Kevin Spacey studied posture and stage tricks to make sure he didn't join the ranks of the actors who were left with painful memories of their portrayals of hunchback king Richard III during his 200-performance world tour of the Shakespeare play.
The Oscar winner asked his peers for advice on how to play the disabled English monarch and rather than give him acting tips, they all told him to make sure he had a good masseuse waiting in the wings.
He tells U.S. chat show host Ellen DeGeneres, "A lot of thought went into what I was going to do because I talked to a bunch of actors who played Richard Iii before I did and they all said to me: 'Be careful... I threw my neck out, my back, my knee, my leg...'"
So Spacey, whose scheming Frank Underwood in Tv hit drama House of Cards is loosely based on Richard Iii, took time to think about his gait on the world's rigged and sloping stages and employed tricks of the trade to make sure he would not be left with longterm injuries after distorting his body every night.
He explains, "I didn't want to hurt myself over all of those performances and, you know, massages were a good thing, but at the very end of the play, they hung me upside down after Richard is killed and that was great.
"They put these big ankle things on and lifted me up and you could hear the audience going 'Oh' - they were, like, a little scared about it, and I was like, 'This is the most awesome thing'. After crumpling up all night long, it was the best stretch ever."
His world tour as Richard Iii was filmed and the resulting documentary, Now, has just been released. It is also available to download on the actor's website.