Ben Foster engaged in an extreme form of Method acting to prepare for his role in “Rampart” as a homeless police informer: he slept on the streets for two weeks in L.A.’s Skid Row. Naturally, he ditched his name-brand duds for charity-store clothing and grew a scraggly beard first.
“Just living in those clothes helped me, getting my stink in it,” he told WENN. “It was a great exercise in empathy and being present because everyone is reduced to, ‘Well, there’s no roof here,’ if you’re not getting into the shelter that night and it’s raining. I was trading cigarettes for Fig Newtons.”
Foster also discovered the surprising community feel within Skid Row. “It’s tough at night,” he admitted. “There’s violence there, but there’s also a beautiful community that tries to take care of their own. You have families sleeping next to families.”
Ben Foster says he headed out for his two-week stint on the streets with just the clothes he was wearing, a knapsack and a piece of cardboard. What do you think his extreme preparation will bring to his “Rampart” role?