18 Actors Who Transformed Themselves For Movie Roles

Project Casting

Here are actors who transformed themselves by gaining or losing weight, or even cutting off their hair for a movie role.

Actors may not have the easiest career in the world. For a movie role some actors have either gained a ton of weight or lost over 50 pounds in order to entertain millions of people. Here are a list of actors who have transformed themselves for movie roles.


1. Jared Leto

Jared Leto hated gaining weight for the 2007 movie “Chapter 27”. The actor gained 67 roles to play the character Mark Chapman – the fan who shot and killed John Lennon, and said the extreme weight gain gave him health problems. He told the “Guardian”: “Really, it’s a stupid thing to do. I got gout, and my cholesterol went up so fast in such a short time that my doctors wanted to put me on Lipitor, which is for much, much older people. Again, though, a fascinating journey.”



The rapper/actor lost 55 pounds for his role in the 2011 movie “All Things Fall Apart”. He lost 55 pounds in nine weeks and did so by going on a liquid diet along with walking for several hours a day.

Featureflash / Shutterstock.com
Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

3. Tom Hardy

Tom Hardy has done a wide variety of films. But, for the movie ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, the actor bulked up for his role in the Batman movie “The Dark Knight Rises.” Hardy put on 30 pounds in a matter of three months. He reported that he worked out intensely and was on a diet loaded with calories.

G.I. Jane

4. Demi Moore

In the tough girl movie ‘G.I. Jane’ , Demi Moore went from a diva to a soldier. Not only did she become super fit through weight training and tons of cardio, she shaved her hair off for the movie role as well.

Matt Damon

5. Matt Damon

Matt Damon didn’t mind gaining a few pounds for his role in “The Informant”. In an interview with Daily Mail, the actor revealed that he had to binge on junk food to get the extra pounds. “It was very, very easy to gain the weight. It was very, very fun, probably the funnest time I had working, because I didn’t have to go to the gym after work and I just ate everything I could see,” he said.

6. Chris Pratt

In a period of six months, Chris Pratt worked extremely hard to get ripped for his role in the film “Guardians of the Galaxy”. Pratt lost around 60 pounds in a period of six months. In an interview with Daily Mail, the actor revealed that he had to binge on junk food to get the extra pounds. “It was very, very easy to gain the weight. It was very, very fun, probably the funnest time I had working, because I didn’t have to go to the gym after work and I just ate everything I could see,” he said.



7. Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway went through several extremes in the movie “Les Miserables.” The actress lost around 25 pounds for her role in the 2012 musical. According to Hathaway, she had to go on a “starvation” diet that required her to stop eating for 13 days. “I was on a starvation diet to look like I was near death in a film…but I went at it with a plan and I had a guide, a nutritionist kind of helped me with it,” she said in an interview with Daily Mail.

Hilary Swank

8. Hilary Swank

Oscar winner Hilary Swank had to look masculine in the 1999 movie “Boys Don’t Cry”. The actress cut her hair short and lost a lot of weight for the role.

George Clooney Syriana

9. George Clooney

George Clooney put on 30 pounds to play a CIA agent in the thriller “Syriana” in 2005. After the filming finished, the actor embarked on a major health routine to get back to his previous level of fitness.

Charlize Theron

10. Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron piled on 30 pounds to play serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 movie, “Monster.” The actress won an Oscar for her performance and was back to her normal weight for the red carpet season.


11. Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender lost more than 35 pounds to play IRA man Bobby Sands, who died on a hunger strike in prison in 1981, for the Steve McQueen movie “Hunger”.


12. Christian Bale

Christian Bale knows how to manipulate his body. In 2012, he gained 63 pounds to play a con man in “American Hustle.” But, his biggest transformation was for his role as Trevor Reznik in “The Machinist”. Bale starved himself for four months before filming and lost 62 pounds by surviving on “water, an apple and one cup of coffee per day, with the occasional whiskey”.


13. Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks had to go on an extreme diet to play a plane crash survivor Chuck Noland for the second half of ‘Cast Away’, losing 55 pounds for the movie role.


14. Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey is almost as famous for his muscles as he is for his acting, so fans were shocked to see him in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’. Matthew McConaughey lost about 45 pounds in order to play the role of an AIDS patient. The actor managed to lose 7 pounds a week until filming started.

Jonah Hill Arms and the Dudes

15. Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill’s first break out role was in the movie ‘Superbad’. At that time he was known for being a big guy but, the actor shocked everyone by losing 40 pounds for the 2011 movie “Moneyball.” He said he lost the weight so he could be taken seriously as an actor. But, that weight loss did not last. By 2014, he gained a large amount of the weight back.

Jake Gyllenhaal 2014

16. Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal lost a lot of weight for “Nightcrawler”. Now he’s bulked up for the upcoming feature film “Southpaw.” The actor showed off his ripped physique when he plays the champion boxer Billy Hope in the upcoming drama.


17. Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman’s biggest role was for “X-Men”. Since then the actor has bulked up to his now famous physique. But, in the movie “Les Miserables”, the actor lost 20 pounds and refused food and water for 36 hours to achieve that “miserable” look.

Mark Wahlberg Gambler

18. Mark Wahlberg

For Mark Wahlberg’s 2014 movie, “The Gambler” Mark Whalberg looked unrecognizable. The actor has become famous for his ripped physique since he was a male model for Calvin Klein underwear in 1992. But, the actor went through extreme method acting to lose 60 pounds for his role in which he plays a professor with a gambling problem.

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