Docu Series: Why Acting Is Be An Insanely Dangerous Job
Risking Your Life
Sprained ankles and cracked ribs are one thing, but it seems like acting is a deadlier profession than most realize – or, at least, it can be. It’s hard to believe that even action star Jason Statham could have kept his cool when filming Expendables 3, driving a truck with fault brakes off a pier, crashing into the water and sinking instantly. He could have drowned, but at least it would have been quick, which is more than you can say for some other A-list actors who have come close to death.
Statham’s Expendables co-star Sylvester Stallone learned that fiction and fact can blur together when filming fight scenes with Dolph Lundgren for Rocky 4. Asking the actor not to hold back, Lundgren delivered a shot straight to Stallone’s chest. He knew something was wrong immediately, and rushed to the hospital to learn his heart had started to swell from the blow. It could have proven fatal, but weeks of bed rest kept the slugger in the fight. So much for movie magic.
Still, it’s probably George Clooney who puts the idea that acting is easy to bed. While other leading men risk their lives in stunts, like Tom Cruise dangling from the real Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Mission Impossible, Clooney had his brush with death after filming the 2005 drama Syriana. After seriously injuring his back during an interrogation scene, weeks of headaches followed – including a serious panic when spinal fluid began leaking from his nose. Clooney has admitted that in the weeks spent in a hospital bed unable to move, and crippled by headaches, he seriously considered taking his own life. So playing pretend isn’t always fun and games.
Risking Your Sanity
Putting your body on the line for a role is one thing, or even refusing to break out of a character since getting into the mindspace of the role is seriously taxing. But what happens when an actor or actress starts to literally lose themselves in the role they’re playing?
Adrien Brody knew that his role in The Pianist could be a break out one – and committed to walking in the footsteps of a Holocaust survivor the best way he could. Leaving behind, his belongings, his home, and even his girlfriend, and headed to Europe with a bag and a keyboard. It’s hard to say if it was his acting chops, or this method research that won him his Oscar, but for his sake, we hope it was all totally necessary.
Shia LaBeouf became more famous than most young actors for his weird commitment to a role, and the World War 2-era Fury showcased the fact that he really is one of a kind. When the makeup team’s work at applying a cut to his cheek didn’t seem real enough, his co-stars say, he simply grabbed a knife, and cut his cheek open – making sure to re-open the cut throughout the shoot, and giving himself a scar for life. To go with the tooth he had pulled as evidence of his time in the war (which is never mentioned, and hardly ever seen on screen). At that point, the fact that he decided not to bathe for over a month was probably the least of his co-stars’ concerns.
And as proof that the most psychotic, unbalanced villains can’t help but bring something weird to the lives of those playing them, both Jared Leto and the late Heath Ledger seemed to truly lose themselves in the role of The Joker, Batman’s nemesis. For Ledger, it meant secluding himself in a London hotel room for over a month, exploring the insanity of the character, finding his voice and laughter. The reports of his drug use and mental conditions are almost impossible to decipher by now, but the fact that such a dark, twisted role was his last will always be the fact of the matter.
Maybe it’s lucky, then, that Leto has some co-workers to let his crazy loose on, in the form of bullets, live rats, dead pigs, and apparently even used condoms to his Suicide Squad castmates. You can’t say that he isn’t embracing the role of the Joker wholeheartedly, but even if he walks away unscathed, it looks like this is one time where it’s actually more dangerous to be working with him, not as him. Seriously, what are the odds of someone delivering a dead pig full of bullets to your office? We rest our case.