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The 12 Most Extreme Actor Transformations

Updated April 1, 2021 335.1k views12 items

List RulesActors who have transformed their bodies for multiple films

An actor's job is harder than it looks. It's not all Us Weekly covers and award show after parties at Elton John's house. Some of the most memorable characters in film history have been played by actors who have done a lot of very real, very hard work on their bodies before the camera even started rolling. Moreover, many of these actors go to both ends of the extreme, not only losing weight, but adding bulk of fat or muscle as well. This list includes actors who have made the biggest changes to their bodies from film to film.

What do you think about so much fluctuation in weight just for movie roles? Is it worth the potential damage to the actors' metabolism and organs? 

  • Christian Bale reportedly lost over 60 lbs. for the 2004 film The Machinist, reducing his weight to 120 lbs.

    After filming the Dark Knight franchise and transforming his body once again, Bale weighed in at over 200 lbs. for the 2013 film, American Hustle.

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    • Robert De Niro lost 35 lbs. to play Travis Bickle in the 1976 film, Taxi Driver.

      A few years later, director Martin Scorsese had De Niro pack on 60 lbs. to play an older Jake LaMotta in the end of 1980's Raging Bull

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      • Jared Leto lost 25 lbs. to play a heroin addict in the 2000 film Requiem for a Dream.

        He gained around 60 lbs. to play Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon, in Chapter 27 (2007).

        For Dallas Buyers Club in 2013, he once again dropped weight for a role - this time about 40 lbs. - to play an AIDS-positive trans woman.

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        • Vincent D'Onofrio put on 70 lbs. to play Pvt. Leonard "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence in Full Metal Jacket (1987), ultimately weighing in at 280 lbs.

          The physically imposing actor lost all the extra weight in just a few months, appearing as the buff garage owner "Thor" in Adventures in Babysitting, which came out during the same year as Full Metal Jacket.

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