Yes, they’re the ones whose faces you always recall as in character of the movie you love to watch again and again. Hollywood’s best method-actors are masters of slipping into the skin of the role they’re playing, and making it their own. Their powerful performances always leave a mark, and that’s because they take their art to another level altogether.
Adrian Brody, the only actor under the age of 30 to win an Oscar, withdrew from society, living the life of a recluse in preparation for his role in The Pianist. He lost 30 pounds to perfect that emaciated look the character required.
Playing Batman was a physically demanding role for any actor, but for Christian Bale, not very high on the scale of morphs he has undergone. For both The Machinist and The Fighter, the actor lost over 50 pounds. For the last, he spent hours every day listening to recorded tapes of his character to capture the Boston accent and voice quirks.
Johnny Depp figures high on the list of method-actors; churning out critically-acclaimed movies was his forte in the 90’s. He reportedly spends months researching the psyche of tne characters he’s playing. His most recent film Black Mass is testimony to how he can transform himself almost beyond recognition.
As Johnny Cash in Walk The Line, Joaquin Phoenix was Johnny Cash. He painstakingly learnt to sing and play the guitar and insisted everyone on the set call him JR, Cash’s real life nickname. Phoenix is known for his offbeat and challenging roles.
Robert de Niro, actor par excellence, trains for months on end to get into character. For Raging Bull, he worked out to develop the physique of a boxer and moved to Sicily to master the city’s accents and mannerisms.
Often called the best actor of his generation, Leonardo di Caprio picks up demanding roles that no one else could pull off like him. He changes accents, looks and personas at the drop of a hat. It’s said he likes to remain in character the whole time he’s on a set, immersing himself totally into the ‘other’ he’s playing. Even in a supporting role in Django Unchained, di Caprio managed to steal the limelight.