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10 Times Seasoned Actors Described How Hard It Was Portraying Living Legends On Screen

Portraying fictional characters is daunting enough. But when you portray real world legends, the challenge is sometimes too intense even for veteran actors.

Morgan Freeman Said Playing Nelson Mandela Was Tougher Than Playing God

“Playing God is not a challenge at all,” Morgan Freeman said. “And playing the president, who’s the president? He’s just a guy. Mandela’s not just a guy.”

Jamie Foxx Would Hit One Wrong Note And Ray Charles Would Ask Him “Now Why The Hell Would You Do That?”

“My hearing intensified. Sometimes I take playing the piano for granted because I’m a showy person and I’m looking at other people, but when you don’t have sight you get more into the music. It’s more intense so you can understand why Ray was moving that way.”

Joaquin Phoenix Said An Old, Trembling Johnny Cash Would Stop Shaking The Moment He Held The Guitar In His Hands

“It was terrifying,” Phoenix said. “The music was such a big part of their lives and while I’m a fan of music, the actual performing or the writing of music is not anything that I was familiar with at all.”

Robert De Niro Was Repeatedly Told By 55 Year Old Jake La Motta To Hit Him As hard As He Could While The Actor Was Training For Raging Bull

“He would say, ‘Hit me, don’t worry, don’t worry. He was 55, but he was really tough. I didn’t realize until I got to his age that you could still take a punch.”

Ben Affleck’s Performance In Argo Didn’t Impress Tony Mendez. He Said “[Affleck] Was Ok. Not Good Looking Enough”

“This was a real story about a real guy who worked in a real world where real lives were at stake. It wasn’t just sliding down the roof and kicking in the window and shooting three guys, which is the kind of thing that we, in Hollywood, tend to think of as the CIA.”

Angela Bassett Had To Soak her Feet In Ice For Hours After Portraying Tina Turner In Her Iconic Spike Heels

“[It] really let me know how strong I can be because so much was required in the playing of that phenomenal woman… I remember how strenuous and arduous it was, physically, but also emotionally. Every day it was like, you know, you had to just go in so deep emotionally as well.”

Taron Egerton Says Elton John Felt More Like An “Idea Than He Is A Walking, Talking Person”

“Meeting Elton for the first time was intimidating. He is obviously someone who feels a bit like royalty… Until you meet him you kind of forget that he’s a real sort of person. He’s sort of more of an idea than he is a walking, talking human being”

Sarah Paulson Said She Made “Squealy Pig Noises” When She Met Marcia Clark. Clark Thought Meeting Paulson Was A Horrifying Experience

“I made a lot of weird – sort of squealy pig – noises, because I was so excited. I’d spent so much time with my nose in a book about her… that when I saw her it was like seeing someone I idolized or had a terrible crush on for my whole life or something. I sort of went “Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” And she sort of looked around like this was a terrifying experience for her.”

Don Cheadle Always Asked Paul Rusesabagina “Do You *HAVE* To Sit Behind The Monitor Today?” When They Were Filming Hotel Rwanda

“It’s not comfortable. At times it was really daunting and I would say, “Do you have to sit behind the monitor today? Can I come see you in the trailer afterwards?” But, for the most part, knowing that I wasn’t trying to do some kind of direct characterization of him. There are definite things about him that I did incorporate, but they were larger things about his comportment and how he dealt with people.”

Eddie Redmayne Said Stephen Hawking Was Always Surrounded By “A Troop Of Women”

“I kid you not, there’s a really sexy quality to him. He has this troop of women around him and he’s a virile and funny man. In my trailer I ended up having three images that I referred to. One was Einstein with his tongue out, because there’s that similar humor with Hawking. Another was The Joker on a pack of cards who’s a puppeteer, because I feel [Stephen] has people in the palm of his hand. And the third was James Dean. And that was what I gained from seeing him: the glint and the humor.”

Written by Bibhu Prasad Panda

With a Bachelor's in Engineering and a Master's in Marketing and Operations, Bibhu found a love for writing, working for many different websites. He joined FandomWire in July 2020 and worked his way to his current position of Content Strategist. Bibhu has been involved in operating and managing FandomWire's team of writers, diversifying into varied, exotic fields of pop culture.