We have all heard the stories of actors going “method” for their craft to fully immerse themselves in the role they have taken on. Christian Bale famously lost 60 pounds for The Machinist; Matthew McConaughey did similar for Dallas Buyers Club; Jim Carrey insisted he was called Andy Kaufman at all times on the set of Man on the Moon; and Robert De Niro went method countless times for his craft. But Ben Foster may have trumped them all for this year’s breakout indie film Hell or High Water.
According to a new behind-the-scenes report from The Hollywood Reporter, Foster visited the apartment of director David Mackenzie just before filming was due to start and did something quite extraordinary to get into character: he got an electric drill and proceeded to stick it in his mouth and “take down” his tooth. Foster recalls:
“I had pre-ordered a drill from Amazon [and sent it] to David’s apartment in Albuquerque… I said, ‘I’m going to take down my tooth.’ He said, ‘Great!’ I got out the drill, and we were laughing about it. I took out my buck knife and shaved my beard off into a handlebar [mustache]. Maybe we had a few cocktails, I’m not telling.”
Once production began, however, the producers of the film were insistent that Foster have his tooth repaired and capped for the shoot. Not to be outdone, the actor came back the next day with another little surprise for the crew. He says:
“Rather than get it back to normal, I had the tooth extended a little bit, made it extra-long… And I had it yellowed.”
Talk about a love of your craft, taking a piece of your own body (in this case his tooth) but Foster’s dynamic acting is there for all to see in the film as he, Jeff Bridges and Chris Pine all excel in the superb thriller that is the highest-grossing speciality film of 2016, grossing $27million so far. And if reports are true, could be a dark horse for prizes come awards season so if you haven’t seen it yet, be sure to seek it out as it’s one of the year’s very best.
Hell or High Water is out on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK on January 9th, 2017.