Some jobs simply aren’t worth the work they put you through. Even the most ambitious actor needs to know when it’s time to pack it in and give up a role for their own good, but unfortunately, it’s not a vocation famous for attracting the most sensible folk.
As a result, many thespians have taken it upon themselves to immerse their minds and bodies in roles which ask a lot of them, often to their great detriment. Whether it’s barely escaping a physical accident by insisting on doing their own stunts or risking psychological damage by taking on a challenging role, these actors are committed to the craft beyond all reason.
Some of the performances on this list are all-time classics and go to show the lengths to which actors are willing to push themselves in the pursuit of a perfect performance, while a few are tragic turkeys which no one should have lost any sleep over—let alone risked their life.
So, let’s get into the ten roles which truly messed up the actors who took them on, and the after-effects they had on their lives.
10. Michael Fassbender As Bobby Sands - Hunger
When Michael Fassbender took on the role of IRA political prisoner Bobby Sands in British artist Steve McQueen’s feature debut Hunger, the title should have tipped him off to what lay ahead. In order to accurately portray the iconic figure, Fassbender dropped over thirty pounds from his already lean frame, putting himself through tremendous physical strain in order to evoke Sands’ appearance near the end of his months-long hunger strike.
Fassbender relied on an extremely limited 900 calories daily to achieve the massive weight loss, and the work required by the film did nothing to ease his struggle. McQueen shot one seventeen-minute segment of the movie, a conversation between Sands and a priest played by Game of Thrones’ Liam Cunningham, in one punishing unbroken take, an added pressure atop the actor’s intense physical regimen.
The hard work would go on to pay off big, with the film winning one of the Cannes Film Festival’s highest honours and receiving endless acclaim for the Enda Walsh-penned script, propelling both Fassbender and his director to mainstream stardom soon after.