We all love watching a good, satisfying movie. Who on earth doesn’t, right? As fans, we all have to remember, however, that what makes a movie great goes beyond acting and script writing. There’s a lot of factor involved, and perhaps the most interesting one is the performance carried out by the actors themselves.
These actors spend months preparing themselves for the roles they play. And believe it or not, the preparation alone is way, way harder than acting. Some of them undergo extreme transformations to correctly fit into their roles. Some would grow a beard or cut their hair, while others would wear hideous makeup. But there are times when roles require an actor to either gain or lose weight.
Below are 10 examples of shocking weight transformations actors underwent for films.
#10. Adam Driver in Silence
Adam Driver is well-known for playing the character of Adam Sackler on the hit HBO TV series titled Girls. He’s also known for his big screen appearances in Paterson, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and Inside Llewyn Davis, among many others. Although he’s a longstanding actor in the industry, there’s one memorable film that brought his career further to success.
In 2016, Driver starred in a film helmed by the legendary Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, The Wolf of Wall Street) called Silence. He played Francisco Garupe, a Portuguese priest who traveled to Japan with another priest in hopes of finding their mentor. Driver, however, was asked to lose some weight just to fit for the role. He reportedly dropped at least 18 kilograms.
Driver was quoted saying,
I don’t think I’ve ever taken it to the extreme before. [ . . . ] You’re so hungry and so tired at some points that there’s nothing you can do.”
#9. Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw
If some actors either lose or gained weight, Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw was quite different. He had to muscle up for his leading role in the film. He played Billy Hope, a middleweight boxer preparing for a big fight that would help bring his family back together. Interestingly, this wasn’t the first move he had to do such a transformation. In Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal lost tremendous weight just to portray his nocturnal, psychopath character. Apart from muscling up, Gyllenhaal also underwent rigorous boxing training to shape himself up as a real boxer.
#8. Natalie Portman in Black Swan
If you think Natalie Portman is just an average Hollywood actress, better think again. In Black Swan, she had to drop around 9 kilograms just to look like a ballerina. And this was quite a struggle considering her already tiny body frame. Nonetheless, Portman practiced up to 16 hours each day and barely ate food to prepare for the film. She became so skinny that there were nights when she thought she was about 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.”
#7. Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy
We all know him as Peter Quill in the Guardians of the Galaxy. Pratt played the adventurer who rallies a very unlikely team of misfits in hopes of saving the entire galaxy from total destruction. Interestingly, he had to lose weight before he could even play the role. He went from the chubby dude to the shredded star of the hit franchise.
He said to have dropped over 27 kilograms within a period of six months, and he did this by sticking through a strict diet. He also underwent an extreme training regimen just to get the intended body shape for the superhero role.
#6. Christian Bale in The Machinist
If you’re not a fan of Christian Bale or at least you’re not convinced of him as an actor, then you better watch The Machinist. Not only was his acting great, he also proved time and again that he’s a phenomenal method actor. Bale is actually known for being a participant of the titular yo-yo diet. In The Machinist, he really pushed his body to the extreme. He shed 29 kilograms to portray the insomniac Trevor Reznik. In a day, he would only eat an apple and a can of tuna. He even opted to smoking cigarettes just to control his urge to eat.
#5. Charlize Theron in Monster
In Hollywood, Charlize Theron is known for being one of the most beautiful and talented actresses. Remember when she literally went bald for her role in Max Max? Yes, that was her right there. But perhaps her biggest onscreen transformation was the award-winning movie titled Monster. She played the role of Aileen Wuornos, who is a Daytona Beach prostitute-turned-serial-killer. Theron gained around 14 kilograms and even wore prosthetic teeth just to look exactly like the real-life serial killer. Her total appearance made her looked like a different person. As you can see in this photo, she was totally unrecognizable.
#4. Matthew Fox in Alex Cross
Matthew Fox is best known for playing the role of Dr. Jack Shepard in the hit TV series Lost. But it was in the film Alex Cross when critics and movie enthusiasts started to talk about his real talents. He plays the antagonist named Picasso, who is a sociopathic serial killer. Fox reportedly lost 18 kilograms, making him extremely thin. But to make his transformation acceptable, he had to rip his body from intense workouts. He underwent very hardcore training for at least five months leading up to the movie.
Fox said about the experience,
The training sessions were mostly circuit training . . . nonstop from exercise to exercise, never taking any breaks for about an hour and a half. I was burning a lot of calories and working on certain muscle groups.”
#3. Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
Since her blooming days in The Princess Diaries, Anne Hathaway steadily grew into a mature actress. Her surreal transformation was during her role in Les Miserables. She plays the starving Fantine, a role that actually put her into the hall of fame (at least that’s what most movie critics say). She lost around 11 kilograms, but 7 kilograms more were shredded in the last two weeks before the movie started filming. Although the director never wanted her to lose weight, Hathaway insisted. She also had her hair cut, which actually happened on camera.
#2. 50 Cent in All Things Fall Apart
If you’ve been a real hater of 50 Cent, then this story of him might redeem your views. The rapper-turned-actor has been a favorite in Hollywood, with movies such as Spy, Escape Plan, and Die Tryin’ to name a few. But in All Things Fall Apart, he took a very different move in his acting career. He dropped 23 kilograms just to play the role of Deon, a college football player who suffers from cancer. 50 Cent revealed that he wanted to play the role as a tribute to his friend who also suffered from the disease.
He did the transformation in just nine weeks, with a diet that involved liquid intake and treadmill exercise (three hours a day). He was even warned by his director to seek medical attention first before dropping more weight, but 50 Cent declined and went to lose more.
Toward 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.”
#1. Jared Leto in Chapter 27
Apart from being the lead vocalist of the American rock band 30 Seconds to Mars, Jared Leto is also a renowned Hollywood actor. He made appearances on films such as Requiem for a Dream, Lord of War, Fight Club, Panic Room, and Suicide Squad being his latest. Like Bale, Leto was a no stranger in the yo-yo diet. He already changed his appearance in a film called Dallas Buyers Club. But years before he starred in the latter, Leto underwent another massive transformation for a movie called Chapter 27. He played Mark David Chapman, the infamous mentally-disturbed assassin of the legendary John Lennon.
Leto gained around 30 kilograms just to play for the 2007 hit movie. The transformation was so disturbing that he suffered actual gout and high cholesterol. He said to have gained weight from eating microwaved pints of ice cream mixed with soy sauce and olive oil.
Alexandra Milchan, who was the film’s producer, had this to say:
Jared’s performance is worth watching the movie for. It’s shocking, astonishing, and amazing in every way.”
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