10 Actors That Totally Transformed Their Bodies to Tackle New Roles

While actors don’t always get the career respect they deserve, there’s a lot more to acting than just memorizing a script, including a heavy emphasis on aesthetics, which can encompass a wide number of looks.

From actors who have bulked up to play a role, to those who have dramatically lost weight, there are plenty of Hollywood regulars who have used dieting and exercise to radically transform their bodies to bring their character to life.

Going far deeper than adding makeup or cool prosthetics like “fat suits” to flesh out a character involves dedication, hard work, and expert training.

The actors below are just some of the celebrities who have used combinations of diet and exercise to take their bodies to new levels in their efforts to make movie magic real.

#1: Chris Pratt

When it comes to taking the body to its extremes for movies, Chris Pratt proves that he has the dedication to go the distance, which in addition to his natural talent on camera, makes him a versatile actor capable of conquering almost any role.

Having once weighed in at nearly 300 pounds for his role in the sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” Pratt quickly shed over 60 pounds in preparation for “Guardians of the Galaxy.”

According to the actor, he worked out vigorously with a trainer for “three or four hours a day,” and completely overhauled his diet to include high calories and lots of water.

 

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#2: Jake Gyllenhaal

Naturally thin-framed Jake Gyllenhaal put on nearly 20 pounds of shredded muscle for his role in “Southpaw,” in which he played a boxer.

Spending nearly six hours a day training for six months turned Gyllenhaal into a fighting machine in time for the movie, but at the cost of a relationship which was strained due to his dedication to bulking up.

 

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#3: Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey is known for tackling diverse roles, some of which have required tremendous physical effort to bring a realistic character portrayal to the screen.

When taking on the role of an AIDs patient in “Dallas Buyers Club,” the actor lost a staggering 40 pounds, which he said he accomplished “in as healthy a way as I found possible.”

“I met with a nutritionist,” said McConaughey, explaining, “I had my programmed meals, lost 3.5lb a week, and got down to my desired weight.”

Conversely, the actor gained nearly 50 pounds of fat for his role in “Gold,” which he achieved by eating fatty foods and avoiding exercise.

 

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#4:Jonah Hill

While Jonah Hill once struggled with weight fluctuation, these days the actor seems to be maintaining a slim and healthy physique.

Regular exercise, including martial arts and swimming, appears to have aided him in his quest to conquer weight issues.

 

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#5:Chris Hemsworth

Getting ready for his role as Thor in “The Avengers” series, Chris Hemsworth trained intensely with a former Navy SEAL, bulking up and adding 20 pounds of muscle.

“It was just red meat, heavy weights and some protein powder. He crushed every single workout,” trainer Duffy Gaver said of Hemsworth’s results.

In fact, the actor’s workout regimen is one of the most commonly searched for routines online.

 

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#6:Christian Bale

Another actor known for taking on demanding roles, both physically and mentally, who has gained renown for his ability and willingness to transform his body, adding an extra layer of depth to his characters.

For his role in “The Machinist,” Bale lost 63 pounds, which he attributed to eating one can of tuna fish, one apple, and coffee each day.

During the filming of “American Hustle,” the actor gained 42 pounds of fat, which he reported to have startled the cast and crew of the film.

 

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#7: 50 Cent

This rapper-turned-actor is known for his over-200 pound physique, but for his role in “Things Fall Apart,” he played a football player who was diagnosed with cancer.

50 Cent, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, lost 60 pounds for the role, which he said was achieved through a brutal liquid diet and plenty of time on the treadmill.

 

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#8:Michael Fassbender

While portraying famous IRA prisoner and activist Bobby Sands in the film “Hunger,” Michael Fassbender went to extremes not commonly seen among his colleagues, virtually emulating Sands’ real-life hunger strike.

The result saw Fassbender tipping the scales at around 127 pounds, which he described as a “psychological prison” that helped him to prepare for the role.

Sands’ hunger strike ultimately resulted in his death, after having gone without food for 66 days while in custody.

 

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#9:Ryan Reynolds

Before he was known as the superhero “Deadpool,” Reynolds found success with “frat-boy” roles such as the film “Van Wilder,” however, it was the actor’s role in the “Blade” superhero film that pushed him to sculpt and build his body like never before.

Working out six days a week for three months helped Reynolds gain around 25 pounds of muscle, but more importantly, changed his life forever in a positive way, opening doors the actor “previously thought were impossible.”

 

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#10:Daniel Radcliffe

For the movie “Jungle,” actor Daniel Radcliffe portrayed an Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg, who was lost in the jungle for a month and was forced to survive against all odds.

Naturally thin, Radcliffe reportedly lost over 35 pounds for the role, which he said he accomplished with a rigorous diet.

“I ate just one chicken breast and a protein bar for two weeks before the shoot,” the actor said, admitting, “It’s a really unsafe way to lose weight.”

 

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