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Post by Admin on Mon Jun 28, 2010 3:34 pm

Taking Your Job/Craft Br00tally Serious

* June 28th, 2010
* Posted in Random Thoughts . Who Gives A f&#!?
* By Quigs

I’ve spent the last few days wondering how to follow up my review for the excellent film Pan’s Labyrinth. For the people that have spoken to me since then they have discovered that my music taste is a bit “all over the place” and relatively diverse. I’m always open to new music of any genre.

It is worth mentioning that I am one of those weirdos who knows next to nothing in terms of the technicality of music and listens purely for the fact that I love it. I know in these metal blogging parts, that is quite an alien concept, but bear with me here and I’m sure we’ll find a way to coexist. Now don’t get me wrong; I live and breathe music, always listening to something, I just couldn’t tell you about the wild time signatures or poly-rhythmic shenanigans happening within the song.

I was rewatching Metalocalypse the other day and found myself laughing at the notion of Dethklok, to be as kvlt as possible, going to record their album in a nuclear submarine in the Mariana Trench. It reminded me of how some bands try and go too far to try and out out ‘tr00′ each other. This made me laugh, and made me think about actors who do the same. In order to win awards and recognition, they try and be as hardcore and ‘authentic’ as possible. This post is about them.

It is a given that in almost every area, there will always be someone who takes it too far, Someone who will always try and be more br00tal, more tr00, more kvlt than others. This stands for actor’s as well as bands.

It may or may not be apparent to the good people of this blog, but I am a film Nazi. Whereas the community of these blogs argue about riffs and polyrhythms; I argue about Cinematography and mise-en-scene, et al. This article was inspired by me reading a film news article about the possible casting choices for the sequel to the incredibly average Sherlock Holmes movie starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law, who coincidentally were the only above average things in that film. Anyway, the producers are trying to cast Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’ infamous nemesis. The name that most stood out on the list to me was that of Daniel Day-Lewis.

For those of you who don’t know, Daniel Day-Lewis is an English actor who is what should be known as a “hardcore method actor”. He doesn’t appear in very many films because of the grueling process he puts himself through in order to do a film, so the likelihood of him doing this film is very slim. Basically, it got me thinking about some of the more famous method acting cases and wondering about how Day-Lewis would prepare for this role if he were to take it on.

Method Acting, or ‘The Method’ as actors call it (kind of foreboding isn’t it?). The actual meaning of ‘The Method’ is very complex and their are plenty of different theorists and books written arguing different meanings for it. So instead of getting into all that complex stuff, I’ll just simplify it to the point where everyone agrees.

Basically, Method Acting is when the actor in question (did you know it is sexist to say the word actress now?) completely devotes themselves to the role they are playing, usually taking on some sort of drastic action or choosing to embody the character they are playing even off camera. This idealistically allows the actor to portray their character with the utmost precision and realism. Still, some of the tasks these actors undertake are just plain hardcore.

Here are some examples:

Val Kilmer in Heat: Val Kilmer trained so extensively at a military base that during the shootout sequence he empties the clip of his M-16, reloads in roughly 2 seconds and resumes firing. At the military base to this day they show footage of that scene and say, “If you can’t reload like this man, you aren’t fit to be in the army!”

Robin Williams in Patch Adams: Robin Williams spent months visiting hospitals dressed as a clown trying to cheer up terminally ill patients.

Choi Min-sik in Oldboy: Oldboy is an awesome Korean film, another of my favourites, and Choi Min-sik certainly made some sacrifices. There is a scene where his character, who is in a makeshift prison, uses a hot wire to burn tally marks into his arm to count off the years he had been there. It could have easily been accomplished with a few effects and a bit of makeup but Choi Min-sik went for authenticity because he actually burned the marks into his skin. He also ate multiple live Octopi for a scene, which doesn’t sound too bad, except it was completely against his religion, so he had to beg and pray for forgiveness between every take.

Jim Carrey in Man On The Moon: In this film Jim Carrey plays eccentric madman Andy Kaufman. From the moment he was accepted into the role, he took on the persona of Andy Kaufman, and even refused to admit that he wasn’t Andy Kaufman. This basically meant he was an annoying dick to everyone and alienated his coworkers and his girlfriend. His girlfriend captured about 150 hours of footage OFF SET of him being a complete Kaufman-esque asshole.

