Hollywood Transformations: 8 Actors Who Drastically Changed for a Role


When it comes to preparing for a role, some actors are just more intense than others. Sometimes, it can be hard to equate a big name star to their on-screen alter-ego. For instance, I can’t even think of Ian Somerhalder as a real person every time I see him. He is Damon Salvatore and that’s it. His role is fantastic. There are many other actors who drastically changed their looks for their roles. Here’s a list of some of Hollywood’s most drastic physical transformations.

1. Chris Pratt

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The Twitterverse has been all over Chris Pratt’s incredible transformation for his role in Guardians of the Galaxy of late. And with good reason; the normally chubby star of NBC’s hit Parks and Recreation cleaned up his diet, began working out regularly, and now looks every part the intergalactic superhero.

2. Christian Bale

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When it comes to dramatic makeovers, it’s hard to beat Christian Bale. In 2004, the English actor’s appearance in psychological thriller The Machinist was downright skeletal. The normally fit actor dropped a startling 63 pounds to play insomniac machine worker Trevor Reznick. What’s more, a mere five months later Bale had put all the weight back on – plus 30 pounds of pure muscle – to play buff superhero Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins.

3. Robert De Niro

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Anyone foolish enough to question film legend Robert De Niro’s dedication to his work need only look to his iconic role as boxer Jake Lamotta in Raging Bull for correction. Robert De Niro trained for the roll with Lamotta himself, trimming fat and building incredible muscle, as well as he fought in actual boxing matches in order to get into character. For scenes portraying the boxing icon’s later years, De Niro then packed on over 60 pounds. That was one hard-earned Oscar.

4. Charlize Theron

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To play prostitute and serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the movie Monster, South African beauty Charlize Theron gained over 30 pounds and wore prosthetic teeth. The end result looked nothing like Theron, but everything like Wuornos. Charlize is really bold and talented. While most women can’t stop crying over those extra pounds, Charlize Theron put on weight without hesitation.

5. Tom Hanks

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In order to play a stranded plane crash victim in 2001’s Oscar-winning film Castaway, Tom Hanks lost a frightening 50 pounds and grew one of the squirliest looking beards in movie history. Filming for the movie even went on hiatus while Tom Hanks underwent his totally dramatic transformation. Undergoing a dramatic physical transformation is probably his cup of tea. He looks perfect in every movie regardless of his look.

More: 10 Biggest Hollywood Tragedies

6. Renee Zellweger

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For her roles in movies like Bridget Jones’ Diary and Chicago, Renee Zellweger probably wins the award for most drastic yo-yo dieter in Hollywood. To play the average-looking Jones, the actress gained close to 25 pounds, then dropped it all (and more) in time to become sexy murderess Roxy Heart. But that isn’t all. For the Jones sequel and her Oscar-winning performance in 2003’s Cold Mountain, Renee Zellweger gained another 30 pounds.

7. Jared Leto

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In order to play Mark David Chapman, (John Lennon’s assassin) the normally fit Jared Leto packed on nearly 70 pounds. His method? Binging on chocolate ice cream mixed with olive oil and soy sauce. Yuck. If you want to gain weight, don’t follow this advice. It’s unhealthy method. Maybe Jared Leto liked it, but don’t take risks.

8. Hilary Swank

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For her transgendered role in Boys Don’t Cry, Hilary Swank prepared both physically and mentally. Aside from chopping her hair off, Swank also spent a month living as a boy. Wearing guys’ clothing and taping down her breasts, she said it was one of the most intense experiences of her life. Unbelievable!

More: 10 Celebrities Who Deserve More Attention

Actors change their looks for their roles because they are interested in the roles, not money. Experimenting is probably their passion. While most of us spend hours and days improving our looks, celebrities are not afraid to look silly or ugly. Hopefully, at least one of these actors has inspired you to be bolder with your looks.