine.
2. Heath Ledger with the Joker in The Dark Knight
Already, to begin with, Heath Ledger locked himself in a hotel room for a month to find the right tone and the right attitudes to play the Joker. In general, it’s not the kind of choice that leads to a healthy and happy life. And, before the film even came out, he ended up dying of an overdose, our little Heath. A very very sad story.
3. Joaquin Phoenix and I’m Still Here
In 2008, Joaquin Phoenix announced that he was quitting acting to become a hip hop singer. For two years, he strings together ridiculous performances, lets his beard grow, looks at the bottom of the hole. In reality, he’s leading everyone on the boat as part of a Casey Affleck-directed documentary shoot; but the role of absolute loser suits him well and Phoenix has made his life stick to this character so much that he can’t get out of it. The film flopped when it was released and Joaquin Phoenix had the greatest difficulty moving forward and went completely away from the cinema for a while. Before becoming the kind of untouchable actor that we know.
4. Jared Leto and the Joker, in turn
No doubt a little intimidated by the tutelary figures who had preceded him (one does not confront Nicholson and Heath Ledger without breaking eggs), Jared Leto decided to go there frankly to prepare to take over the role of the Joker. At first he refused to leave his role between takes – classic among obsessive actors. But he pushed the cork further (too) far, making very bizarre gifts to the other actors of the film: he thus sent a crate of 9mm bullets to Will Smith or a live rat to Margot Robbie. He also posted a video where he posed as the Joker next to a dead pig. In short, at the end of all that and given the final quality of the film, it was good for shrink sessions.
5. Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now
A little forced by Coppola, Martin Sheen spent a week locked up in a hotel room doing nothing but booze to best prepare the opening scene ofApocalypse Now. He also shattered his hand by breaking a mirror and refused to seek treatment. No need to dwell on the dozens of well-known anecdotes about the film, but you should still know that by dint of booze, drugs and appalling filming conditions, Sheen ended up having a heart attack not even 40 years old, delaying the shooting for 5 weeks, no more: he refused to stay in bed so as not to screw up the production. Martin Sheen took over a year to recover from the film.
6. Johnny Depp for Paranoid Las Vegas
To embody Hunter S. Thompson in his trip on acid in Las Vegas, Johnny Depp decided to leave aside the bizarre facial expressions and do some background work. So he moved into the basement where the author lived and literally got into his pumps, spending his time chatting with him, reading his manuscripts and taking the same shit as him. With Thompson, they got up at 9 o’clock in the evening and went to bed at 5 o’clock in the afternoon and never left each other for a second. Then Johnny Depp struggled to get back to normal life: when he flew to meet Gilliam in Las Vegas, he was wearing Thompson’s clothes (which hadn’t been washed in 30 years) and seemed considerably drugged, even though he fiercely defended himself from actually using. Anyway, we can say that the film marked a turning point in his career.
7. Val Kilmer for Jim Morrison
To portray the lead singer of The Doors in Oliver Stone’s eponymous film, Val Kilmer did the typical studio actor thing: stay in the role the whole time, insisting that Oliver Stone call him Jim on set. and behaving like a complete jerk with the rest of the team, to the point that all the technicians simply stopped calculating it. In reality, Kilmer became completely obsessive: he asked absurd questions to the singer’s relatives, like “how would he have behaved with a waiter? or “did he spend a lot of time in the bathroom”. Obviously, he had the greatest difficulty to recover after all that.
8. Isabelle Adjani in Possession
In Andrzej Zulawski’s film, Isabelle Adjani has a particularly violent scene during which she vomits in the metro. But this is only the tip of the iceberg of an ultra-testing shoot during which the actress was constantly pushed without her emotional and physical entrenchments. This role of Anna simply destroyed her for a long time, so much so that she then had to undergo therapy for years to get the character out of her head.
9. Bob Hoskins went crazy because of Roger Rabbit
The problem, when you are one of the first actors on earth to play with cartoon characters, is that you expose yourself to an experience that is not totally normal. Bob Hoskins thus had strange hallucinations for a long time after the filming of Roger Rabbit: held, during takes, to imagine that he was really talking to cartoon characters, he began to see them for real, spending his time talking to himself convinced that they were there, close to him, and was forced to take his foot off the acting profession for months.