10 Actors Who Made Insane Sacrifices For Movies (And Why)

10. Nicolas Cage Had Four Teeth Removed Without Anaesthetic...To Better Empathise With A Vietnam Vet - Birdy

Nicolas Cage Birdy
TriStar Pictures

The Sacrifice

Nicolas Cage is notorious for his, er, eccentric preparations for even the most seemingly throwaway of movie roles.

But back in 1984, while gearing up to play Vietnam War vet Al Columbato in Alan Parker's acclaimed drama Birdy, Cage made the drastic decision to not only lose 15 pounds and have his face wrapped in bandages for five weeks, but also get four of his baby teeth pulled out.

And because that's not enough, he also insisted on having the op performed without any anaesthetic whatsoever.

Why They Did It

Now in fairness, Cage was actually planning to have the teeth removed anyway as a purely routine operation, but the decision to forego anaesthetic was so that he could more convincingly share the ongoing anguish that a Vietnam vet would be living through every day.

Cage said of the experience, "I wanted to look like I was hit by a bomb. It gave me a feeling of something I had lost. I felt this was a once-in-a-lifetime part, and it deserved that much."

Though not one of Cage's better-known films, Birdy did release to widespread praise for his performance, and was lauded as one of 1984's 10 best films by the National Board of Review.

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