6 Actors Who Used Real Pain And Grossness To Make Movies

Acting is easy.
6 Actors Who Used Real Pain And Grossness To Make Movies

Acting is easy. All you have to do is stand under hot lights for hours while wearing ridiculous clothes and pretending to look at dragons. Occasionally, Samuel L. Jackson yells at you. That's all there is to it. Or, if you want to be really lazy about it, you could do whatever your character is supposed to be doing in a scene, even if it causes you a not-inconsiderable amount of pain and/or discomfort. Like how ...

Robert Pattinson Had A Real Orgasm On Camera For A Dali Biopic

For an entire generation of teenage girls (minus those on Team Jacob), the Twilight saga was a sexy, sexy dream -- shiny Pattinson nakedness, slow-mo Pattinson strip teases, and some heartfelt Pattinson necrophilia. It stopped just short of delivering a full Pattinson money shot.

Not to worry, though. It turns out that in one of Pattinson's earlier efforts, the Salvador Dali biopic Little Ashes, you get to see precisely that. In one, uh, climactic scene, Dali watches his gay friend have sex with a woman and decides to do some manual action of his own.

Robert Pattinson as Salvador Dali
Kaleidoscope Entertainment
Whatever keeps your mustache up.

But as Pattinson confessed in an interview with the imaginatively named German magazine Interview, faking that sort of thing "doesn't work." Otherwise, people would have been faking orgasms during sex for centuries, and where would society be? Instead, Pattinson says he really "pleasured himself in front of the camera." Here's an extremely low-resolution version of the moment in question, set to appropriate music:

It wasn't a fun experience for Robz-P (as his fans call him). The nudity made him feel so awkward that he considered depriving the world of his acting talents forever. We'll leave you to watch the above clip and decide if he wouldn't have been better off trying to mentally play a difficult guitar solo instead. That's how we fake it.

The Cast Of Alien Constantly Passed Out From Being Stuck In Sealed Spacesuits With No Air

Ridley Scott's Alien was made in 1979 for a budget of $11 million, and it's still one of the greatest-looking sci-fi movies ever. How did Scott achieve that? Through hard work, creativity, and nearly asphyxiating his cast.

You know those cool spacesuits the characters wear while exploring the alien planet? They were spectacularly unsafe. There was no way to get air in or out, so they were basically fashionable portable coffins.

Alien spacesuits
20th Century Fox
"Kraft service chili for lunch was a baaaaad idea."

Once you exhausted the little bit of air inside the suit, well, that was that. The carbon dioxide you had exhaled would start poisoning you. That meant the actors were "passing out like flies" on the set, although it's unclear whether that was purely due to the carbon dioxide or their own overpowering body odor. See, the suits were also lined with nylon (which makes you sweat like crazy), and they were filming in the middle of a heat wave. John Hurt had it the worst. He would sweat heavily and his visor would get so fogged up that he couldn't see. The nurse they kept on standby had to hook him up to an oxygen tank at the end of one long, exhausting shot. Being the first to die in the movie was probably kind of a relief.

Schwarzenegger Actually Bit Into A Dead Vulture For Conan

In 1982's Conan The Barbarian, there's a scene wherein Conan is chained to a tree while vultures circle around in anticipation of a fresh corpse. This was filmed Hitchcock style -- that is, with real, lice-infested birds. There's a shot in which a vulture gets a little ahead of itself and pecks at Conan's wounds, so Conan responds in kind and bites it to death.

Conan bites a vulture
Universal Pictures

Problem was, they couldn't make a vulture prop that would look convincing in a close-up. The solution? Get a dead vulture, mock God and nature by turning it into a puppet, and have Arnold bite into it for real. Which is ... not something doctors advise you to do. After every shot, medics had to rush in and give him medicine to gargle right away, and he had to wash his skin with an antibiotic later on. So if you come across any vulture corpses, please fight your every natural instinct and refrain from chowing down.

