There is no denying that the morbid fascination of watching a celebrity undergo an extreme body transformation can make a film all the more appealing to moviegoers, but when do they push stars too far?
Whether it's cramming 10 big macs into you pie hole everyday to pile on the pounds or barely surviving on tiny scraps of sustenance, extreme weight gain or loss puts a huge toll on the body that really proves an actor's dedication to their role.
Below are some of the celebrities who were willing to literally shape their very being to take on challenging movie roles, but who do you think took things too far?
Chris Pratt - Guardians of the Galaxy
Weight loss/gain: Lost 60lbs of fat and gained a hella lot of muscle mass
How did they do it? After bumbling around as the decidedly cuddly Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation, Chris Pratt had to shift some serious poundage to gain a body fit for a Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy.
By subscribing to a grueling workout plan, including four to six sessions a week and entirely changing his way of thinking about eating with the help of nutritionalist Phil Goglia, Chris Pratt transformed his figure in just six months.
Quote: Although everyone is enamored with the buff new Pratt, the 35-year-old star is a realist when it comes to keeping in shape. He told Men's Health magazine that:
"I can tell that people are motivated by my transformations, and that feels really good. But everyone should know when the movie star stuff is over, I might go back to being the fat guy. My wife wants a pizza oven—she’s going to learn how to bake bread, and I’m going to eat it. I love the health benefits of exercising, and I have a kid now. By exercising, you really can add 20, 30 years to your life. But you gotta live too, so hopefully I’ll find a nice balance."
Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables
Weight loss/gain: A loss of 25lbs
How did they do it? When she signed up to play Fantine, the destitute prostitute in Les Miserables , Hathaway knew that she would have to look totally malnourished to be convincing in the role.
Although the role won her an Oscar, Anne Hathaway really had to struggle to force her already slim frame to drop the pounds and she ended up eating just 2 thin squares of dried oatmeal per day to drop the final 15lbs. Ouch.
Quote: Hathaway admits that she had to be totally obsessed with the idea of losing weight to be able to pull off such an extreme diet. She explained:
"I had to be obsessive about it–the idea was to look near death. Looking back on the whole experience–and I don't judge it in any way—it was definitely a little nuts. It was definitely a break with reality, but I think that’s who Fantine is anyway. I was in such a state of deprivation–physical and emotional. When I got home, I couldn't react to the chaos of the world without being overwhelmed. It took me weeks till I felt like myself again."
Fifty Cent - Things Fall Apart
Weight loss/gain: A loss of 50lbs
How did they do it? Fifty Cent lost a staggering amount of weight for the movie Things Fall Apart, which is about a football player who succumbs to cancer.
After taking on the role to honor a friend who died of cancer, 50 Cent lost a staggering 50lbs from his ripped physique by running on a treadmill for three hours a day and living off a liquid diet.
Quote: 50 Cent was desperate to visually convey the ravaging effects of cancer to his audience, he explained:
"I was so into what I was doing that I wasn't really concerned with that. I just kept looking at myself in the mirror feeling like I have to be smaller. I had to match. I had so much muscle on me that it was hard for me to lose definition even as I got lighter and slimmer. I started running to suppress my appetite. Towards the end it was really difficult. It was like, if I don't get close enough to what my best friend looked like to me at that point before he passed, then I'm not doing the story any justice."
Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
Weight loss/gain: A loss of 47lbs
How did they do it? To be convincing as a man dying of AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey had to loose a lot of weight, so he put himself on a severely dull diet to seriously shrink himself.
McConaughey once claimed that he ate two egg whites and a plain fillet of chicken with a can of diet coke every day to loose the weight. He also shut himself inside for six months to gain a deathly pallor.
Quote: Although losing the weight was hard going, McConaughey did experience some unexpected side effects, he explained:
"The surprise was how the energy that I lost from the neck down transferred to the neck up. I became clinically aware, almost hyper, I needed three hours less sleep a night. I had an amazing amount of energy from the head up. That was something I didn't know was going to happen."
Christian Bale - The Machinist
Weight loss/gain: A loss of 63lbs
How did they do it? Losing 63lbs in four months is no mean feat and Bale achieved his truly skeletal frame by eating an apple and a can of tuna every day.
Losing so much weight so quickly had some pretty dire consequences for Bale including losing so much muscle elasticity that his ass literally dropped off his hip sockets, but the 41-year-old actor is no stranger to extreme body transformations. Just check out this article to see what I mean!
Quote: Bale didn't hesitate to totally immerse himself into the weight loss process, he explained that he enjoyed:
"the challenge and slightly self-destructive urges involved in losing that amount of weight."
