Acting is easy and so much fun, right? Those celebrities pretend for a week, get a hefty check, and jet off to some exotic island. Or at least, that is what it looks like.
To be fair, some actors are not taking their craft as seriously as others. Then, there are those A-listers who give a lot, yet, they don't do anything extreme.
Today's focus is on group three: method actors and those who risked their health to create some memorable characters. Luckily, in most situations, the process paid off.
The most significant movie awards love these drastic transformations, but it is more than just receiving praises from the critics. Many actors push themselves to see where it takes them, which is why their fans love them.
Let's start with one major blockbuster, which did not get the Oscar, but it certainly changed the career of an Australian hottie.
#1 Chris Hemsworth, Thor
Chris Hemsworth did not just hit the gym when he was cast as Thor.
He hired a former Navy SEAL, Duffy Gaver, and the two used good old-fashioned techniques for transforming Chris' slender body into a killer machine.
Chris Hemsworth gained 20 pounds and maintained this strong, muscle-packed physique for all Thor movies.
Even when he has time off, Chris proudly shows his muscles, and he looks impeccable. Some people believed he was using steroids, but that is just because it is hard to believe that someone managed to put so much effort, time, and money into creating this kind of transformation.
"People see Chris, and they think he was on steroids, but he didn't touch a single substance. It was just red meat, heavyweights, and some protein powder. He crushed every single workout. He simply decided to look like Thor."
Since Thor's workout is the most googled out of all celebrity workouts, Chris started a side business where you can actually train with him.
#2 Christian Bale, The Machinist
Christian Bale went through so many transformations and just as many hit movies. The most memorable has to be for his role in The Machinist, where former Batman played Trevor Reznik, a machinist with severe insomnia.
Bale's commitment to his craft for 2004's movie led to an unbelievably unhealthy diet.
He lost 63 pounds by taking low calories meals and working out all the time. For four months, he ate a can of tuna fish and an apple per day.
But that wasn't enough. Bale also took metabolism boosters, which is pretty much caffeine in insanely high dosages, and did cardio and resistance workouts every day.
The famed actor went from 173 pounds to 110 pounds. This is one of the best yet scariest transformations in cinema history, and we have no idea how much it took Bale's body to recover.
#3 Chris Pratt, Guardians Of The Galaxy
He used to be this chubby, goofy guy with a hot, now ex, wife, Anna Farris.
But Chris Pratt took on the role in Guardians of the Galaxy and in six months lost 60 pounds. He went from meh to wow, but with an entirely different route than Christian Bale.
When Marvel hired Pratt, they also connected him with personal trainer Duffy Gaver and nutritionist Phil Goglia. Pratt was 300 pounds and had barely any muscles. So, it was time for some serious work.
Chris would work out for three to four hours each day and take 4000 calories with extra water. Pratt later complained:
"I was peeing all day long, every day. That part was a nightmare."
Getting ripped came with a perk, beyond his appearance, as Chris later stated:
"It gave me a sense of absolute control."
So, how did he do it?
Consistency. Sounds so easy, but it was more of a mental than a physical struggle.
#4 Natalie Portman, Black Swan
While Pratt gained a sense of control, Natalie Portman was sure she would die during her preparations for the main prole in Black Swan.
Portman, who was in her late 20s at the time, spoke about the experience. She lost 20lb, thanks to eating carrots and almonds and training for eight hours every day.
Though the hard work paid off since Portman got an Oscar for this role, she said:
"There were some nights that I thought I literally was going to die."
She was exhausted, acting with a dislocated rib, and to say it was unpleasant is an understatement:
"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."
The actress further said:
"All dancers are always dancing with an extreme wound. Not just a sore muscle, they're dancing on a sprained ankle or with a twisted neck or something. You'll see them do incredible stuff and then limp off stage, straight to a bucket of ice. Part of the art is hiding all the pain."
No pain, no gain. Interestingly enough, many ballerinas did not like the movie. Racheal Prince, of Ballet British Columbia, stated:
"She's anorexic, bulimic, crazy. I'm sure every dancer struggles with little things here and there, but for one girl to struggle with every single problem out there, it just makes us look crazy."
#5 Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Musician and actor Jared Leto lost 40 pounds for the role of Rayon, a transexual with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club, alongside his co-star Matthew McConaughey.
