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  • It's relatively common for actors to go to great lengths to inhabit the characters they portray.

  • In pursuit of a dynamic performance, they'll conduct extensive research, learn new skills, and even alter their appearance.

  • For some performers, their experiences on set ended up dramatically altering the course of their own lives.

  • Here are some of the actors whose lives were permanently changed after they took on a particular role.

  • Jim Carrey

  • To land the role of comedian Andy Kaufman in 1999's Man on the Moon, Jim Carrey reportedly cut his 20 million-dollar fee in half and wasn't too proud to audition for the part.

  • After he signed on, he went fully method, living as Kaufman instead of Carrey.

  • He told the LA Times,

  • "I broke a couple of times on weekends and stuff, but pretty much from when I woke up to when I went to bed, the choices were all Kaufman's."

  • Carrey's performance would forever change the way he looked at the world, and led to an existential crisis.

  • "When the movie was over, I couldn't remember who I was anymore. So you step through the door not knowing what's on the other side. And what's on the other side is everything."

  • The actor has continued to question the nature of reality and the meaning of celebrity.

  • Years later, he was interviewed at New York Fashion Week, and said,

  • "There's no meaning to any of this, so I wanted to find the most meaningless thing that I could come to and join and here I am."

  • Brie Larson

  • For the intense 2015 drama Room, Brie Larson underwent a punishing routine to portray a young woman who survives a kidnapping.

  • According to Bustle, on top of restricting her diet and vitamin intake to match the experience of her character,

  • Larson also spent six months of pre-production researching the effects of abuse and long periods of confinement.

  • After shooting the film, Larson emerged as a powerful voice for survivors of sexual assault.

  • On the same night she took home the Oscar for Best Actress, she stood up to hug all 50 sexual assault survivors who had joined Lady Gaga on stage for an emotional performance.

  • In the years since, she's been vocal in opposing sexual abuse.

  • She refused to applaud for Casey Affleck's Best Actor win when presenting him with the Oscar in 2017, telling Vanity Fair that her reaction, quote, "speaks for itself,”

  • a reference to Affleck's legal battles with two employees who sued him for sexual harassment.

  • According to IndieWire, in 2017 Larson stepped down from an independent collective she co-founded after allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of some members were made public.

  • Don Cheadle

  • For the premiere of 2004's Hotel Rwanda, Don Cheadle traveled to Uganda and neighboring Rwanda, and the trip certainly made an impact.

  • According to People magazine, after meeting with genocide survivors,

  • he met with the Rwandan President and toured camps in Uganda set up for refugees fleeing violence at the hands of rebel groups.

  • The experience lit a fire inside the actor, who in 2005 made another trip, this time to Sudan, where he visited refugee camps in Darfur.

  • Cheadle ended up co-authoring a book about his experiences, called Not On Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond.

  • The book urges U.S. citizens to demand that their government take action on behalf of imperiled nations.

  • Cheadle is also on the board of a charity of the same name, an advocacy group cofounded by George Clooney.

  • Angelina Jolie

  • Though the first Tomb Raider film was popular among fans of the record-breaking gaming franchise, it would end up sending leading lady Angelina Jolie's life in an entirely different direction.

  • While working on the film and its sequel in Cambodia, Jolie became aware of the plight of the Cambodian people and began relief work there.

  • She was named as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in early 2001.

  • Less than ten years later, she had visited more than 20 countries around the world, bringing awareness and aid to Sudan, Chad, Syria, and Iraq, among others.

  • In 2005, she launched the National Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Children, which provides free legal aid to asylum-seeking children without representation.

  • According to ABC News, after being awarded Cambodian citizenship for her work, Jolie founded a daycare facility for children with HIV.

  • Jennifer Garner

  • Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner announced their plans to divorce in 2015, and when Garner was asked how she fared in the aftermath of the separation,

  • she joked to Vanity Fair that it had been, quote, "a year of wine."

  • It's not surprising, then, that Miracles from Heaven, the film that thrust her back into the Hollywood spotlight for the first time since the divorce announcement, was an emotional experience.

  • Garner revealed to People magazine that Miracles from Heaven helped her reconnect to her religion, saying,

  • "When I did move to L.A., it wasn't something that was just part of the culture in the same way,

  • at least in my life, so it was a great gift of this film that it took us back to finding our local Methodist church and going every Sunday."

  • Mary J. Blige

  • Musician and actor Mary J. Blige suffered through a very public separation from her manager and husband of over a decade, Kendu Isaacs,

  • and channeled her pain into her first starring film role in Mudbound.

  • The transformation also had a profound effect on Blige's self-image.

  • She explained to Vulture, "I had to leave a lot of myself behind, a lot of Mary J. Blige behind.

  • A lot of wigs, a lot of lashes, a lot of makeup, a lot of nails, you know, the whole thing."

  • Blige noted that stripping down to her natural hair texture was something that she'd always feared, adding,

  • "The role stripped me down all the way to what I truly am, and people were complimenting me. People were saying how beautiful I was. I didn't know I was that beautiful for real. I didn't know that."

  • Her performance earned her two Oscar nominations for best song and best supporting actress.

  • Of the new direction her character pushed her in, Blige noted, "This is the next chapter."

  • "It shows that, you know, sometimes we have to suffer to gain, and I don't mind."

It's relatively common for actors to go to great lengths to inhabit the characters they portray.

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Roles That Inspired Actors To Change Their Lives

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    Evangeline posted on 2021/04/16
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