Quite a lot of the time, acting isn't as easy as we think. Rarely is it the case that an actor rocks up to set, does their 9-5 and leaves it at that. Major roles require major commitment and call for way more than mental preparations. To truly get into character, aesthetics have to be taken into account in order for an actor to resemble the person they are trying to portray.
Here are 20 actors who've undergone major physical changes for their movie roles:
1. Anne Hathaway - Les Miserablés
Weight Loss: 25lb - 10lb in three weeks before filming, and 15lb during.
"I was on a starvation diet to look like I was near death in a film... but I went at it with a plan and I had a guide, a nutritionist kind of helped me with it.
I just had to stop eating for a total of 13 days shooting."
2. Renee Zellweger - Bridget Jones's Diary
Weight Gain: 20lbs (twice)
"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."
3. Christian Bale - Machinist
Weight Loss: 63lbs
"I have no goal of seeing if I can become invisible one day, eat so little that I disappear. I didn't take this job because I went, 'Oh, there's a physical transformation needed.' I always go, 'Damn! There's a physical transformation needed!'"
4. Charlize Theron - Monster
Weight Gain: 30lbs, in addition to shaving off her eyebrows and donning prosthetic teeth.
“I first began stuffing myself with Krispy Kreme doughnuts, but after a while I got sick of them. I love potato chips, so that was a good thing for me. I’m a salty girl so I had my secret stash with me of potato chips at all times.”
5. Matthew Fox - Alex Cross
Weight Loss: 44lbs
"If I'm honest, sometimes I f**king hated it. I guess if you removed the 'result' part of it then I can't say I enjoyed it."
6. Matthew Mcconaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
Weight Loss: 47lb
“That was rough. I got down to 143lbs and I was always hungry, and irritable. My body resembled a baby bird with its mouth open, crying, ‘Feed me, feed me,’ and you realize momma bird ain’t going to feed you. It’s hard.”
7. Mila Kunis - Black Swan
Weight Loss: 20lbs.
"I trained four hours a day, seven days a week, for seven months. I had one day off on my birthday and half a day off for the Emmys and the Golden Globes. On those days my ballet instructor worked with me from 5am to 11am, then I went to hair and make-up and on to the awards shows."
8. Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Weight Loss: 20lbs
"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."
9. Tom Hanks - Castaway
Weight Loss: 50lbs
"The hardest thing was the time. I wish I could have just taken a pill and lost all the weight but the reality was that I had to start in October knowing that we were going to go back in February. The idea of looking at four months of constant vigilance as far as what I ate, as well as two hours a day in the gym doing nothing but a monotonous kind of work-out, that was formidable. You have to power yourself through it almost by some sort of meditation trickery. It’s not glamorous.”
10. Chris Pratt - Guardians of the Galaxy
Weight Loss: 65lbs
“Six months seems like a long time unless you’re looking backwards… all you have to do is just a few things everyday and remain consistent, and time will fly just as fast as it flies if you’re working hard or not. If you just cut the crap out of your diet, and if you spend an hour a day doing something physical that will make you sweat, six months will pass by, you will feel better mentally, physically, spiritually — it all is tied together.”
11. Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler
Weight Loss: 30lbs
“I knew if I was hungry that I was in the right spot. Physically, it showed itself, but chemically and mentally, I think it was even a more fascinating journey. It became a struggle for me.”
12. Jake Gyllenhaal - Southpaw
Weight Gain: 45lbs (from Nightcrawler weight loss)
"I went into full training-camp mode and I got myself—what I consider in my mind as an actor—in shape to fight. I was literally learning the skills of boxing, which is not only for the body, but also for the mind. You can't play a boxer and just look like a boxer; you have to believe you can exist in that world."
13. Matt Damon - The Informant
Weight Gain: 30lbs
"It was very, very easy to gain the weight. It was very, very fun, probably the funnest time I had working, because I didn't have to go to the gym after work and I just ate everything I could see."
14. Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
Weight Loss: 40lbs
“It changes the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you think.”
15. Jared Leto - Chapter 27
Weight Gain: 67lbs
"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."
16. 50 Cent - Things Fall Apart
Weight Loss: 54lbs
"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."
17. Russell Crowe - Body of Lies
Weight Gain: 63lbs
“If you want to put on weight, you just elect to live a sedentary life style. Just as soon as you stop actually being active and decide to eat what ever you want, then these two things will combine very quickly.”
18. Colin Farrell - Triage
Weight Loss: 44lbs
"I lost weight because my role demanded it. It was all very healthy."
19. Robert De Niro - Raging Bull
Weight Gain: 60lbs
“The first 15lb was fun, the rest was hard work.”
20. Chris Hemsworth - In The Heart of The Sea
Weight Loss: 15lbs (on top of losing an unconfirmed amount for thriller Blackhat)
“That’s all we spoke about. You’ve got 15 burly blokes on the sea and all we talked about was our diet and who’d lost more weight and who’s looking really skinny. It’s ridiculous!”
Source: US Magazine