The goal weight was 114 pounds, and Leto explained how he achieved it:
"I stopped eating, it wasn't an easy thing to do. It was 30 or 40 pounds. After a while, I stopped counting."
Sure, he got an Oscar for the best supporting role, proving that Leto is a serious actor. But, he said something quite interesting about the weight loss:
"It changes the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you think."
Leto is now a full-on method actor, and while admirable for his craft, it is not the healthiest way to earn money.
#6 Demi Moore, G.I. Jane
From Brat Pack to ripped packs, Demi Moore's transformation into Lieutenant Jordan O'Neil, the first female Navy SEAL for the movie G.I. Jane, was challenging.
Before Demi started filming, she would do workouts from 4 am with real Navy SEAL training, strength, cardio, and martial arts.
She continued this tempo throughout the filming, and people could have spotted her running in the dawn through Central Park.
She hired celebrity trainer Gregory Joujon-Roche to get her in shape and Navy SEAL instructor Stephen Helvenston to gain a Navy SEAL mindset.
#7. J.K. Simmons, Justice League
To become Commissioner Gordon in Justice League, J.K. Simmons had to turn his life upside down.
He hired an ex-marine, trainer Aaron Williamson, who previously worked with Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Jamie Foxx, and Jai Courtney.
J.K. Simmons did not change for the role. The role changed his lifestyle, as Williamson confirmed:
"He wanted to get into the best shape he had ever been in."
"J.K.'s goal was to adopt a healthy lifestyle and never have to worry again about health issues."
The two did a splendid job, despite Simmons's initial reaction, which was to take off from the movie set!
#8 Chris Hemsworth, In The Heart Of The Sea
Plot twist: Thor became one of the hottest guys in the universe only to lose 15 pounds for the role in 2015's hit In the Heart of The Sea.
Chris was already slimming thanks to previous roles, so losing 15 pounds was not difficult:
"When you're already starting off lean, it's to chew through that kind of weight. Every pound feels like a kilogram."
The movie, based on actual events, takes us to the XIX century, where Chris plays Owen Chase, a seaman whose ship was destroyed by a whale.
Since Case and his crew were left without any necessities for survival, the actors had to lose weight as the movie progressed. Near the end, they were eating around 500 calories per day.
Hemsworth claims that the crew went a little insane, adding:
"We all felt like a bunch of supermodels, trying to get down in weight for a show, or something. That's all we spoke about. You've got 15 burly blokes on the sea and all we talked about was our diet, and who'd lost more weight, and who's looking really skinny."
If you haven't, check out this movie, it has excellent casting, and the acting is quite impressive.
#9 50 Cent, All Things Fall Apart
50 Cent impressed us all when he shredded nearly 60 pounds to play in All Things Fall Apart, a movie from 2011, about Deon, a football player whose genetic disease is taking over his life.
50 Cent went from 214 to 160 pounds by going on a liquid diet and working out three hours every day. The rapper was highly motivated, as he 50 Cent based his character on a childhood friend who died of cancer,
The musician also removed his tattoos because he did not want to waste time covering them up.
Speaking about the experience, he simply said:
"I was starving."
The movie went straight to the video, which seems like a shame, considering how much 50 Cent really wanted to step out of his comfort zone and make it work.
#10 Matthew McConaughey, Gold
McConaughey went from rom-coms to Oscar-worthy performances basically overnight.
The actor had to lose 38 lbs. for Dallas Buyers Club, but he took a role in Gold just when he returned to his typical slim, lean, yet muscular physique.
For this role, McConaughey packed 46 Ibs, and it was a new experience, as he explained:
"I haven't ever done that. I said, 'McConaughey, you have six months to say yes to whatever you want to eat and whatever you want to drink. Whenever.' That was fun."
"The only thing that gets tiring is the thought of quitting. It was fortunate that I was like, 'Oh, this is also my job, so let's go—all green lights.'"
Clearly, Matthew loves his job, but surprisingly his children and wife Camilla Alves loved the actor's chubby appearance:
"I was Captain Fun—that was my nickname around the house because I was saying 'yes to everything. I was a really fun dad for that six months because I was like, 'No, pizza night's not just Friday night—it's Tuesday night; it's Wednesday morning.'"
