Training Days - When actors go the extra mile for their roles
THE HUNGER GAMES (2012)
Jennifer Lawrence trained with an Olympic archer to convincingly handle a bow and arrow for the hit movie franchise – her on-screen skills even being praised by the professional archery community. It’s slightly more glamorous than her time on Winter’s Bone, where she learned to skin a squirrel!
JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 (2017)
Videos surfaced on YouTube of the Keanu Reeves undergoing tactics and weapons training for this trigger-happy sequel. Combine that with the hybrid martial arts style he developed for the first film, and Reeves may be more deadly than the assassin he’s playing.
THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS (1992)
If there’s one actor who knows how to train for a part, it’s Daniel Day Lewis, and his 1992 historical drama is no exception. The dedicated method actor lived off the land for months before filming, learning all the skills needed to survive in the wild. Furthermore, he’d only eat what he could kill during production.
THE WRESTLER (2008)
To look convincing as a broken-down grappler, Mickey Rourke trained with former wrestlers, even ‘knocking out’ WWE star Chris Jericho in front of 72,000 people at Wrestlemania 25. Then again, a ring is familiar place for Rourke – he took a three year hiatus from acting to pursue a career as a boxer.
With all his headline making, it’s easy to forget Shia Labeouf is a very talented film actor. To play the religious soldier Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan, he joined the National Guard, baptised himself and lived on a military base. Oddly, the preparation didn’t stop there – having learned how to live the army way, he had teeth removed and cut his own face in order to achieve realism while on set.
THE PIANIST (2002)
Perhaps understandably for a film with that title, lead actor Adrien Brody practiced piano for four hours a day for months in this award-winning weepy that earned him a Best Actor Oscar. Director Roman Polanski insisted he get to a level where he could play the Chopin pieces in the film competently, and while the close-up shots are the hands of a professional pianist, Brody’s own playing was used for wide shots.