Mark Wahlberg Was Shocked With Electricity For An Interrogation Scene In Three Kings

Three Kings is a '90s Gulf War movie about three U.S. soldiers who decide to steal some gold bullion, leading to hijinks galore. It was a troublesome shoot, even by the ( insane) standards of David O. Russell movies. In one of the more memorable scenes, a soldier played by Mark Wahlberg is captured and questioned by an Iraqi interrogator who poses the age-old question "What's the problem with Michael Jackson?" Almost 20 years later, humanity is no closer to knowing.

Then it gets less fun. Wahlberg's captor forces oil down his throat, then shocks him with high-voltage electricity. Wahlberg's agony is so convincing that it made America finally accept that switching to acting was a good career move and not the disaster we had hitherto predicted. Thing is, he wasn't acting. He was reacting. To electricity.

Mark Wahlberg shocked by electricity
Warner Bros. Pictures
If you start to feel pity, remember Daddy's Home.

In Wahlberg's own words: "We were doing the electrocution and it just felt a little bit fake." So they hooked him up to the "safest thing" they could find (a chiropractic machine) and placed electrodes along his back underneath his clothing. Then they switched it on. Wahlberg was shocked in more than one sense, as he found out that, holy crap, electricity hurts. "We thought we might as well try it ... I just didn't know it would give me that much of a shock."

Of course, there are multiple reasons to want to see Wahlberg electrocuted, but we never expected it to be his idea.

Cary Elwes Got Knocked The Hell Out Making The Princess Bride

For our younger readers, The Princess Bride is a surprisingly great romantic fantasy movie starring a guy from Saw, the lady from House Of Cards, and ... sorry, there's no adequate way to explain Andre the Giant. In a 2014 interview with Sundance TV, Elwes revealed that making the film wasn't nearly as fun as the film itself. In the scene where Elwes' character, Westley, is captured by the bad guys, the villainous Count Rugen knocks him unconscious with the butt of a sword. However, as Elwes explains, they "didn't have any kind of rubber sword" on set. So Elwes told Christopher Guest (Rugen) to swing away. "It'll be fine," Elwes assured his colleague. "Just tap me lightly."

It was not.

Westley knocked out
20th Century Fox
"You said 'mightily,' right, Cary? Cary?"

And yes, it all made it into the final movie. That scene is Elwes truly being knocked the hell out with a real sword. According to Elwes, he "woke up in the hospital with stitches being sewn into forehead." Could've been worse, though. If Andre the Giant had done it, we'd still be looking for Elwes' beautiful, beautiful head.

The Opening Scene Of Apocalypse Now Is Martin Sheen Having A Real Drunken Breakdown

Apocalypse Now opens with the main character in his lowest moment. Future president Martin Sheen drunkenly stumbles around his hotel room in his underpants, punching a mirror and smearing blood all over himself before collapsing into a sobbing heap.

When the scene was shot, Sheen was 1) having a birthday, and 2) an alcoholic. He'd already been drinking heavily all day by the time they started filming, and didn't mind pretty much self-destructing on camera. "I felt I wanted to wrestle this demon," he said.

Martin Sheen drinking in Apocalypse Now
United Artists
Martin Sheen dancing in Apocalypse Now
United Artists
Martin Sheen bleeding in Apocalypse Now
United Artists
And then he literally wrestled an invisible demon.

Director Francis Ford Coppola says he realized (in a dream, what else?) that the way to get the performance he needed out of Sheen was to tap into his vanity. So he told Sheen to look at himself in the mirror and admire his own handsome features ... to which Sheen responded by putting his fist through the glass. Coppola tried to get him to stop, but Sheen turned him away and said, "No, stay away. I want this for me." Apparently, Coppola shrugged and figured that if he couldn't help his friend, he might as well film his breakdown and not waste an afternoon.

Sheen refused to watch the resulting material. In fact, the first time he watched the footage of himself immortalized as a stumbling, incoherent drunk was in a NYC theater with hundreds of strangers. So the next time you have a little too much to drink and wake up to find that you've posted a series of regrettable selfies on Facebook, remember Martin Sheen.

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For more check out 5 Amazing Performances From Actors Who Weren't Acting and 5 Famous Movies That Used Horrifying Substances for Effects.

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