7 Actors Who Risked Their Health for Movie Roles

Often, acting isn’t as easy as we think. When filming a role, most well-known and successful actors don’t just show up on the first day of set ready to read their lines. In fact, many actors know that in order to do a good job, they truly have to get into character. Some Hollywood stars have taken their method acting to the extreme, giving up their belongings, picking up extra jobs, and undergoing extreme weight changes to prepare for upcoming roles. Here are seven actors and the craziest things they’ve done to get into character.

1. Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro

Robert De Niro | Francois Durand/Getty Images

When De Niro first started acting, he managed to wow Martin Scorsese, landing him major roles in movies such as Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, and Goodfellas. So, what’d he do? Cracked writes that for Taxi Driver, De Niro got a hack cab license and drove people around New York, which was slightly puzzling considering the movie didn’t actually have a lot to do with cabs.

For Raging Bull, De Niro played professional boxer Jake LaMotta. In order to ensure the scenes were accurate, he trained almost every day, sometimes even with LaMotta. He got so into character that one day during training De Niro broke LaMotta’s ribs and teeth. The plus side? De Niro was in the best shape of his life.

However, that didn’t last long. After production shot the boxing scenes, they halted production for four months, so De Niro could then get into character portraying an older, larger version of himself. Basically, it required him to eat constantly, gorging on meats, pasta, and fatty foods in order to pack on more than 60 pounds, per Cracked.