Angelina Jolie in Gia: Stayed isolated for months and heavily restricted her diet to play a model dying of AIDS.

Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight: Locked himself away for a few months in a dark apartment, completely immersed in the graphic novels and lore of Batman. He changed his voice, developed the Joker’s personality and completely assumed the role. Even off camera he still freaked people out during shooting by skateboarding around in full Joker gear, still speaking like that. Heath got so far into the character that he began to suffer from insomnia. Coupled with all of his other problems, it is believed that his dedication to the role of The Joker is one of the main contributing factors in his accidental suicide.

Will Smith in Ali: In preparation for the Mohammed Ali biopic, Will Smith underwent months of training to the point when he could have easily become a professional. He attended Synagogue for months and immersed himself in the Islamic faith, to attain a better understanding of his state of mind.

Michael Fassbender in Hunger: For his breakout role playing Bobby Sands, the IRA convict who died from his self imposed hunger strike, he was 11 stone when he got the role and he put himself on a diet of berries and nuts for two months. He also worked out a lot, in order to try and retain his muscles, even though he was skeletal. A doctor said he was very ill.

Christian Bale:

The Machinist/Batman Begins: One of the more infamous cases of actors starving themselves. He lost 63lbs to play Trevor Reznik, a man suffering from insomnia; he also spent months studying insomnia and tried to sleep as little as possible. He only ate an apple and a tin of tuna a day. Br00tal. More impressive still is once The Machinist shoot was completed he had 6 WEEKS to prepare for the role of Batman. He put on 100lbs, converted most of it to muscle and recovered completely in that short time, though, he did have to “see a doctor to get some things sorted out.” Whatever that means….

American Psycho: As soon as Bale was confirmed for the role he immediately began to visit the gym every day for hours to perfect his physique, even straight after shooting scenes he would be working out. He earned the nickname “robo actor” from the cast and crew. He also refused to talk to any of them to maintain the persona and attitude of the character.

Adrien Brody:

The Jacket: Brody spent hours in a sensory deprivation chamber and asked to be locked in the mortuary drawer on set with his straight-jacket on, even when they weren’t shooting. When he wasn’t in the drawer he tried to take off the straight-jacket as little as possible.

The Pianist: Brody sold his car, his phone, and his computer, as well as a lot of his other belongings, and locked himself in a room with a piano until he could play all of Chopin.

Oxygen: He asserted that instead of wearing fakes, actual braces were fastened to his teeth, despite the fact that they had to be RIPPED off at the end of shooting.

Robert De Niro:

Cape Fear: Robert De Niro paid a dentist $20,000 to f&#! up his teeth. I’ll let that sink in a moment. 20 f#%@#&! grand! Shame he didn’t have a time machine, because I’m pretty sure anyone who has seen any of his films in the last decade would gladly do it for free.

Taxi Driver: Took on the night shift of a taxi driver in New York for a few months and encountered a lot of the grit that is present within the film.

Raging Bull: Trained for months, to the point where he was considered to be one of top 10 middleweight boxers in the world. He also put on an extra 60lbs of weight during the tail end of shooting so he could play the aged, washed up Jake La Motta.

Forrest Whitaker:

Ghost Dog: He intensely studied philosophy and meditated at almost every oppurtunity.

Bird: To play Charlie Barker, the famous jazz musician, Whitaker locked himself in a rented apartment with only a sofa, a bed and a saxophone, where he stayed until he learned how to a play to an impeccable standard.

The Last King Of Scotland: To play the Ugandan dictator, Idi Amin, Whitaker did a number of things. He put on 50lbs. He studied all of Amin’s recorded speeches closely to learn his lexicon and way of speaking. He went to meet and live with Amin’s family and visited colleagues and victims in Uganda. He also learnt fluent Swahili and how to play the accordion.

