Anne-Hathaway-Les-MisMany actors take their jobs quite seriously (thank goodness too because there is nothing worse than watching a painfully unrealistic flick, ahem, Liz & Dick), so much so that they go to mass extremes to become one with their characters. Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey are the most recent actors who have put their bodies through the wringer only to come out the other end drastically skinnier for their movie roles. Gaining weight is also a common trend with serious actors, whether it is Matt Damon to play Mark Whitacre in The Informant or Charlize Theron to play a serial killer in Monster.

Have a look at the other celebrities who have taken a ride on the weight roller coaster:

Gorgeous actresses, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis lost 20 pounds each to play ballerinas in Black Swan. It has been reported that both these ladies ate tiny portions and gave up foods such as pasta, and other carbohydrate heavy dishes.

Natalie Portman in Black Swan

You may not recognize 50 Cent as an actor, and you certainly won’t recognize him in the movie All Things Fall Apart. The rapper lost 50 pounds to play Deon, a college football running back that suffers through cancer, based on a friend of the rappers’ who died. 50 Cent allegedly ran to suppress his appetite and clearly it worked.

To play a FedEx employee stranded on a deserted island after his plane crashes in Castaway, Tom Hanks lost 50 pounds to depict one who had to forage to survive. It’s said that Hanks ate very little carbohydrates and did cardiovascular exercise for two hours a day, six days a week.

Christian Bale may be more recognizable as a “beefed up” Batman, but in The Machinist, the actor lost a staggering 63 pounds. This weight loss is shocking for the actor who stands 6 feet tall. When acting in the movie he was reportedly 121 pounds.


The American Idol contestant proved that you don’t need to win the reality show to make it big, Jennifer Hudson however shrank a reported 56 pounds, for her role in the movie Winnie. Hudson starred in the movie as Winnie Mandela, and took us behind the scenes of Mandela’s life from her childhood all the way through her marriage and husband’s incarceration.

George Clooney is one good-looking fella, even when he packed 35 pounds on his frame to play Bob Barnes in Syriana. Clooney ate massive amounts of pasta to achieve his weight gain.

Not all weight gain is unhealthy. Ryan Reynolds gained 20 pounds of pure muscle to play the Green Lantern, in the movie of the same name. At the same time, it has been noted that Reynolds reduced his body fat percentage to just 3%. He accomplished a 90-minute workout routine, seven days a week and never ate carbohydrates after 8 PM.

Who could forget Bridget Jones’s Diary. Guys, I am pretty sure you’ve seen those movies too. Well it’s no secret that normally stick-thin Renee Zellweger gained between 20 to 30 pounds to play Bridget, a Brit on the search for successful romance. Zellweger tapped into her character’s depressed food-binge personality by noshing on cheesy pizza and donuts.


Robert De Niro is a force to be reckoned with in the 1980 movie Raging Bull (and in general). He played Jake LaMotta, dubbed the Raging Bull, a world middleweight champion boxer. During De Niro’s training, he worked closely with LaMotta to achieve an extremely realistic persona. De Niro also endured an extreme training routine including copious amounts of weight training to achieve his 60-pound weight gain for the end of the movie.

Women can box too and Hilary Swank most certainly proved that when she played Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby. The actress gained roughly 19 pounds to play the boxer and did so by eating a protein-rich 4000 calories diet. Clearly her dedication to the role paid off for Swank won an Oscar for the role.


So should we be thanking these actors and actresses for enduring such harsh lifestyles to achieve realistic characteristics for their movie roles? While not all of the movies that actors have transformed for have been good, it’s still nice to see that these movie stars take their work seriously and want to make their audience believe in their roles. We should applaud their efforts but not necessarily mimic their ways of weight loss or weight gain. It’s always smart to consult your doctor, not your role model.