10 Actors and Actresses Who Did Incredible Preparation Work Resulting in Outstanding Performances
High paychecks and the sought-after Oscar are not the only things that movie stars strive for. For many of them, conveying the depth of the characters they play to the audience is much more important. That’s why some actors and actresses go through serious preparation before filming.
Julia Garner — Inventing Anna
Julia Garner had only 3 weeks before filming to get herself ready for the role of Anna Delvey.
The real Delvey lived in several countries, which affected her accent greatly. Within this short period, the actress managed to get an accent that her character was speaking with.
Garner was wearing fake teeth on set to match the image of Delvey. It was her personal idea and the director approved of it. It was a great success — the actress’s face really looked like the face of the character.
Moreover, Garner met the real Delvey and noted that the girl seemed very nice with a perfect sense of humor.
Austin Butler — Elvis
Austin Butler, the actor who played the main role in Elvis, also did a thorough study of the video archives. The actor notes that he watched as many video recordings with Elvis Presley as he could because he felt a responsibility to Elvis, his relatives, and all his fans.
Moreover, one year prior to filming, the actor was taking vocal lessons almost every day because he wanted his voice in the movie to sound just like Elvis’s.
Emilia Jones — CODA
Emilia Jones got a difficult role — she plays the only person in a family who can hear. Her parents and her elder brother are deaf. In order to get into the role, the actress studied sign language for 9 months.
According to the plot, her character helps her parents with fishing and sings in the choir. Therefore, Emilia also learned to fish and sing for the sake of the role.
Kirsten Dunst — The Power of the Dog
Kirsten Dunst had a very responsible approach when preparing to film, despite the fact that her character, Rose, is a supporting role. Dunst had to learn to play the piano.
In a happy coincidence, Dunst’s husband, Jesse Plemons, stars in one of the main roles of the movie. That’s why the couple would be able to rehearse some scenes with each other on their own. Dunst also noted that sometimes she wouldn’t communicate with anyone on set at all to have that “lump in the throat” like the one her character had.
Gwendoline Christie — Game of Thrones
Gwendoline Christie didn’t want to resemble her character by her appearance only (tall height). Thanks to intense training, the actress lost almost 22 lb before her audition.
After being approved for the role, Christie continued to train and gained about 13 lb of muscle mass.
But the hardest thing for the actress was having to sacrifice her hair for the role. She admits that she cried for 2 hours after her hair got chopped off. Outside of the role, Christie looks very feminine — she wears beautiful dresses, makeup, and heels.
Liu Yifei — Mulan
The director of the Mulan movie, Niki Caro, said that his movie crew had auditioned about 1,000 candidates for the role of Mulan. Liu Yifei’s audition took her more than 2 hours, but that wasn’t the end of things. After the audition, the girl was sent to the gym with a coach for 1.5 hours to check her physical abilities and stamina. And the actress did very well.
Also, several months before filming, the entire cast of Mulan, including Yifei, was trained in a special boot camp. Yifei says those training sessions would take 6-7 hours each day, and they were very hard.
Michael C. Hall — Dexter
Before filming Dexter, Michael C. Hall held a thorough investigation of criminals, their motives, and methods. However, apart from learning only the “theoretical part,” the actor also confessed that he went to the city several times, looked for people who were alone, and followed them. To understand Dexter more deeply, the actor even mentally endowed people with the qualities the victims of his character would possess.
Anne Hathaway — Les Misérables
During entire movie, Fantine, the character played by Anne Hathaway, had to look emaciated. The actress decided to create this feeling with the help of strict diet instead of relying on makeup. Her extreme diet plan resulted in severe weight loss.
Hathaway decided she needed to get an authentic feel for the character’s high level of emotional loneliness and forced her husband to go back to the United States. The presence of a beloved person made her happy. She recalled: “I love him so much that I was like, ’You’re keeping me up and I’m clawing to the sides of my life and I need to fall into a pit and you need to go, honey.’ ”
Zendaya — The Greatest Showman
Zendaya can sing, dance, and act, and, after doing many of her own stunts for The Greatest Showman, she has some trapeze skills under her belt, too. The movie’s director wanted most of the scenes in the flick to be filmed without stunt doubles. That’s why, before filming started, Zendaya had to learn circus gymnastics. However, the actress confessed that the acrobatic tricks she performed in the movie were no easy task.
During training sessions, she got used to the equipment being set at a certain height. However, the equipment used on set wasn’t equipped with the safety net that she was used to (though there was a different kind of safety insurance), and the trapeze was a different height. But she still managed to overcome these challenges to perform the necessary tricks.
Benedict Cumberbatch — The Power of the Dog
In order to get into the role of Phil, one of the owners of a ranch in Montana, Benedict Cumberbatch went straight to Montana before shooting. There, he lived with a family of ranchers who took him around the state and taught him the cowboy trade. For example, he grazed and branded cattle and also learned how to ride a horse correctly.
What other celebrities who had a very serious approach to filming are you aware of?