Considered part of the job, it is absolutely standard for an actor to change his or her looks for a role, whether it's a different haircut, color, or outfit. Some take it a step further and either gain or lose weight to transform into another person.
One actor who constantly goes above and beyond what is expected is the talented Christian Bale, who lost a whopping 65 pounds to portray insomniac Trevor Reznik in the film The Machinist in 2004.
When I first saw the pictures, I grabbed my stomach in pain. He looks like he's about one step away from death.
Dining on only an apple and a can of tuna a day leading up to the beginning of production, Bale also curbed his appetite by relying on cigarettes.
This intense actor even wanted to lose five more pounds, but medical professionals warned him against it. They told him he would probably die if his weight got down any lower.
His body had begun to eat away at his muscles, so much so that Bale noticed he couldn't run for longer than a minute or two.
Bale explains that when he initially read the script, he knew he had to lose weight but didn't realize just how much. He found a picture of Hank Williams, the American musician, getting released from jail, and it inspired the look he set out to achieve.
Although Bale received guidance from a medical professional, he still opted to take it to the extreme and lose an additional twenty pounds despite warnings from his doctors.
"I had been to a nutritionist and when I had got down to what she had told me was a healthy weight, I just went, 'You know what? I can go more than this. I can keep going.' So I lost another 20 pounds below what she said I should stop at..."
I suppose when your mind is so focused on a goal, one can lose sight of the dangers that come with taking such extreme measures.
He truly took it to the extreme, so much so, that his butt completely vanished and practically fell out. Co-star Michael Ironside remembers one such particular day on set:
"I remember on The Machinist, I came to work one day, and we were shooting in Barcelona, Spain, and our trailers were these little Spanish 2-wheeled cabanas that were parked in front of this actual working machine shop. And I heard 'pssst...Michael!' from behind one of the cabanas...
And I went over, and it was Chris. And he said, 'Can you look at this?' And he turned and dropped his overalls, which he was naked under. And he had lost an INCREDIBLE amount of weight for the character. And he said 'Michael, there's something wrong with my ass, can you have a look?'
And the muscles in his ass had literally dropped out of the sockets of his hips. The dignity of the muscles, his ass had literally dropped out of the hips and thigh bones. And I said, 'Hey Chris, your ass has dropped.' And he said, 'What do you mean?' And I said, 'You've stopped losing body fat, and now you're actually losing elasticity of muscles' - I forget the exact medical term for it, but I said, 'You've gone beyond body fat, and now you're into actual muscle tissue and things are being affected."
I personally can't imagine life without my cushiony booty.
Following The Machinist, Bale only had a few months to get bulked up for his role as Batman in Batman Begins. Although the costumes were designed to exaggerate muscle definition, Bale discusses how he still had to become physically fit to achieve what was needed in his performance.
"Well, they help out. But there was still a real fitness level that I had to achieve to be able to do what was demanded of me. So it was like a massive shock to my body because of what I was trying to get it to do. Also, my metabolism had to get back up to speed, because my heart had got used to a whole different way of living for some time."
The most mind-blowing part about it is the quick turnaround in which Bale had to gain the weight back plus some to portray a proper and beefed up Batman. He credits pizza and ice cream to bringing his weight back up.
It is insanity to think that someone would be willing to take their body nearly to the brink of death and back for a role, but I perhaps that's what makes the greatest truly the greatest.