When we think about talented and award-winning actors, we probably assume they’re typically the types to take preparing for a key role seriously. Like, they read the script more than once, they do some research, work on character nuance, and all of that…at the very least, right?
When it comes to these 6 actors in these 6 specific roles, though, you would be wrong – they hardly prepared at all, but in the end, they pulled it off with flying colors.
6. Billy Burke in Twilight.
Burke admits he never read any of the Twilight books, either before or after he was cast as Charlie Swan, Bella’s father.
He claims he “doesn’t have the attention span” to finish a book and doesn’t see how reading the source material could have been useful to his preparation. Apparently he’d never even heard of the books before his meeting with the author, but I mean…was he living under a rock?
5. Michael Gambon in Harry Potter.
When Richard Harris, who was playing the beloved Dumbledore in the films, passed away, he was replaced by Michael Gambon. The latter said that he’d never read any of the books prior to appearing in the series.
“No point in reading the books because you’re playing with screenwriter Steve Kloves’ words.”
It’s interesting to note that many have criticized his version of the character, which deviates quite a lot from the way the older wizard is written in the books.
4. Hugh Jackman in X-Men.
Jackman actually replaced Dougray Scott once the first film had already been shooting for weeks, so he wasn’t afforded the opportunity of time to prepare. He ended up with only three weeks to get in shape, and before the role of Wolverine, he’d never been one to life weights.
He was also not a comic book reader and had never read the books or heard of the character.
3. Christopher Plummer in All the Money in the World.
Christopher Plummer replaced Kevin Spacey in the role of J. Paul Getty after the film was basically complete – Spacey was let go after multiple sexual assault accusations came to light.
He began shooting just a few weeks after landing the role and knew very little about Getty or his family life.
“I really followed the script and Ridley’s suggestions, which weren’t many because there wasn’t much time.”
His entire time on set amounted to 9 days, during which Plummer says it was hard to remember his lines. Despite all of this the performance was critically acclaimed and Plummer was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
2. Taika Waititi in JoJo Rabbit.
Taika Waititi plays JoJo’s imaginary version of Hitler in the film, and that distinction is why he feels little to no preparation was needed.
“I didn’t have to do any research, and I didn’t do any research I didn’t base him on anything I’d seen about Hitler before. I’m not really portraying Hitler, but a child’s imagined version of him,” he told Deadline.
“I just made him a version of myself that happened to have a bad haircut and a sh*%ty little mustache. And a mediocre German accent. It would be too weird to play the actual Hitler.”
An interesting take, for sure.
1. Ewan McGregor in Emma.
McGregor did not find it necessary to read Jane Austen’s Emma before playing the leading role in a film adaptation.
Insulting Austen fans everywhere, McGregor says the film is one of the worst things he’s done and he’s not proud of his performance, saying he only took the part because he “thought he should be seen to be doing something different from Trainspotting.
Some of these really surprised me, but with others, maybe it sort of makes sense?
Have you ever found yourself totally unprepared for a project, presentation, or meeting? Tell us in the comments whether or not you managed to pull it off this well!