It may look easy to play pretend on the screen, but for actors who go to extremes to deliver their part, it can be all-consuming. Take Heath Ledger, for example. Everyone knows what happened to him while and after playing the iconic Clown Prince of Crime.
There are many Hollywood stars who embrace their roles a little bit too much that even when the cameras aren’t rolling anymore, they still feel they are living someone else’s life. Like Ledger, Black Panther star Michael B. Jordan, who played the villain Erik Killmonger, also fell into depression.
Michael B. Jordan Reveals Struggle After Starring In Black Panther
Michael B. Jordan shared on The Bill Simmons Podcast his journey playing the iconic Black Panther villain. Even though it was the character’s debut on the screen, Erik Killmonger stood out and made a strong impression on the audience. Embracing such an intense role left the actor feeling miserable. He admitted:
“It was one of those things that I didn’t know what was going on. I never was in a character for that long of a period of time and was, I guess, that dark, that lonely, that painful. So coming out of it, I thought, ‘Oh yeah, business as usual. I can just go back home, I’ll cut my hair off, and everything will be back to normal.’”
Of course, this was not the reality. Although many fans connected with the antagonist, and even supported Killmonger’s causes, Jordan confessed it was not entirely an enjoyable experience. He further added:
“I found myself kind of in the routine of being isolated and went out of my way to make sure I was by myself and didn’t say too much more than the usual. Once I got finished wrapping the movie, it took me some time to talk through how I was feeling and why I was feeling so sad and like a little bit depressed.”
Jordan sought therapy to help him sort out his feelings and find his way back to himself. Thankfully, this worked out for the 36-year-old star, but not for the late legendary actor Heath Ledger.
Heath Ledger Developed Insomnia After Playing Joker
“I probably slept an average of two hours a night. I couldn’t stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going.”
Ledger won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor posthumously as he passed away after an accidental drug overdose. Rumors claim that his preparation for the role contributed to his untimely death, but this was disputed by Ledger’s family members.
Regardless, it is not difficult to see how the role deeply affected the star after putting himself in strict isolation and even keeping a diary filled with disturbing contents to help him visualize what’s inside a psychopath’s mind.
Heath Ledger and Michael B. Jordan proved that acting is a tough job and definitely not for everyone.