8 Method Actors Who Nearly Died Making Famous Movies

6. Al Pacino Collapses For Being Too Intense In Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon
Warner Bros.

Al Pacino initially turned down the role of Sonny in Sidney Lumet’s Dog Day Afternoon. It was only when Dustin Hoffman, then his acting rival, was offered the part after Pacino passed that ol’ Shouty Al jumped back on board, proving even method actors have their Bette Davis moments. And though Dog Day Afternoon has gone down as one of Pacino’s best, made at the height of his powers, it probably didn’t feel like a wise decision at the time.

As production on Dog Day rolled, Pacino – already exhausted from just having shot The Godfather Part II – ate little, slept only a few hours each night and took cold showers in order to bring his portrayal of Sonny to appropriately manic levels. It resulted in one of the actor’s finest performances, but it also led to Pacino collapsing halfway through production, hospitalising him. Wondering where he disappeared to for the two years after that? Theatre. For a break.