Sure, celebs are always on some diet or the other, but when it comes to certain films, they go all out to live their characters – even if they have to reduce themselves to skin and bone or bulk up to muscles and fat to look the part.
1. Anne Hathaway – Les MiserablesShe may have had to get an all-new bod to get into the famed Catwoman suit for The Dark Knight Rises, but Anne Hathaway had to look “near death” for her next onscreen outing in Les Miserables. It is said that she lost 25 pounds for the film and was consuming less than 500 calories a day to achieve rapid weight loss. It is also said that Hathaway dropped 10 pounds by undergoing a strict cleanse before filming began, and lost the remaining 15 pounds by eating just two thin squares of dried oatmeal paste a day.
2. Matthew McConaughey – The Dallas Buyer’s ClubHe’s known for parading around shirtless and flaunting his buff bod, but Matthew McConaughey has also undergone a dramatic physical transformation to play a man diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1986. The actor is said to have lost 38 pounds to play the role. He attributes his weight loss to “doing cardio” and watching what he eats – “90 per cent” of it.
3. Matt Damon – Courage Under FireBefore he won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon starred in the war drama, Courage Under Fire, in which he played a heroin addict. He lost 40 pounds in four months to play the role by running 12 miles a day and eating only chicken, egg whites, steamed broccoli and plain potatoes. However, in hindsight, Damon said the weight-loss regime was excessive. “I was getting dizzy spells and hot flashes,” he said. It is said that he also suffered from adrenal-gland problems as a result of his dieting, and doctors said he was fortunate his heart didn’t shrink.
5. Ryan Reynolds – Blade: TrinityThe Green Lantern star, Ryan Reynolds beefed up for this role in the third installment of the Blade trilogy. This move changed him from a seemingly charming (smarmy?) typecast frat-type, into a somewhat versatile actor with range that began to include action films.
6. Christian Bale – The Machinist and The FighterChristian Bale is known to yo-yo as far as his weight is concerned. His first dramatic weight loss was seen for the 2004 film The Machinist, for which he went from 173 pounds to about 110 pounds to play an insomniac. His diet consisted of one can of tuna and an apple per day. Later, for the 2010 film The Fighter in which he played drug addict Dicky Eklund, Bale dropped the weight and muscle he gained while playing Batman to look emaciated, but it was nowhere near the 63-pound weight loss he underwent for The Machinist.
7. Charlize Theron – MonsterThe drop-dead gorgeous Theron gained 30 lbs for her role of a deranged, killer prostitute in this film. Hailed as one of the best performances in the history of Cinema by Roger Ebert, Theron went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress in this film.
8. Gerard Butler – 300Perhaps one of the most famous movie transformations is Gerard Butler as King Leonidas in the epic movie 300. In this movie, everyone seems to be big and completely ripped with 8 packs! Initially a lot of people suggested that this was done by CGI, but the results were in fact real. In training for the movie, while most of the actors trained hard for eight to ten weeks, Butler decided on a twelve-week regimen that consisted of a 300-rep (multiple exercise) routine and strict diet. The end result was an imposing physique, and the envy of most graphic novel readers. Gerard maintained some of the weight and physique he had in 300, although his weight does tend to balloon up and down since the days when he was super skinny like the photo above.
9. Hilary Swank – Million Dollar BabySwank is no stranger to changing her appearance for a movie role. After playing a boy in Boys Don’t Cry, she practically became one for her performance in the beautifully tragic film about a girl boxer and Clint Eastwood.
10. Will Smith – AliWill Smith is now recognized as a big guy, playing roles such as Mike Lowrey in Bad Boys 2, Robert Neville in I am Legend, Del Spooner in I Robot, and Hancock. However this wasn’t always the case. During the days of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, although he was tall, he was always very skinny and lanky! This all changed however when he took on the role of Muhammad Ali, and he went from 185lbs to 220lbs. Will has since trimmed down, but says that he has maintained 90% of the weight he gained but is now much leaner.
11. Renée Zellweger – Bridget JonesThe strangely successful Zellweger is normally a size 6. However, when filming her twice reprised role as Bridget Jones in the eponymous movie franchise, she ballooned up to plump 14. She became famous, not only for ballooning up in weight for the character, but also for losing it again afterwards. Her weight gain is achieved largely through eating a few portions of carbs and trans fats per day in the form of donuts! She is quoted as saying that it feels like heaven for a few days, and then as your body reacts to the junk you’re eating it’s not a great place to be.
12. Daniel Craig – James BondDaniel Craig is another actor who has always been in good shape. A lot of people noticed that he was very lean in films like Layer Cake and Tomb Raider, albeit he was lacking some muscle. However this all changed when he took on the modern day role of 007 (James Bond) in the hit film Casino Royale. Daniel Craig looked in awesome shape in this film, and the scene of where he rose out of the water garnered as much awed talk as that of Halle Berry in Die Another Day.
13. Natalie Portman – Black SwanAs a vegetarian/vegan, Natalie Portman always has a lovely figure and shape. However she underwent some extreme weight loss for her role as Nina Sayers in the film Black Swan. Anyone who’s seen this film will agree that she was painfully thin in it.
14. Taylor Lautner – Twilight SagaWith the popularity of Twilight, it’s pretty hard to ignore the success Taylor has had with transforming his body to look like that of werewolf (if you know what I mean?). Taylor went from being a pretty skinny, but normal looking teenager to looking really huge. The fact his body fat has remained so low also makes him look really athletic. Despite being in his teens in the picture below, most men wouldn’t mind looking like this!
15. Dwayne Johnson – Fast FiveDwayne Johnson aka The Rock is known for being a big guy. He is a former NFL player, and he was a WWE wrestler. There are no skinny guys allowed here. However, in fifth installment of the Fast and the Furious movies (Fast 5), I could not believe how enormous he looked. He made Vin Diesel look small, and Vin is a big guy. It turns out Dwayne really tried to bulk up for this movie, gaining 30lbs of size, putting him over 240lbs! He looked like one scary, badass dude.
16. Chris Hemsworth – ThorTo play the role of Thor, Chris Hemsworth made some huge transformations to his body, by eating and lifting like a Demi God! Apparently everyone was very surprised but impressed by how well he did, however he almost did a little too well, as there were whispers he started to get a bit too big for his costume!