Movie Talk

Ashton Kutcher hospitalized while preparing to play Steve Jobs

Ashton Kutcher as Steve JobsAshton Kutcher as Steve Jobs (Photo: Glen Wilson)

It seems that Method acting can cost you more than body mass and basic personal hygiene. As Ashton Kutcher found out, it can also (almost) cost you your pancreas.

To prepare for his title role in "jOBS," which premiered at Sundance last week, the actor got into character as Steve Jobs by adopting the Apple co-founder's alleged fruitarian diet. The diet, which consists of fruit, nuts, and seeds, is typically followed by those who will eat only foods that can be harvested without killing or damaging the plant. It's ideal for those who consider veganism flagrantly permissive, and also lack a fear of gastrointestinal distress.

According to an interview Kutcher did with USA Today, the diet landed the actor in the hospital with pancreatic problems. "First of all, the fruitarian diet can lead to, like, severe issues," Kutcher said. "I went to the hospital, like, two days before we started shooting the movie. I was, like, doubled over in pain. My pancreas levels were completely out of whack." Considering that Jobs died of pancreatic cancer in October 2011, the experience, Kutcher added, "was really terrifying."

Although Kutcher, who also spent hundreds of hours studying tapes of Jobs, nearly sacrificed an internal organ to play the tech genius, he's hardly the only actor to have Methodically suffered for his art. To wit: In 2004, Christian Bale lost 63 pounds in service of the title role in The Machinist; more recently, Matthew McConaughey lost 40 pounds to play an HIV-positive man in The Dallas Buyers Club and suffered "body soreness" for his trouble. Robert DeNiro famously went in the opposite direction for "Raging Bull," gaining some 60 lbs. to play Jake LaMotta. Joaquin Phoenix disappeared into a far corner of his brain to play an unhinged version of himself in "I'm Still Here," while Halle Berry also risked alienation by not bathing for a month to prepare for her role as a crack addict in "Jungle Fever."

Perhaps most famously, Daniel Day-Lewis refused to leave his wheelchair while playing a paralyzed poet in "My Left Foot" and demanded his meals be spoon-fed to him. But his sacrifice was nothing compared to what Shia LaBoeuf endured during the filming of Lars Von Trier's upcoming "Nymphomaniac": to enhance his performance in the title role, Shia LeBoeuf reportedly had onscreen sex with his co-star. But don't feel too bad for him: they're now dating.