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Actor Adrien Brody sacrificed his health, girlfriend, and lifestyle to realistically portray Wladyslaw Szpilman in the 2002 movie The Pianist. The movie tells the story of Szpilman’s terrifying experience in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II as he tries to survive Germany’s attempts to exterminate Jews. To ensure he could faithfully represent on screen the horrors and isolation that Szpilman experienced in life, the six-foot-one Brody reduced his weight to 130 pounds, sold his apartment, left his girlfriend, threw away his cell phone and television, and interacted with very few people.

Brody practiced the piano four hours each day so that ...

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