Beefing Up: Ten Actors Who Underwent Remarkable Physical Transformations For Their Roles

By Alexander Lowe On July 19th, 2012

Jared Leto For Chapter 27

jared leto chapter 27 Beefing Up: Ten Actors Who Underwent Remarkable Physical Transformations For Their Roles

Jared Leto has played a series of very fit characters in movies such as Requiem For A Dream, Fight Club, and Prefontaine, but in 2007 audiences got to see a Leto that looked very different from what they were accustomed to.

The actor gained a whopping 60 pounds for his role as Mark David Chapman in the film Chapter 27. The effects of his weight gain led to him having to use a wheelchair due to the extra strain put on his body. Leto said it took over a year for his body to get back to feeling semi-normal, and that he isn’t sure if he will ever be as fit as he once was.

His diet? Leto frequently ate microwave pints of ice cream topped with olive oil and soy sauce. He would also frequently eat whole pizzas as one of his many daily meals. Leto said the experience was anything but enjoyable, and that he was force feeding himself to the extent that he perpetually felt as if he needed to throw up.

Despite saying he would never again make a similar transformation for a role, in an interview with Cinema Blend, he said that the work he put in really helped him to embody the person that Lennon’s killer was:

“It was important to make that transformation because I thought his physical representation of himself was an indication of who he was. And it changed everything about who I was – the way I walked , the way I talked, the way I felt about myself, the way people treated me.”

Though the movie wasn’t a critical success, Leto played the role well, and really looked the part. He was able to lose the weight in a few months by doing some extreme fasting, and he now looks about as good as he did before filming began.

Christian Bale For The Machinist

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Christian Bale is the master of becoming immersed in his roles. The weight fluctuation he has had in the last 10 years is staggering. He has weighed as much as much as 230 and as little as 121. That’s right, 121 pounds.

Bale dropped a whopping 63 pounds for his role as the insomniac factory worker in the 2004 drama The Machinist. How did he lose the weight? Through a strict diet of 275 calories a day, which he got by eating a can of tuna or an apple, that’s it.

The 6 foot actor looked barely alive at 121 pounds. He was a mere ghost of his former ripped American Psycho physique. After the film, Bale had to put on nearly 100 pounds in 5 months for Batman Begins. After all, a skinny Batman would be like a skinny Santa. He put on that weight and more, getting all the way up to 230 pounds, before actually dropping weight to play the caped crusader.

At this point, Bale had a iconic franchise character to play, for what was certainly going to be multiple movies. It would make sense that this would be the time in his career where he could adopt a normal diet and maintain his weight for a few years. Turns out that would have been much too boring for Bale though as he drastically dropped weight again (though not to Machinist levels) for his role as crack addicted Dickie Eklund in The Fighter. The academy appreciated the work he put in and his brilliant performance won him the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

But wait! Bruce Wayne was never on crack, and he certainly would have no chance of standing up to Bane looking like Eklund, so the weight came back on again for The Dark Knight Rises. Now that is method acting at its finest.

As for The Machinist, it’s really a performance that has to be seen to be believed and lucky for you, we’ve included a cool little feature on the film below, for your viewing pleasure.

Check it out below.

So there you have it, ten actors who have gone through remarkable transformations. What do you think, did we miss anyone?

If you’re interested in reading more, check out Beefing Up Part 2: Ten More Actors Who Underwent Remarkable Physical Transformations For Their Roles,


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