Foster Spent Two Weeks On The Streets To Play Homeless Rampart Character

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January 12, 2012 | 8:50pm EST

3:10 To Yuma star Ben Foster slept rough on the mean streets of Los Angeles for two weeks to get into character as a homeless police informer for new film Rampart.
The super-serious actor spent months growing a scraggly beard and picked up a wardrobe from a charity store before taking his cardboardsleeping mat to L.A.’s notorious Skid Row.

He tells WENN, “Just living in those clothes helped me, getting my stink in it. 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.

“It’s tough at night. 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.

“I went out with a piece of cardboard, a knapsack and my wardrobe – bare bones. I was sleeping head to feet along the buildings and I took my experience back to (director) Oren (Moverman) and some things felt right. Like a journalist, you bring it (to) your editor/director and hope they don’t cut the s**t out of it and they honour what you brought them.”