Actors put themselves through some pretty absurd things to nail roles in big films, one of the most common is body transformations. Here are some that have to be seen to be believed.
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Alright, alright, alright. McConaughey has really reformed his acting career of late no better example of this is his role in Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey plays a “redneck” who learns he has contracted AIDS and has 30 days to live. Refusing to give up, he attempts to smuggle illegal pharmaceuticals in to the U.S in the hope of extending his and the lives of others. McConaughey fresh of his role in True Detective lost around 25 kilos in under 4 months preparing for his new role, eating only fish and vegetables. Straight after shooting McConaughey went and had what he describes as “The Ultimate Cheeseburger, baby”.
Tom Hanks – Castaway
Tom Hanks is a master, he can literally play any role from a symbology genius to well, whatever Forest Gump is. For Castaway, Hanks lost 25 kilos going from 102 to 77. Hanks was playing the role of a Fedex executive who survives on a stranded island with a volleyball after a plane his was on crashes. The best thing about Hanks’ weight loss was that he actually gained weight for the beginning of the film only to lose it during the shoot. We got to see it happen on screen as he dieted his way through shooting. Hanks gave up everything but coffee as “that was one thing that I couldn’t give up”. Having bounced around all different weights anywhere from 120 to 70kgs for his film roles, Hanks believes this yo-yo dieting is partly to blame for his now type 2 diabetes.
Natalie Portman – Black Swan
Natalie Portman thought she was going to die preparing for the her role in the Black Swan. Playing the role of a crazed ballerina Portman would eat only carrots and almonds and trained 8-10 hours a day for 6 months. Portman in preparation for the role dislocated a rib, sprained her ankles multiple times and had feet that had “barely any skin left”. The already small Portman lost 10 kilos as she prepared for the role. Her troubles paid off as that year she won the academy award for Best Actress.
Chris Pratt – Guardians of the Galaxy
Chris Pratt has taken over Hollywood recently and it all began when he played a space adventurer who has to save the universe in Guardians of the Galaxy. Pratt who caught the attention of Hollywood with his portrayal of Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation ditched his “usual diet of beer” and turned into an exercise freak. His workout consisted of running, swimming, boxing, kickboxing, a triathlon, and consuming 4,000 calories a day. Pratt lost 30 kilograms for the role which he subsequently put back on for Parks and Rec.
Charlize Theron – Monster
One of the most beautiful woman on earth, Charlize Theron turned herself into serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. Based on a true story, Theron had something to work off and left no stone unturned. Theron smoked, drank, shaved off her eyebrows and gorged on Krispy Kreme donuts and potato chips, gaining 15 kilograms for the role. Almost unrecognisable Theron was awarded the academy award for Best Actress that year. Straight after filming she returned to her usual amazing self.
Robert De Niro – Raging Bull
De Niro is the original. He’s been transforming himself for roles since before some of the other people in this list were born. Perhaps his most drastic transformation was for the Scorsese film Raging Bull. De Niro portrays the former middle weight boxing champion Jake LaMotta as he rises to champion and then subsequently falls to bar owner/comedian. De Niro first lost around 15 kilos as he trained to be in ‘boxing fit’ condition for the film, even competing in three fights, two of which he won. Then halfway through shooting he left and gained 30 kilograms to play LaMotta later in life. De Niro had trouble breathing and broke out in rashes when he gained the 30 kilograms. During filming Scorsese was forced to shoot De Niro’s ‘heavy’ scenes quite minimally fearing for De Niro’s health as he would become light headed and tired.
Christian Bale – The Machinist
Bale is a nut job when it comes to transforming for a role. No better example of this is his role in the film The Machinist as Trevor Reznik, a factory worker with insomnia. Bale was not told to lose weight for the role, the weight loss was his decision ‘I was intrigued by a perverse nature of mine just to see if I can go beyond what I’ve been told is actually safe and OK, and see if I could push the limits,’. Bale lost 28 kilograms by consuming only vitamins, an apple and a can of tuna a day for over six months. He also became a chain smoker and didn’t exercise at all. Straight after shooting The Machinist Bale gained 31 kilograms for his role as Batman.
FUN FACT : Bale has transformed so much over his career as pictured below so much so that in the film American Hustle (not pictured below) De Niro had to ask who Bale was before shooting their scene together in the movie.
Vincent D’Onofrio gained 31 kilograms for his role in ‘Full Metal Jacket.’
Ryan Gosling gained 28 kilograms for ‘The Lovely Bones’ drinking melted ice cream – When he turned up to the set, they fired him for being ‘too fat’.
Jake Gyllenhaal looked gaunt after losing 15 kilograms pounds for his role in ‘Nightcrawler.’ Then put on 20 kilograms and got crazily ripped for his role in Southpaw.
Anne Hathaway lost 8 kilograms for her role in Les Miserables losing majority of it during the shoot.
Hilary Swank put on 9 kilograms of pure muscle for her role in Million Dollar Baby.