The price of playing Jeffrey Dahmer and other actors who have suffered getting into their characters

“Seeing the crimes he had committed made me very scared. Playing it and telling the story as realistically as possible was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.” Evan Peters explains with these words in an interview with Netflix the difficulty of playing the role of one of the best known murderers in history: Jeffrey Dahmer.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story has become a global phenomenon: it is already the most viewed Netflix content in the world – thereby dethroning The Squid Game Y stranger things–. This strong impact has also been reflected on social networks, where Dahmer has been and is a trending topic on multiple platforms.

the milwaukee killer It reached all the media after being captured for the atrocities he committed for several years. He murdered a total of 17 men by drugging and dismembering them and later eating their body parts.. In the series, it is also denounced how racism and homophobia were determining factors for the murders, since society did not judge their crimes as they should.

What was it like playing him?

Evan Peters says that in playing the part of Dahmer, he remembered the importance of not putting himself in the killer’s place, or trying to see things from his point of view in order to better understand him. The objective of the series is not to sympathize with him but to emphasize everything he did and pay tribute to the victims: to show that the murderer’s story is much more than just him.

Peters is also known for acting in the iconic horror series American Horror Story and admits that, after playing such intense and evil roles, it took two years of therapy to mentally recover. He also adds that, in this case, the season was very hard for him and that “he took a lot from me. I lost contact with many friends and family. It was really very hard.”

The roles that sent multiple actors to therapy

According to the experience narrated by many actors and actresses, exposing yourself and opening up to a character is a complex and mentally tough process. Resorting to therapy as Evan Peters did is not an exception, but something increasingly recurrent in the profession.

One of the bloodiest cases was that of actor Heath Leger. Despite being critically acclaimed after his performance as The Joker in ‘Dark Knight‘ (2008), Leger stated that at first he did not know whether to accept the role, since he did not want to offend Jack Nicholson’s interpretation of the same role in ‘Batman‘ (1989). To prepare for his role, the actor spent six weeks in a motel. There he proposed to adopt the peculiarity of his voice or his sadistic laugh.

The immersion was such that for some scenes with violence, the actor asked to be really hit and thus the result would be more realistic. This commitment to the role took the actor to unimaginable limits.: He later recounted many insomnia problems, he was away from his family and friends for a very long period and finally, he required psychological help.

The case of Lady Gaga

Something similar happened to Lady Gaga. The actress and singer hired a psychiatric nurse who would accompany her during the process of learning the script and shooting the film. House of Gucci (2021). Gaga did not want to meet Patrizia Reggiani, the character she played, but she preferred to build it from scratch. the star of pop He confesses that, in addition to being a role full of emotional edges, it was such a complex process that there came a point where he did not dissociate himself from the character. Once filming was over, it was hard for him not to speak like Reggiani.

Read also _ Lady Gaga hired a psychiatric nurse on the set of ‘House of Gucci’ to take care of her mental health

Also in the cast of suicide squad (2016), actors like Dakota Johnson, Adrien Brody or Bill Skarsgård have had to resort to therapy after playing some characters to which they “give up”.

When asked if this whole effort was worth it, both Evan Peters and other colleagues, decide to assume it as a norm of what they do: do we have another option?

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The price of playing Jeffrey Dahmer and other actors who have suffered getting into their characters

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