Being an actor is definitely a very demanding job. Not only mentally, because you have to put yourself in the mindset of whatever character you’re meant to portray, but also physically. Often, actors are required to lose or gain weight to achieve the perfect look for the role. Sometimes these changes are truly drastic and they look almost unrecognisable! But all is worth it when you’re making art!
Here are 22 who dramatically changed their appearance, courtesy of Diply.
1. Charlize Theron
One actor who is known for going from extremely thin to perfectly buff is Christian Bale. But he’s got nothing on Charlize Theron when it comes to hardcore transformations! In 2015, the actress shaved her head and gained a lot of muscle for her role as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road.
Source: The Dissolute Fox
But her most spectacular transformation came in 2003 when she starred in crime drama film Monster. Theron gained 30 pounds, shaved her eyebrows, wore prosthetic teeth, and got an Oscar for her troubles.
2. Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman played the part of Nina, an unstable ballerina, in Black Swan, a psychological horror film released in 2010. The actress underwent a strict diet of carrots and almonds, and that, coupled with 8 hours a day of rehearsing, led to her losing 20 pounds.
Source: Natalie Portman
What an actress wouldn’t do for a role! Portman completely changed her musculature and posture, and got a lot of bruises and even a dislocated rib in the process.
“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,” she confessed.
3. Uma Thurman
Uma Thurman played the lead role in Tarantino’s Kill Bill. But a mere three moths before her training for the movie began, she had given birth to her son Levon. The actress underwent intense martial arts training which resulted in her dropping 30 pounds!
4. Alison Brie
Everyone who knew Alison Brie from sitcom Community and period drama Mad Men could not even recognise the actress when they saw her on her latest comedy series GLOW. Her trainer revealed that Brie could deadlift 165 pounds and that she could even give him, a man weighing 220 pounds, a piggyback!
Source: Instagram | @officialalibrie
5. Reese Witherspoon
According to Reese Witherspoon herself, her role in Walk the Line, an autobiographical movie chronicling the life of country music legend Johnny Cash, was the biggest challenge she ever faced. For the role of the late June Carter Cash, the actress took extensive singing lessons for four months, and had to learn the autoharp. “It’s been so hard, it’s been really, really one of the hardest movies I’ve ever had to make,” said Witherspoon.
Source: LiveJournal | Train of Youth
6. Gal Gadot
Gal Gadot won all our hearts with her portrayal of Wonder Woman. But she wasn’t always super strong. According to her trainer, the Israeli beauty could even do a pull up! So she spent nine months training for the role and gained 17 pounds of muscle.
Source: Instagram | @gal_gadot
7. Scarlett Johansson
Scarlett Johansson has been Black Widow in Marvel’s movies since 2010. And when you’re playing a superhero dressed in skin-tight leathers, obviously you have to have a strict regime and lots of training. But when she starred in Ghost in the Shell in 2017, Johansson had to learn some new things and had tactical and weapons training.
Source: Digital Spy
8. Rooney Mara
Rooney Mara played Lisbeth Salander in 2011 film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. The role required her to cut her hair, bleach her eyebrows, and get multiple face piercings. No pain, no gain, they say, and all the trouble Mara went through landed her on Hollywood’s A-list.
Source: Miss Club | We Got This Covered
9. Linda Hamilton
Sarah Connor was the ultimate badass female character in the Terminator franchise. She started off as a damsel in distress and went on to become a true warrior. She lost 12 pounds in the time between the first and the second movies.
Source: Tumblr | zombooyah2thesequel
10. Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt played a Special Forces warrior in 2014 sci-fi film Edge of Tomorrow. She had three months of intensive weight training and gymnastics. In the movie, the British actress had to wear an 85-pound prop suit, so she prepared for carrying that extra weight by wearing weight vests.
Source: Tumblr | gaynargle-kl
11. Demi Moore
You know those one-arm push-ups Demi Moore did in G.I Jane? It wasn’t a trick – she really did them! The actress had training with a real Navy Seal, she shaved her head, and she did all of her stunts in the film!
12. Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence plays Mystique in the X-Men franchise. But in order to portray the blue mutant, the Oscar-winning actress had to get in shape. So she had three months of training, but because of her busy schedule, Lawrence had to do quick, intense workouts throughout the day.
13. Anne Hathaway
In 2012, Anne Hathaway lost a lot of weight for her role in Les Miserables. The Academy Award winner went through a strict cleanse and a starvation diet, dropping 25 pounds. And she shaved her head.
Source: Yahoo! Movies
The same year, she played an incredibly strong and athletic character as well. She was Selina Kyle aka Catwoman in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. “I’ve always thought that skinny was the goal, but with this job I also have to be strong,” said Hathaway about the role.
Source: Den Of Geek
14. Mila Kunis
Mila Kunis had to lose weight to play a ballerina in Black Swan, so she had only 1,200 calories a day, and she started smoking cigarettes. She didn’t care about the experience at all. Kunis said, “I don’t advocate this at all. It was awful.”
Source: Popcorn And Cigarettes
But looking like a ballerina wasn’t enough – she also had to act like one. So, she trained five hours a day, seven days a week for three months! And she had to force herself to keep her back straight.
15. Angelina Jolie
Her role as Lara Croft in Tomb Raider is probably one of Angelina Jolie’s most famous one. But playing a very athletic and agile character is not something that just fell in her lap – the actress is always looking for roles like this.
Source: Den of Geek
She was also the protagonist in Salt, the 2010 action thriller. In this movie, she had some intense fight scenes which required her to prepare by undertaking mixed martial arts training. She trained Krav Maga and Muay Thai for two hours a day, three to four days a week.
16. Jennifer Aniston
Jennifer Aniston had to give up the perfect figure she’s always been known for to play a grieving woman in the drama film Cake. “I basically just didn’t work out for two-and-a-half months. I stopped working out and I stopped being as careful about my diet as I normally am,” she said.
Source: Cake Movie
17. Naomie Harris
Naomie Harries played the character of Moneypenny in Skyfall, the 2012 installment of James Bond. She prepared by working out with a personal trainer for two hours a day, five days a week for two months before filming started. She also learned to shoot, fight, and stunt drive.
18. Zoe Saldana
Zoe Saldana has had quite a few roles in sci-fi films, most notably in Star Trek and Guardians of the Galaxy. The characters she played in those movies demanded her to be in peak physical condition. She achieved this by opting for power yoga and floor work instead of “hardcore training”.
Source: Instagram | @zoesaldana
19. Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow has always been known for her slim figure and her healthy lifestyle. That’s why it was very hard for her to gain 20-pounds for her role in 2010 drama film Country Strong.
Source: Tumblr | folkinz
Talking to The Sydney Morning Herald, the actress admitted, “The nightmare thing about it is I had to stop working out.” But there was also a positive side to this ordeal, as she revealed that she got to let herself indulge in more alcoholic beverages.
Source: Instagram | @gwynethpaltrow
20. Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Garner has always cut the figure of the quintessential girl-next-door. But she looked quite tough in 2003 Daredevil, when she packed on a lot of muscle to play an elite assassin called Elektra.
The actress also learned to fight with weapons as part of the preparations for the film. She said, “I had to learn to fight on wires and just fighting every day, all summer, it just kind of built my confidence.”
21. Renée Zellweger
Renée Zellweger is perhaps most famous for being the star of romantic comedy Bridget Jones’s Diary. She reprised her role in both sequels as well and each time she had to gain 20-30 pounds! But that’s not all, because in between those films, she built up enough muscle and stamina required for her dance numbers in the musical Chicago.
22. Hilary Swank
Swank gained 20 pounds of muscle to play a champion boxer in Million Dollar Baby. The actress had to follow an intense workout routine and a strict diet. Her workout consisted of 2-3 hours of boxing and 1-2 of lifting weights six days a week.
Source: Tumblr | cinefilos
For three months, she had to eat every hour and a half, drink ten egg whites a day and sleep nine hours every night.