Actors Who Go That Extra Distance

Not so long ago, we didn’t have many actors who were prepared to do what it took, to better a movie, or do anything too risque. But even forty years ago, there were some who would shy at nothing. For example, Oliver Reed and Alan Bates, doing their famous naked wrestling, at the huge fireplace, in Woman in Love, which saw Glenda Jackson win the Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 1971. Fast forward a few years and a young man would come along and show just what it means to put yourself in a role. President Lincoln himself, Daniel-Day Lewis. I am of course referring to My Left Foot, for which Daniel-Day received the first in his trio of Academy Awards.

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His performance was nothing short of brilliant, and it was playing Christy Brown he honed his skill by staying in character throughout the shoot. This is the very technique which has seen DD Lewis regarded as one of the finest actors who ever lived. The very thing that makes him great, is the very thing that prevents him from making too many movies, as he has admitted to just how much this technique takes out of him personally, plus the fact that he appears totally insane to everyone else.

The next person on my list is a man who was also a pioneering actor, with his physical fitness, followed by huge weight gain while performing as Jake Lamotta, in Raging Bull making him one of the greatest in Hollywood, or the world for that matter. His was the first performance I had seen where the actor would exert themselves to such extremes, and the sheer dedication to a role was clear for the world to see. To top that off, his acting was exemplary, giving Robert De Niro a second Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

On to the ladies now, with model and actress Charlize Theron, who blew everyone away with her uncanny resemblance to Aileen Wuornos in Monster. What makes this particular performance stand out is the fact that a beautiful model, with a body most would die for, would even consider piling on the pounds, as she did to allow her to become seriel killer Wuornos, and also win her a first Oscar for her sheer dedication and skill as an actor. I remember seeing a clip of Monster and didn’t realise who I was looking at. She really did deserve her win.

The last section has three actors who are all linked by the caped crusader himself, Batman. Both Joker roles went to a pair of actors who really put themselves in their performance, with lots of white face paint and even more gusto, Jack Nicholson and Heath Ledger gave the Joker a real personality, therefore making him more believable to the audience. But to achieve that, they had to give it their all, and both gave highly memorable performances in doing so. Which leaves the one and only Batman himself Christian Bale. Being far younger than De Niro, Bale is now in the position Bob used to be in, with Bale’s acting incredible at times, but his extreme dieting for The Machinist was the performance I most admire the “passionate” Brit for. Not his shouting skills. But I was surprised at Chris Bale not garnering any big award nods for this role.

I’m a huge fan of anyone who will do what it takes, to get the job done, with my favourite being Daniel-Day Lewis, and while I haven’t covered everyone, I have covered the ones I most remember and admire. But if another Lewis, Theron or De Niro comes along, I’ll be sure to write another piece about how good they are. Until then, we have more than enough to be getting on with for now.

Nav Qateel, Influx Magazine.