Gross Things Actors Had To Do For A Role

Among the most intensely-dedicated actors in Hollywood today, Christian Bale notoriously lost 60 pounds for the 2004 flick “The Machinist,” then immediately bulked up to play Batman. He has been known to fake an American accent off the set, even during some interviews when playing an American character (despite his Welsh origins). 

For the Werner Herzog Vietnam war drama “Rescue Dawn,” Bale combined these methods and more. Taking on the role of real life war hero and U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler, Bale committed himself fully to embodying the part of the long-suffering hostage of the Pathet Lao. Tortured and starved, the movie portrays Dengler’s struggle to endure his captivity, staying alive for his ultimate rescue by American forces.

Bale once again put his heart and soul into a part, challenging himself both physically and mentally during the shoot. These adversities included wrestling a real snake, losing more than sixty pounds, and being physically abused as part of several torture scenes. But perhaps most nauseating, Bale ate live maggots in an attempt to portray the depths of desperation his real-life character had reached during imprisonment.

“Oh, yeah, those were real maggots. They were very real,” he said in a 2007 interview, adding: “I didn’t mind eating the maggots.” 

Asked what he wouldn’t do, the actor remarked that being set ablaze is something that crosses the line. “Look, I’ve done other things where people have to be set on fire and jump three stories. I’m not doing that,” he explained. “I’ve got limits.”

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