Adam Driver dropped major pounds in order to portray a 17th century priest in the new Martin Scorsese film Silence, and it sounds anything but healthy. The Girls actor and Star Wars villain told Interview Magazine that Scorsese requested that he and co-star Andrew Garfield lose weight in order to showcase the struggle of their characters: "When the movie begins, the characters have been traveling for two years, from Portugal to Macau, sailed around Africa. There’s disease and shortage of food," says the star of Scorsese's weight loss rationale. Driver also revealed that Scorsese asked the actors to continue to lose weight as filming went on, despite being introduced on screen in their thinner state. It's then that Driver admits he found dieting to be an integral part of his "process" as an actor: "You’re so hungry and so tired at some points that there’s nothing you can do — you’re not adding anything on top of what you’re doing. You only have enough energy to convey what you’re doing, so it’s great," says Driver. "I can't control what's happening in scenes, but I could control when I ate food. And that visual part of the storytelling, I don't think I've ever taken it to the extreme before." "Great" would not be my word to describe spending my workday daydreaming of sandwiches. Starving yourself to the point where you feel physically incapable of doing anything other than perform actually sounds pretty horrible — not to mention dangerous. The sad thing is, Driver is only doing his job — and will likely be praised by the press for achieving such a physically demanding task for the sake of performance. In the industry, men who choose to go to extremes for a role are often lauded as serious, dedicated actors — just look at how the world reacted to Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey's Dallas Buyers Club weight loss.
What we often forget is that meeting extreme weight loss demands is not only extreme difficult, it's never totally safe. Your body doesn't know the difference between you starving it to portray a starving person, and actually just being a starving person. It's hard to blame actors for wanting to accept the challenge, especially if it means starring in a highly-anticipated movie, but it's sad that filmmakers push for physical changes that place their actors in harm's way.