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10 Times Actors Had To Learn Challenging Skills For Their Roles And Completely Nailed It

There are roles that require special skills to be brought to life. Amazing actors who learned skills for movies get to show off the fruits of their labor in times like these. The end results are often spectacular performances that steal our breath away. Of course, they can use stunt doubles or CGI, but the result won’t be the same.

These actors saw these challenging roles as an opportunity to pick up a new skill. They put their hearts and souls into the process, practicing day and night to perfect the art. So let’s give these awesome guys a round of bravo for their effort. Scroll down to know more about their dedication to their characters.

1. Jennifer Lawrence Learned How To Skinned A Squirrel For Winter’s Bone

Source: Anonymous Content/ Courtesy Everett Collection

Winter’s Bone was nominated for four Oscars, and its success is largely thanks to Jennifer Lawrence and her performance. For the actress, this was her breakout role.

Her character was a survival expert at one with nature, so she had to convince the audience she had good survival skills. She learned several skills for the movie, and skinning squirrels is one of them. The actress learned how to realistically skin a squirrel through a friend of her brother.

2. Bryan Cranston Learned To Cook Crystal Meth For Breaking Bad

actors who learned skills for moviesSource: Sony Pictures Television

Bryan Cranston played the legendary drug kingpin in Breaking Bad and we can all agree that he nailed that role. However, to best portray the character, Cranston actually learned how to cook crystal meth. Don’t worry, it’s completely legal. The guy was taught by Drug Enforcement Agency chemists who acted as consultants on the show.

Cranston shared in an interview with Howard Stern, saying “We didn’t cook it, but we were told exactly the process at that high level.” He also claimed that the process “is very interesting, intricate, and dangerous.”

3. Tom Cruise Learned To Fly A Helicopter For Mission Impossible

Source: Paramount Pictures

Tom is known for doing his own stunts, but he took it to the next level in Mission Impossible: Fallout. He spent over 2,000 hours training to become a helicopter pilot in a short amount of time. Not only did he succeed, Tom even learned how to perform one of the most dangerous maneuvers in all of helicopter flying, a corkscrew dive.

4. Natalie Portman Learned Ballet For Black Swan

actors who learned skills for moviesSource: Fox Searchlight Pictures/ Courtesy Everett Collection

To bring her character to life, Natalie Portman spent a long time training to become a ballerina. She spent at least 5 hours a day practicing ballet, and gradually increased her training hours. The actress dislocated a rib during rehearsals and even practiced until her toenails fell off. All the hard work paid off when Portman won an Oscar for her performance.

5. Margot Robbie Learned Ice Skating For Her Role As Tonya Harding

actors who learned skills for moviesSource: 30West

Another amazing actress who spent hours learning a very challenging skill for her role was Margot Robbie. She trained four times a week with skating choreographer Sarah Kawahara. After three months of practicing day and night, Margot was able to perform the entire first minute of Tonya’s actual 1994 Olympic routine and most of the skating scenes from the movie.

6. Jesse Eisenberg Learned Magic Tricks For Now You See Me

Source: Lionsgate Films/ Courtesy Everett Collection

In Now You See Me, Jesse Eisenberg played one of the best sleight-of-hand magicians in the world. This required him to learn the basic principles of magic, which included the fundamentals and theory behind the magic as well as specific tricks. The actor claimed that the things he learned were extremely useful, saying “if you learn some of the basic principles you can apply those principles to many different tricks or illusions.”

7. Jon Favreau Learned Culinary Art For Chef

actors who learned skills for moviesSource: Open Road Films

For the culinary lovers out there, Chef was definitely a must-watch movie. Jon Favreau did an amazing job as the star of the show. He claimed that he “would do the movie only if it looked absolutely real.” So to keep his word, the actor learned how to cook professionally. Jon trained with chef Roy Choi and attended cooking school before the movie to best portray chef Carl Casper.

8. Rooney Mara Learned Hacker Skills For The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Source: Columbia Pictures/ Courtesy Everett Collection

To prepare for her role as the world-class computer hacker Lisbeth Salander, Rooney learned about computer hacking so she could understand her character better. She also learned to ride a motorbike and studied kickboxing. The actress even changed her hairstyle completely, shaved off her eyebrows, and pierced her nipples and face.

9. Riz Ahmed Learned American Sign Language For Sound of Metal

Source: Amazon Studios/ Courtesy Everett Collection

In Sound of Metal, Riz Ahmed played a heavy metal musician who loses his hearing. To make his character seem as realistic as possible, he learned American Sign Language from ASL coach Jeremy Lee Stone. The actor spent seven months learning, practicing, and meeting with members of the deaf community to learn about the lifestyle. This helped him to understand his character more, and showed him another aspect of life.

10. Rachel Weisz Learned How To Play 4 Instruments For The Brothers Bloom

Source: Summit Entertainment/ Courtesy Everett Collection

Rachel Weisz’s character in The Brothers Bloom knew how to play accordion, banjo, violin, and guitar. To nail her role, Weisz spent hours learning how to play banjo, violin, and guitar all by herself. She was taught to play accordion by a Serbian teacher but there was a language barrier between them as the teacher didn’t know English.

That’s the end of our list of actors who learned skills for movies. These actors are sure dedicated, but they are not the only ones willing to push their limits for their characters. Check out these 10 Actors Who Suffered After Their Miserable “Makeovers” For Their Iconic Roles.