Of course, the most hardcore bastard out of all of these contemporary actors is the aforementioned Daniel Day-Lewis. He is absolutely f#%@#&! mental, no doubt about it. He’s also f#%@#&! awesome and a tr00 example of someone who takes his craft br00tally serious. If you haven’t heard about him, prepare to be impressed:

The Boxer: He trained for 18 months with world champion Barry McGuigan, who later said that Day-Lewis could have effortlessly become professional afterwards.

The Crucible: He got all of the tattoos for real.

Gangs Of New York: To play Bill The Butcher, Daniel Day Lewis took up a butcher apprenticeship and would sharpen his knives between filming. Day-Lewis also refused to wear thick coats when not filming to combat the intense cold. This caused him to get pneaumonia. His reason? They DIDN’T have fur coats at the turn of the century.

My Left Foot: In this film he plays a paralytic named Christie Brown. He consistently refused to leave the wheelchair, even when not filming, so he could appreciate the condition. He often made his friends and co workers feed and take care of him. He spent so long constantly hunched over in a wheelchair that he broke two of his ribs, just because of his posture.

The Last Of The Mohicans: For this film Day-Lewis moved out into the wilderness with no provisions or clothes and hunted for his food and lived on the bare essentials. He did this so he could try and understand what it was like back then being an American native. The man is so br00tal he made the wilderness his bitch.

In The Name Of The Father: To prepare for his role as a prisoner, Day-Lewis spent months living in solitary in an abandoned prison on the bare essentials.

These are, of course, only the most famous of the method acting exploits of certain tr00er actors. As for Daniel Day-Lewis, what’s his next move? And what oddball and hardcore task is he going to put himself through to play Moriarty if he chooses to take on the role?

Regarding his exploits, in the immortal words of Pickles:

“That is the most metal thing I have ever heard.”

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Post by Admin on Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:17 pm

View Chris's Profile The Weight of the World

Chris - wrote on 08/07/10 at 09:23 AM CT

I saw it in the news this morning - stars losing weight - John Goodman, Drew Carey, Jennifer Hudson - all have significantly improved their lease on life by dropping up to 100 pounds. Director Peter Jackson has likewise slimmed down a lot since his Lord of the Ring days. I admit, even I've tried to change my habits just a bit to lose a little weight.

So in honor of all those trying to shed pounds, I present my list of the most dramatic weight loss for film role:

1) 50 Cent in Things Fall Apart - Otherwise known as Curtis Jackson, the rapper-turned-actor underwent a severe reduction in weight for the film in which he plays a character with cancer. You can probably find plenty of pictures online. He's since returned to a more normal look, but for awhile there he was rocking the emaciated look so popular with models in the late 90s.

2) Christian Bale in The Machinist - Dropping 63 pounds for an actor who is pretty healthy sounds dangerous, but Bale had no qualms in order to get the role for the film. Luckily Batman was soon in fighting shape again, but seeing him in the film I get a mix of dedication and insanity.

3) Michael Fassbender in Hunger - I guess in a story portraying the hunger strike in prison by the IRA, you're going to have to play it right. Fassbender went on a medically monitored crash diet to give authenticity to the portrayal of the leader of the strike, Bobby Sands. Sands (along with nine other men) succumbed to starvation before the strike ended. Fassbender made sure his dedication to the role gave the part all the more impact.

4) Tom Hanks in Castaway (and Philadelphia) - Hanks lost more weight for Castaway (55) than Philadelphia (26) but the latter was a much more dramatic presentation of a man with AIDS, whereas Castaway was a one-man show about survival - and talking to a volleyball. Still, you have to admire a guy who not once, but twice, took on the task of losing weight to play a role.

5) Colin Farrell in Triage - Shedding 44 pounds the actor went a little more skeletal to portray a war photographer in Bosnia. Maybe not as well known as the other films, but still art is what you make of it and Farrell shocked plenty of people with his gaunt look, but it was worth it to him for the role.

There you are, the list of actors who made an impact by getting thinner (Thinner, consequently, doesn't show up on this list because Robert John Burke used FX to become skinny, not crash dieting). You can say its indulgent, unnecessary or just for publicity - but it takes a lot of effort to shed those pounds. If I'm feeling more indulgent myself, maybe I'll tackle actors who gained a lot of weight some other time.

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