Thursday, April 04, 2019

Thursday Movie Picks: Unrecognizable Actor Transformations

For the 14th week of 2019 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We venture into unrecognizable actor transformations where part of the job of an actor is to become someone else. Sometimes, actors would take things too far to be that character which play into some of the awful aspects of method acting where it just reeks vanity so that actors try to be taken seriously. Then there are those performances that do merit consideration and push the art of what acting is and should be. Here are my three picks:

1. Peter Sellers-Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Playing not one but three roles in Stanley Kubrick’s Cold War satire, Sellers’ performances as the titular character, Royal Air Force officer Colonel Mandrake, and American president Merkin Muffley displays the talents of one of cinema’s great actors. Each performance that Sellers does in the film display different personalities where President Muffley is kind of meek yet is approached in a straightforward manner while Colonel Mandrake is Sellers at his most restrained as a man of morality and intelligence who copes with a situation gone awry. In the titular character, it is Sellers that is extremely hilarious as this mad scientist that says some of the funniest things as well as being darkly comical.

2. Robert de Niro-Raging Bull

In the role of Jake La Motta in Martin Scorsese’s bio-pic about the middleweight boxer, Robert de Niro’s performance is definitely one of his great achievements yet how he would approach that performance is astonishing. Having to put on muscles and weigh at around 145 pounds to play La Motta in his prime and as a boxer, de Niro displayed the man at his toughest and most brutal in and out of the ring. The production was on hold for four months where De Niro went to Northern Italy on an eating binge to 70 pounds to play the older and washed-up La Motta is a testament to show how committed de Niro and Scorsese wanted to bring some authenticity to the story.

3. Christian Bale-The Machinist

Actors would gain weight to play a major role but Christian Bale would up the ante by losing more than 62 pounds and reducing his body mass to 120 pounds for this psychological thriller about a man whose insomnia and paranoia gets the best of him. It’s a shocking performance that shows the commitment Bale is willing to bring into a role as well as his body at great risk to create a performance that is unforgettable. Even as he was willing to re-define the term to suffer for one’s art.

© thevoid99 2019


Brittani Burnham said...

I love The Machinist and I have Dr. Strangelove as a Blind Spot this year. I didn't know that about Raging Bull, I've never seen that film either.

Sonia Cerca said...

I haven't seen The Machinist yet and I was not a fan of Raging Bull (DeNiro's transformation is really impressive though) but I loved Dr. Strangelove.

thevoid99 said...

@Brittani-See Raging Bull. It is essential.

@Sonia Cerca-Go see The Machinist. It's where the term "suffer for you art" is really defined.