Charlize Theron - Monster
Weight loss/gain: 30lb weight gain
How did they do it? Theron packed on 30lbs to play the serial killer Aileen Wuornos by stuffing her face with Krispy Kreme donuts and carrying potato chips with her to snack on at all times.
Quote: Charlize Theron was very pragmatic about gaining the weight to portray the troubled roadside prostitute who became a killer, she explained:
"It wasn't about getting fat. Aileen wasn't fat. Aileen carried scars on her body from her lifestyle, and if I'd gone to make this movie with my body—physically I'm very athletic—I don't know that I would have felt the things Aileen felt with her body. It was about getting to a place where I felt closer to how Aileen was living."
Tom Hardy - Bronson
Weight loss/gain: Gained 43lbs
How did they do it? Tom Hardy had just over five weeks to become the beefy and notoriously violent British prisoner, Charles Bronson and he did it with gusto.
Gaining a rate of over 7lbs a week, Hardy stuffed himself with ice cream, pizza and full fat coke along with copious amounts of rice and chicken to bulk up. Along with the diet, Hardy trained with an ex-US marine and did a hell of a lot of weightlifting to bulk up his forearms, chest and neck as quickly as possible.
Hardy went on to gain even more bulk to play Bane in Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.
Quote: Although his physique was impressive for Bronson, Hardy's methods were hardly scientific, he explained:
"For Bronson I just ate chocolate and pizza, lifted Pnut [Hardy's personal trainer] up and down the stairs, played Xbox, shaved my head and grew a moustache."
Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Weight loss/gain: A loss of 20lbs
How did they do it? Natalie Portman worked out for five to eight hours a day, six days a week to obtain her impossibly skinny ballerina physique. Along with ballet lessons, she swam and practiced a series of conditioning experts by former ballerina Mary Helen Bowers.
Portman also seriously restricted her diet to strip weight from her already tiny frame and survived on little more than carrots and almonds while undergoing the extreme training.
Quote: The punishing regime for Black Swan really pushed Natalie Portman to the edge, she explained that:
"There were some nights that I thought I literally was going to die. It was the first time I understood how you could get so wrapped up in a role that it could sort of take you down."
Jared Leto - Chapter 27
Weight loss/gain: A gain of 67lbs
How did they do it? In Jared Leto's own words, his methods for extreme wait gain were pretty grotesque, he explained:
"[I did it by] eating everything you think you're not supposed to—pizza, pasta, ice cream, but my little trick was I would take pints of chocolate Häagen Dazs and put them in the microwave and drink them. The sick thing is, I would actually pour olive oil and soy sauce into the mixture as well—to get me bloated even more."
Quote: Jared Leto won't be racing to gain colossal amounts of weight again anytime soon, he told The Guardian that:
"Really, it's a stupid thing to do. I got gout, and my cholesterol went up so fast in such a short time that my doctors wanted to put me on Lipitor, which is for much, much older people. Again, though, a fascinating journey. I had some reservations because I love everything John Lennon ever did. But in the end I wanted to explore a specimen embodying the total failure of humanity, just walk down this brutal path."
Renee Zellweger - Bridget Jones
Weight loss/gain: Gained 30lbs
How did they do it? Zellweger ate over 4000 calories a day to bulk up for the cuddly Bridget Jones and refrained from doing any physical exercise whatsoever.
Quote: Although eating junk food non stop for weeks and actively trying to put on weight might seem like a blissful prospect, Zellweger explained to The Daily Mail that it's not all it's cracked up to be, she said:
"It sounds like heaven, for two days it's bliss and then you're full, OK? And you can then indulge all your fantasies about over-eating. Fantasies about non-stop chocolate consumption or your fantasies about ordering the pizza and the spaghetti and the garlic bread. Then after a week your glucose levels are going crazy. You're up and down and all over the place. It doesn't feel good, and no one wants to hear that, but it's the truth."
Matt Damon - Courage Under Fire
Weight loss/gain: A loss of 40lbs
How did they do it? To lose enough weight to be believable as a veteran addicted to drugs, Matt Damon munched through 2 egg whites one baked potato and one chicken breast per day.
This diet caused Damon's health to become so frail that he required medical supervision for seven months after the role was over. This serious method actor wasn't put off though, and he went on to gain a bunch of weight for The Informer, and will be on a strict diet again as we speak for Ridley Scott's The Martian, where he plays an astronaut stranded on the red planet for hundreds of days.
Quote: Matt Damon might be willing to undergo extreme diets, but he understands the risks now a lot better than he did when he was a youngster. He explained:
"I had to be thin and went on an unsupervised diet which could have killed me... A doctor told me later I could have shrunk my heart permanently. I am 5ft 11in and went down to 135lb from my usual weight, between 173lb and 176lb. It didn't do me any good."