Actors are sometimes willing to undergo crazy events to perfectly fit a role. Most of the time, these changes are minimal, a little makeup here, a little dress up here. Simple stuff. But there are situations where things can become a little bit extreme. For instance, does gaining 100 pounds in six months sound like a normal thing to do? No, of course not. What about losing 60 pounds so you look like a walking skeleton? Sound easy? No way, yet some actors/actresses are willing to endure the challenge of drastic weight gain/loss. And as a side bonus, it shows the average person that they can change their weight if they work hard enough at it.
Although, weight transformations aren’t the only method used to transform actors. The last person in this countdown was willing to get a piercing, and I’m not only referring to the ears (think chest areas). That’s dedication right there, but at least it can easily be removed. This also might surprise you, but it turns out that people look COMPLETELY different when their eyebrows are shaved or bleached. This contributes to how shocking the transformations are, despite being such a small and easy change compared to the other techniques mentioned. If anything, this list displays the dedication that some actors/actresses really have. They’re willing to use giant chunks of their time (6-12 months), just so they can best represent the character they’re acting as. Not many creatives can say that they packed on 20 pounds of muscle, or lost 40 pounds of weight just so they can perform their art. This is what it takes to be a successful actor/actress, so it’s definitely not for everybody. Let’s go ahead and dive in to this extreme list. Maybe you’ll get an idea of just how extreme these actors/actresses really are, then you can really appreciate them for their hard work.
9. Richard Gere in Time Out of Mind
This one isn’t actually that extreme, really it’s more funny than anything else. Richard Gere plays a homeless man and was in character while filming. Somebody saw him rummaging through the garbage and offered up her pizza, to which Richard responded with “Thank you so much. God bless you.” It wasn’t till much later that this person realized she was giving pizza to Richard Gere, when she saw pictures of the event online.
8. Christian Bale in The Machinist
Starting off is Christian Bale, an actor who’s experienced with yo-yo diets to the extreme. The role required him to play a skinny insomniac, and he perfectly looked the part. He lost over 63 pounds for the role, changing his weight from 185 to 122 pounds. The kicker? He almost went for another 20. Strangely enough, he had a relatively easy time losing the weight. Luckily though, he didn’t go for the extra weight loss, as he might have pushed his luck a little too far in that situation.
7. Christian Bale in The Dark Knight
What do you think happened to Christian after finishing The Machinist? Did he gain back the weight he lost? Yes he did, and then some. Gorging himself on pizza and ice cream, he bulked up to a hefty 220 pounds. This ended up being too much weight for the role of Batman, so he dropped 40 pounds but ultimately ended up at 189 pounds. Talk about yo-yo dieting!
6. Jared Leto in Chapter 27
Jared Leto gained over 67 pounds for his role as the deranged fan and assassin of John Lennon. Unfortunately for him, the role was not as a studly beefcake, but instead a pudgy fan. I don’t need to explain the health issues that go into being overweight, but like one might imagine, health issues did arise from his weight gain. He developed gout, which is a type of arthritis. Luckily though, he managed to lose back most of the weight while going on tour with his band, 30 Seconds to Mars. He’s since learned how unhealthy it is gain fat for a role and vowed never to do it again.
5. 50 cent in Things Fall Apart
Musclebound, 50 Cent needed to lose weight to play a cancer patient. How did he do it? Simple, living off of a liquid diet and running on a treadmill for 3 hours a day. What was the main problem he encountered? Still looking muscular even though he was losing lots of weight. But since the role had sentimental value to him, as his friend died of cancer when he was younger, he wasn’t satisfied until he somewhat resembled his friend in his final days. In a previous unfortunate turn of events, 50 Cent has already experienced drastic weight loss. He was shot in the jaw in 2000, and could only drink a liquid diet while his face healed. He says dieting was much easier back than as he was forced to do it, doing it for the movie required immense discipline.
4. Russel Crowe in Body of Lies
Russel wanted to look like a retired football player with bum knees, like somebody who sits around most of the day and eats what he wants. Was he a success? I think so. Russel had an easy time bulking up by eating a lot of burgers and simply being sedentary. Eventually he reached his mark, weighing in at a hefty 257 lbs.
3. Lisbeth Slander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Let’s look at somebody who’s transformation isn’t weight related. Instead, Lisbeth Slander needed to get some piercings. Where? You know, the ears, the lip, the brow, the nose… And, “ahem” the nipple. Not many actors/actresses can say they’ve pierced all over for a role, but Lisbeth Slander can. In addition, she cut her hair and bleached her eyebrows and let me tell you, bleached eyebrows completely change her appearance (just like with Charlize Theron).
2. Charlize Theron in Monster
Charlize Theron didn’t undergo as extreme a transformation as some of the other actors, but what she did do was drastically alter her image. First, she put on 30 pounds of fat. She started with the Krispy Kreme donuts, and then moved on to potato chips when she grew tired of them. But the devil’s in the details. What do I mean? In addition to the weight gain, she added some teeth prosthetics, blotchy makeup on her face and some bleached eyebrows (which add to the transformation immensely). This completed her transformation, and though it’s not much, you can’t even recognize her anymore. This just goes to show that a little bit of detail can change things completely.
1. Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club
Matthew McConaughey is another example of an actor going from buff to thin. The role is that of an aids patient that deals drugs on the side, and to play the role he lost over 38 lbs. The number might not be as extreme as some of these other actors/actresses, but what makes it so interesting is how jacked Matthew normally is and then seeing this thin, weak looking version of him comparatively. It’s impressive and shows that nearly anybody can change their body composition drastically if they alter their lifestyle enough.