It was easy because McConaughey likes his junk food, like most of us. He also stopped working out and spent six months eating cheeseburgers.
#11 Zac Efron, Baywatch
This might not be the most significant transformation ever, but it turned Zac Efron into a sex symbol.
For his role in Baywatch, Zac worked with fitness trainer Patrick Murphy five times a week and followed a healthy, clean diet.
Speaking about preparing for the role, Efron said:
"Patrick's training was confusing at first…I just thought I was showing up to lift weights and get a deeper six-pack (which is hard enough already)."
But the trainer had something other in mind, and it worked out:
"But rather than the typical bodybuilding type of movements I had become accustomed to, Patrick pushed me to my 'functional' limits with a very multifaceted style: strength, fast-paced, calculated, diverse, and gut-wrenching workouts. It was fun…you never know what he's going to throw at you the next day."
What can we say: Efron looked cute, but after this makeover, he was the man!
#12 Robert De Niro, Raging Bull
In Raging Bull, De Niro played Italian-American middleweight boxer Jake LaMotta. As the movie followed the boxer through several decades, De Niro had to undergo some extraordinary transformations.
Martin Scorsese's hit movie is now a cinema classic, but getting your leading actor to gain 60 pounds in the middle of filming, was not an easy task.
They organized the whole ordeal spectacularly: the production was shut down for several weeks while De Niro went to Italy and ate as much pasta as possible. When he came back, Scorsese was worried about his health, but, as anyone in the business, he was impressed.
Today, De Niro is one of the best actors of all time, and Raging Bull is one of his finest. Risky? Yes, but it paid off!
#13 Vincent D'Onofrio, Full Metal Jacket
Another movie classic with an extreme transformation turned lean, tall, athletic Vincent D`Onofrio into an increasingly troubled Marine recruit.
Full Metal Jacket is one of the best movies of the 80s and a masterpiece by Stanley Kubrick.
D`Onofrio shaved his head, gained 70 pounds, and brought the actor a whole new perspective on life:
"It changed my life. Women didn`t look at me; most of the time I was looking at their backs as they were running away. People used to say things to me twice because they thought I was stupid."
Taking off all those packed carbs was not easy. The actor talked further about the perceptive of beauty:
"My thighs were my arms were even my nose was fat. I had a tough time tying my shoelaces, but this was the only way I could play Leonard because I had to be weak-minded in the same way. Because of the weight and the fact that he was totally out of his element, Leonard`s mind became weak."
"It makes you realize all those typical things about beauty being deeper than what you would think."
D`Onofrio learned a lot and managed to be the star of an epic movie. Not bad!
#14 Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
There was plenty of controversies when Anne Hathaway showed off her new look during the filming of Les Miserables.
The actress allegedly lost 25 pounds, though officially, she lost only 15 for the role. So, what's the truth?
Anne lost 10 pounds before the filming started, and sources claim she lived on oatmeal during the filming, taking only 500 calories a day.
Talking about the role, Anne said:
"I had to be obsessive about it—the idea was to look near loss. Looking back on the whole experience—and I don't judge it in any way—it was definitely a little nuts. It was definitely a break with reality, but I think that's who Fantine is anyway,"
"I was in such a state of deprivation—physical and emotional. When I got home, I couldn't react to the chaos of the world without being overwhelmed. It took me weeks till I felt like myself again."
Chopping her long locks was not a deal-breaker, but her weight loss was a bit scary.
#15 Daniel Radcliffe, Jungle
Radcliffe played real-life Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg, who was left stranded in an undiscovered part of the Bolivian Amazon jungle for three weeks in 1981.
Of course, the actor had to lose weight, as Yossi searched for fruit and eggs from nests to survive, losing 35lbs as hunger, infection, and disease took their toll.
Radcliffe ate small portions, and his choices were truly limited:
"I ate just one chicken and a protein bar for two weeks before in order to look thin."
"It's not recommended; it's a really unsafe way to use weight. It was, but it was worth it for the meal afterward. I'm not a method actor, but it would seem weird if I was playing this guy stuck in the jungle and going home, having a lovely steak dinner at the end of the day."
That sounds more than diplomatic, so Jungle should definitely be on the list of movies you need to watch, in case you haven't.
Here is a video with some additional epic transformations: