1. Christian Bale, “The Machinist”
Christian Bale has transformed his body numerous times for roles, such as gaining 100 pounds of pure muscle in six months for Batman. However, it was “The Machinist” that yielded the most shocking results, when he lost 60 pounds for the role of troubled Trevor Reznik. Bale lost the weight by subsisting on coffee and apples.
2. Eddie Murphy, “Coming to America”
Make-up artist Rick Baker was nominated for an Oscar for transforming comedian Eddie Murphy into a white Jewish dude named Saul. Eddie perfected the voice and accent, and made himself damn-near unrecognizable in the process.
3. Charlize Theron, “Monster”
While she did gain about 30 pounds to play serial killer Aileen Wuornos in “Monster”, her make-under involved a lot more than gaining weight. She had her skin layered with washed off tattoo ink to give it a weathered appearance. Her eyebrows were shaved and bleached. She wore false teeth and her hair was fried. Uglying up worked for her; she garnered an Oscar for her performance.
4. Jared Leto, “Chapter 27”
In order to play John Lennon’s assassin, Jared Leto gained 67 pounds. While plumping up was beneficial for box office, it played havoc on his body. He was temporarily in a wheelchair and he developed gout.
5. Matthew Mcconaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
For his role in as AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, Mcconaughey dropped 47 pounds. The usually buff actor said that the whole experience was rough. “I got down to 143lbs and I was always hungry, and irritable. My body resembled a baby bird with its mouth open, crying, ‘Feed me, feed me,’ and you realize momma bird ain’t going to feed you. It’s hard.”
6. Tom Hanks – Castaway
Hanks whittled 50 pounds off with two hours a day in the gym and a restrictive diet to play the FedEx employee who washes up on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific after a plane crash. “You have to power yourself through it almost by some sort of meditation trickery. It’s not glamorous,” Hanks said.
7. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Gyllenhaal dropped 30 pounds to play a creepy journalist who sells lurid footage to news stations. His gaunt look gave him an extra layer of weirdness.
8. Jake Gyllenhaal – Southpaw
Right after losing 30 pounds for Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal began his journey to gain 45 – and become a buff boxer. Gyllenhaal said, “I went into full training-camp mode and I got myself—what I consider in my mind as an actor—in shape to fight. I was literally learning the skills of boxing, which is not only for the body, but also for the mind. You can’t play a boxer and just look like a boxer; you have to believe you can exist in that world.”
9. 50 Cent –All Things Fall Apart
The rapper dropped 54 pounds from 214 to 160 to play a football player with a deadly disease. Fiddy based his character on a childhood friend who died of cancer. He dropped the LBs in nine weeks on a liquid diet and running on a treadmill three hours a day. He said, “I had so much muscle on me that it was hard for me to lose definition even as I got lighter and slimmer. I started running to suppress my appetite. Towards the end it was really difficult. It was like, if I don’t get close enough to what my best friend looked like to me at that point before he passed, then I’m not doing the story any justice.”
10. Russell Crowe – Body of Lies.
Crowe put on 63 pounds for his role in the spy thriller. “If you want to put on weight, you just elect to live a sedentary life style. Just as soon as you stop actually being active and decide to eat what ever you want, then these two things will combine very quickly,” Crowe said.