Some actors are slaves to their art. They'll sacrifice their bodies, their relationships, and their sanity just to make their performances more convincing and result in a more memorable film, like when John Cusack lost a bunch of weight to deliver a more accurate portrayal of Edgar Allan Poe in The Raven, a movie about Edgar Allan Poe solving mysteries, which is a thing Edgar Allan Poe never did.
But this single-minded pursuit of the perfect performance can easily result in things getting way out of hand, like the time ...
7 Nicolas Cage Dressed Up Like A Ghost Wizard To Get Into Character
Nicolas Cage is a man who needs absolutely no introduction; he's reaching that Mike Tyson level of dubious fame wherein no story you hear about him is too unbelievable to be true. To wit -- on the set of Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance, Cage wanted to make sure he channeled the titular flaming-skull-headed spirit juuuust right. So, knowing that his head was going to be replaced with CGI and not wanting that to undermine the intensity of his performance, he coated his face in corpse paint and blanketed himself in a costume covered in Egyptian symbols and magical amulets while screaming wordless fury into the mouths of his castmates.
"I'm just a huge Outkast fan."
It's an acting technique called Nouveau Shamanic, and it's based on ancient African performers who would undergo extreme preparation for their craft, including literally running themselves through fire. For those wondering why you've never heard of this ancient technique before now: It's because it was 100 percent invented by Nicolas Cage.
Not a scene from the film.
While speaking about his historical-yet-utterly-make-believe acting method, Cage sagely pointed out that, "Today you're called psychotic if you do that [dress up like a fucking psychopath and behave in a psychotic manner], but it's all semantics." He also admitted that his co-workers seemed afraid of him, but that their fear only made his performance stronger. Which we suppose is probably true, because if there's one thing we've learned about Nicolas Cage, it's that his performances thrive on the terrified confusion of everyone around him.
6 Johnny Depp Lived In Hunter S. Thompson's Basement And Replicated Every Aspect Of His Behavior
Johnny Depp is generally not known as a method actor, as his recent performances have typically consisted of silly voices and confusing makeup. That said, Depp spent years painstakingly creating his rendition of Hunter S. Thompson for Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas. Depp took to living in Thompson's basement, digging through his manuscripts, interrogating him about his life, and recording those conversations, presumably for personal reference and a sense that the recordings would later be subpoenaed as evidence.
Also, not a scene from the film.
Depp slept and smoked next to barrels of gunpowder that Thompson kept in his house for some unspecified reason (furthermore, Thompson didn't actually tell Depp about the gunpowder until well after Depp should've accidentally blown up the house with an errant cigarette ash). They woke up every day at 9 p.m. and went to bed at 5 in the afternoon. Depp even let Thompson shave his head, after Thompson decided that the haircut the film's costume department had given him wasn't authentic enough.
After living in Thompson's basement for an undisclosed amount of time, Depp took Thompson's red convertible and drove to Las Vegas to meet with director Terry Gilliam, wearing Thompson's clothes that hadn't been washed in 30 years. And he may or may not have done a bunch of drugs. Depp doesn't actually admit to consuming all of the insanity that his portrayal of Thompson does in the film, but he claims to have been true to the character while remaining "very responsible."
"Don't worry; it's not real acid ... it's liquid peyote."