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Getting in character. Many well-known Hollywood stars use method acting to get into character and to better bring authentic portrayals to the screen.
As Nicole Kidman prepared to play the intimidating Masha in Hulu’s Nine Perfect Strangers adaptation, which premiered in August 2021, she only spoke with Masha’s thick Russian accent and wouldn’t be addressed by her real name.
“I wanted a very calm, healing energy to emanate all the time. So I remember going over to people and sort of putting my hand on their heart or holding their hand,” she explained during a Television Critics Association panel at the time. “They would talk to me or use my name Nicole, and I would completely ignore it. I’d only respond to Masha.”
The Big Little Lies alum’s accent and mindset didn’t just apply to when she was on set, but even when she went home at the end of each day. She even revealed that her husband, Keith Urban, liked her particular characterization.
“He enjoyed Masha when she came home,” Kidman revealed to E! News that month, “He kind of liked the Russian accent, I have to say.”
The Prom actress isn’t the first actor to go above and beyond for their craft, playing their characters authentically. For instance, Shia LaBeouf joined a regiment of the armed forces and had his tooth removed before shooting Fury.
“Fury is the most meat I’ve ever had to chew on,” the Even Stevens alum revealed to Dazed magazine in November 2014. “David [Ayer, the director] told us right from the gate: ‘I need you to give me everything.’ So the day after I got the job, I joined the U.S. National Guard. I was baptized – accepted Christ in my heart – tattooed my surrender and became a chaplain’s assistant to Captain Yates for the 41st Infantry. I spent a month living on a forward operating base.”
LaBeouf also noted that he pulled out his own tooth, “knifed” his face up, spent several days “watching horses die” and didn’t bathe for four months to better get into character.
Other actors use various tricks to keep up their characterizations in between takes. Grey’s Anatomy star Camilla Luddington retained Jo’ Wilson’s American accent even when the cameras stopped rolling, instead of returning to her native English one.
“I cannot do what Kevin McKidd does and he spends the day flipping back and forth between accents,” the British actress explained via Snapchat, per an August 2017 YouTube recording. “If I did that, then Jo Wilson would sound probably very British, so even when I am not shooting in character, I keep this accent because it’s easier for me to maintain sounding American all day.”
Scroll below to learn which actors embraced method acting for their well-known roles: