It is always surprising to see what some actors are willing to do to deliver a good performance. The commitment that some actors make to their roles goes beyond mere acting, and sometimes they transform their bodies in extraordinary and extreme ways.
In some of these cases, dramatic transformations are done to help an actor better resemble a real-life figure. In other cases, it is done to transform the actor into a compelling action hero. Whatever the reason, these intense changes really show just how far actors are willing to go for their craft.
10 Robert De Niro – Raging Bull (1980)
When talking about incredible physical transformations on the part of actors, it’s hard not to immediately think of Robert De Niro’s iconic performance in Raging bull. De Niro plays real-life boxer Jake LaMotta in this story of his rise and fall in the world of boxing.
De Niro got into shape for the film’s opening boxing scenes, but it was his transformation outside the ring that garnered the most attention. The movie took a short hiatus so De Niro could gain 60 pounds to play LaMotta once the boxer retired and washed.
9 50 Cent – All Things Fall Apart (2011)
While some of these transformations lead to accolades and awards, as was the case for De Niro in Raging bull, others go largely unnoticed. On All things fall apartCurtis “50 Cent” Jackson played a college football star whose hopes for an athletic career are dashed when he is diagnosed with cancer.
Jackson clearly had a lot of passion for the project, even sharing a credit as a co-author. He also lost 54 pounds to play the promising athlete as his body deteriorated. Sadly, Jackson’s movie and performance didn’t get much attention.
8 Chris Pratt – Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Many of the actors who play MCU heroes have had to work hard to transform their bodies into these iconic characters. However, in the case of Chris Pratt, the change was even more shocking than that of his colleagues.
Given the fact that he’s now one of the biggest action movie stars in the world, it’s easy to forget that Pratt was once known as the funny chubby guy in Parks and Recreation. But, after being cast as Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy, lost 60 pounds and achieved a much more muscular physique than he was known for.
7 Renee Zellweger – Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
People often think of intense dramas or great action movies when talking about these drastic body transformations, but Renee Zellweger showed that this kind of commitment can also be effective for romantic comedies.
On The diaryof Bridget Jones, plays the lead role of a lonely English woman who hopes to improve her life and finally find love. Zellweger gives a charming and funny performance and she gained 25 pounds to play this ordinary woman, which added a lot to the role.
6 Will Smith – Ali (2001)
Since he became an action star in Bad boysWill Smith has always been in pretty impressive shape. However, to play one of the most legendary athletes of all time, even he needed to gain weight.
Smith plays Muhammad Ali in Michael Mann’s epic boxer biopic. In addition to mimicking Ali’s distinctive speech and arrogance, Smith also got into boxing form. He trained extensively and gained 45 pounds for the role.
5 Natalie Portman – Black Swan (2010)
The intense psychological thriller Black Swan It has many mind-blowing aspects to it, so fans may not have immediately recognized the shocking transformation Natalie Portman underwent for her role.
Portman plays an obsessive and determined dancer who gradually loses control of her reality. In a testament to how incredibly demanding the ballet world can be, Portman lost 20 pounds. This helped her portray the type of person willing to dedicate her body to this profession.
4 Jared Leto – Chapter 27 (2007)
Even in his role as the Joker in the DCEU, Jared Leto is seen as someone who goes out of his way to act methodically. Perhaps the most dramatic example of this is in his surprising transformation to play the role of Mark David Chapman in Chapter 27.
Chapman was the man who killed John Lennon and he looks nothing like Leto. However, Leto was willing to gain more than 60 pounds to play Chapman. According Grunge, the transformation made Leto unrecognizable on paper and reportedly forced him to use a wheelchair due to the sudden weight gain.
3 Linda Hamilton – Terminator 2: Last Judgment (1991)
Linda Hamilton already became a star thanks to her lead role as Sarah Conner in The terminator. But, while that movie primarily portrayed her as the helpless target on the run from the relentless cyborg killer, James Cameron had different plans for the sequel’s character.
To play Sarah as a hardened badass in Terminator 2, Hamilton was transformed into an impressive action heroine. Hamilton lost 12 pounds to play the role of the skinny, mean hero while adding considerable muscle to his smaller frame.
two Charlize Theron – Monster (2003)
Charlize Theron has shown incredible versatility as an actress over the years, and her Oscar-winning role in Monster is an excellent example of this. Theron shed her charismatic and likable personality to play the real-life killer Aileen Wuornos.
The role also required Theron to change his appearance to match the infamous serial killer, wearing compelling prosthetics. He also gained 30 pounds to look more like Wuornos’s appearance at the time.
1 Christian Bale – The Machinist (2004)
Few actors are as well known for their on-screen transformations as Christian Bale. He’s made a number of movies that have required him to lose or gain considerable weight, but his most notable transformation came in the underrated thriller. The Machinist.
The psychological thriller stars Bale as a man with insomnia who becomes anorexic. Bale lost 63 pounds, which gave him an unsettling and unhealthy appearance in the movie. More surprisingly, he then quickly regained all that muscle to play Batman in The beginning of batman.
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