10 Actors Who Have Drastically Altered Their Appearances For Film Roles

Photo: Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures

The new “21 Jump Street” is right around the corner, folks! In honour of the film and Jonah Hill‘s dramatic 40-pound weight loss to play Officer Schmidt, we’ve collected a list of some of the most dramatic physical changes actors have ever made for a movie role. 

Stars are known to transform their bodies for movies. Tom Hanks lost weight and grew a beard for “Cast Away,” rapper 50 Cent lost weight recently to a play a football player with cancer in “Things Fall Apart,” and Matt Damon has gained and lost weight several times for “Courage Under Fire,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and the “Bourne” series. 

But some of the actors on this list have taken their changes to new heights. 

So before you check out Hill and co-star Channing Tatum take on Johnny Depp‘s territory in “Jump Street,” check out the celebs who taught Hill how to do the ultimate film preparation. 

Ryan Reynolds

'Blade: Trinity' is probably not the most dignified movie to prove acting credibility but Ryan Reynolds disagrees.

The 'Green Lantern' and 'The Proposal' actor obsessively trained to look like a character straight from a graphic novel- eight pack and all.

He would eat close to 10 small meals and train for up to and over three hours a day to get the proper body to play vampire hunter Hannibal King.

Natalie Portman

To be fair, Natalie Portman has always had a slender frame.

But that makes her weight change in the ballet-paranoia thriller 'Black Swan' that much more dramatic.

Portman lost over 20 pounds to play ballet dancer Nina Sayers and trained with co-star Mila Kunis for six months to get the ballet numbers precise.

The actress worked out five hours a day with cross-training and swimming as well as ballet.

Christian Bale

In 2004, Christian Bale appeared in the psychological thriller 'The Machinist.' The film was about insomniac machine worker Trevor Reznik who becomes increasingly paranoid that someone is trying to drive him insane.

For the role, Bale lost around 63 pounds.

But only a year later, Bale appeared in 'Batman Begins' looking back to his old self and more.

The actor gained back all the weight he lost for 'The Machinist' and added on another 30 pounds to play the beefy Bruce Wayne.

Robert De Niro

Talk about dedication.

In order to play the iconic boxer Jake Lamotta in 'Raging Bull', Robert De Niro built muscle and trained heavily with Lamotta himself to get the look of Lamotta during his heyday. He even fought in three different matches.

For Lamotta's later years, De Niro packed on at least 60 pounds. The following year De Niro won the Best Actor Oscar.

Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron picked up a Best Actress Oscar playing the real-life prostitute-turned-murderer Aileen Wuornos.

Theron had to gain over 30 pounds and wear prosthetic teeth to look like Wuornos. The result is surprisingly accurate.

George Clooney

It's rare to see George Clooney not looking like a salt and pepper-haired 'Sexiest Man Alive' cover model.

But in order to play the role of CIA Agent Bob Barnes in the oil/political thriller 'Syriana,' Clooney gained over 35 pounds, grew a bushy beard and shaved back his hairline to look just right.

The gain worked out well for Clooney: he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the role.

Renée Zellweger

Renée Zellweger holds the title for most yo-yo dieting among actresses.

For 2001's 'Bridget Jones' Diary', the actress gained 25 pounds to play the overweight, modern-day version of Elizabeth Bennet from 'Pride and Prejudice.'

Just a year later, the actress dropped the weight and a few extra pounds to play the murderess Roxie Hart in the 1920s musical hit 'Chicago.'

But that wasn't the end of Zellweger's gain and loss. For her Oscar-winning role in 'Cold Mountain' and 2004's 'Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason,' the actress gained back 30 pounds.

Rooney Mara

Here's a way to make a first leading-role impression.

In order to play the goth-hacker Lisbeth Salander in 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,' Rooney Mara decided to actually pierce her eyebrow, nose, lip and nipple.

The rookie actress even shaved off the side of her hair.

And an impression was left indeed. The 26-year-old was nominated for Best Actress at this year's Oscars.

Jared Leto

30 Seconds to Mars frontman and actor Jared Leto seems to be turning into a method actor with dramatic changes to his body in films like 'Requiem for a Dream.'

But for his role as John Lennon-killer Mark David Chapman in 'Chapter 27,' Leto gained a whopping 67 pounds eating nothing but unhealthy snacks like microwaved pints of ice cream mixed with soy sauce and olive oil.

The dramatic weight gain gave the 'Fight Club' actor gout and he was confined to a wheel chair from time to time because of how weak the extra pounds made his body.

Tom Hanks

The two-time Oscar winner really went all out for his role as a FedEx employee who ends up stranded on a deserted island in 2001's 'Cast Away.'

Production on the film even stopped so that Hanks could diet--he dropped over 50 pounds and grew a frighteningly long beard to look authentic.

Hanks was then rewarded with his fifth Oscar nomination.

But what did the production team do while they waited? They shot another film ('What Lies Beneath').

This isn't the first time Hanks has gone above and beyond for a movie- he dropped 30 pounds to play AIDS-patient turned plaintiff in the drama 'Philadelphia.' Hanks won his first Oscar for that role.

Bonus: Steve Carell

While it wasn't a dramatic weight loss or gain, Steve Carell actually did get his chest waxed--in one take--for his first starring role in 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin.'

Check out the clip below. Carell's reaction is 100 per cent authentic.

Now that you've seen actors who have changed drastically for a role...

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