15 Actors Who Completely Transformed For Roles (And Are Miserable About It)

Many of us have struggled with our weight, whether it be gaining or losing those pesky pounds. Celebrities face the same challenges the rest of us do, especially when preparing for a role. Sometimes they have to gain a substantial amount of weight to play an out-of-shape goofball, eating with reckless abandon to achieve the desired result. Or maybe they have to pack on muscle to play a superhero by working out twice a day, six days a week. Some dedicated performers even avoid food and engage in unhealthy habits to achieve an emaciated look fitting their character. 

These actors can suffer long-terms health effects from their weight fluctuations, as any extreme behaviors when it comes to food are a health risk. Anything for their art, right?

Truth be told, there is often no Hollywood wizardry when it comes to an actor’s physique. They work very hard to obtain the ideal body that suits any given role. If losing or gain weight at will was fun and easy, everyone would do it. So, has an actor or actress taken it so far that they regretted it? Most certainly.

Here are 15 Celebrities Who Completely Transformed For Roles (And Are Miserable About It).

Continue scrolling to keep reading

Click the button below to start this article in quick view

Start Now

15 Matt Damon - Bourne series

Matt Damon is well-known for his work in the Bourne franchise, but he had some negative things to say about the work it took to look the part of an action hero.

In an interview with Total Film he said, “Unless it’s your job, three hours a day in the gym, or two hours and then a long run later… or a long hike with a weight vest on… it just sucks.”

Not only did Damon need to pack on muscle to play the former CIA assassin, he was told by director Paul Greengrass that he needed to look miserable. The solution was to simply make Damon’s life actually miserable.

Damon did get a break from his life of misery while filming The Informant! which required him to become quite out of the shape. The actor stated that eating a #1 value menu from McDonald’s and Doritos was “heaven.”

14 Chris Pratt - Guardians of the Galaxy

Chris Pratt became a Hollywood hunk after his shirtless appearance in Guardians of Galaxy, while simultaneously being known for his silly antics as Andy in Parks & Rec.

In an interview with Stephen Colbert, he did not say he hated working out, but he did promise that “Fat Pratt” will make a comeback someday. Pratt also said that his now ex-wife Anna Faris missed “Fat Pratt” since she liked to cook and he could not eat a lot of what she made.

Pratt has since starred in multiple high-profile roles including Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2, Passengers, and Jurassic World. In all of these films, Pratt (and his characters) seem to be in extremely good shape, begging the question: when will “Fat Pratt” finally make his return?

13 Mila Kunis - Black Swan

Fans have never seen an overweight version of Mila Kunis, unless you count the augmentations to her appearance through the use of a body suit in That 70’s Show.

Mila Kunis has always been in good shape but was forced to take her physique to a thin extreme, weighing in at only 95 pounds for her role as a svelte ballerina in Black Swan. Kunis, herself, did not enjoy her appearance, at that point.

The actress stated, “I could see why the industry is so f—ked up, because at 95 pounds, I would literally look at myself in the mirror and I was like, ‘Oh my god!’” She had become so thin that her friends and family had become sincerely concerned about her health and well-being. While it took her five months to achieve the desired aesthetic, she claimed it only took five days to gain it all back.

12 Chris Hemsworth - In the Heart of the Sea

Everyone knows Chris Hemsworth is willing to do what it takes to look the part of a role. He bulked up to godly proportions to play the golden-haired God of Thunder, Thor, and tries to lead an active lifestyle to maintain those well-earned physical attributes. But, when he accepted his role in In the Heart of the Sea, he had to resort to some drastic dietary measures in order to shrink back to human size.

Hemsworth tried a diet he called the “lost at sea” diet in which he consumed less than 500 calories per day, shrinking the Son of Odin down to just skin, bone, and beard. He then regained his size, especially in the arm region, for his role in Thor: Ragnarok.

11 Jennifer Lawrence - Hunger Games

Jennifer Lawrence’s body has always been unnecessarily controversial. Before people were arguing over whether or not she needs to cover up her swanky dresses with warm and cozy jackets, they were debating whether or not she had lost enough weight to play her iconic role of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Many fans of the YA series felt Lawrence was too curvy to play a starving teen. Others found her too thin to be considered curvy. Lawrence has always been incredibly vocal about her anger over the public’s constant judging but utterly refuses to change her ways for anyone.

Regardless of public opinion, Lawrence did put in the time to get in the shape for the heavy action role, but she also sabotaged her diet a lot. The goofily relatable actress admitted she loved hot dogs and candy too much to actually stick to her diet.

10 Tom Hanks - Cast Away

Tom Hanks had to cast away 55 pounds for his role in this survival film. He was in decent shape prior to the role but needed to look the part of the stranded airplane passenger.

He went on a diet later dubbed the “Cast Away” diet, which consisted of mostly island type foods that would fit in the palm of your hand. He also ended up doing a lot of cardiovascular exercise.  This type of weight loss is not recommended because the results are not maintainable and can cause damage to muscular tissue.

Unfortunately, Tom Hanks now suffers from Type 2 diabetes, which he contributes to ignoring his health. Hanks stated that, “I went to the doctor, and he said, 'You know those high blood sugar numbers you've been dealing with since you were 36? Well, you've graduated! You've got type 2 diabetes, young man.'"

9 Charlize Theron - Tully

Charlize Theron gained weight for her role in Monster when she was 28-years-old. But the actress really struggled with her weight gain for Tully.

Theron said gaining 35 pounds for the role was “brutal” in every sense and found it very difficult to shed the extra pounds at the age of 41. Theron told Variety, “The sugar put me in a massive depression. I was sick. I couldn't lose the weight. I called my doctor and I said, 'I think I'm dying!' And he's like, 'No, you're 41. Calm down.’”

The actress did, however, enjoy the process of gaining the weight; eating things like pasta, bread, and potato chips. Like all good things, there was a price to pay. She would end up having to train extra hard for her action star role in Atomic Blonde.

8 Hugh Jackman - Les Miserables

Les Miserables translates to “The Miserable Ones”, which perfectly describes Hugh Jackman while preparing for the role of Jean Valjean. He went from his muscle-bound Wolverine physique to looking deprived. Of course, going 36 hours without food and water can do that to just about anybody. Enough time to make one miserable indeed.

During this time, Jackman was suffering from bouts of dizziness and headaches, causing him to get grouchy on set. Jackman was remorseful about his behavior after seeing the prior day’s footage and his own grumpiness. The actor said he believed the ordeal was a small price to pay for the notable role.

Most of us would have to agree with him on that one, since the musical made over $400 million worldwide.

7 Tom Hardy - Multiple Movies

Gaining muscle is glamorized, but as Tom Hardy learned, it can take its toll. While he did have a very impressive physique when playing Bane in The Dark Knight Rises, Hardy is now worried about his well-being.

He stated, "I'm certainly a bit achier than I used to be... I certainly have joints that click that probably shouldn't click, you know what I mean? And carrying my children is a little bit harder than it used to be — but don't tell them."

In the wake of constantly changing his body for various roles, Hardy now states, “If I keep putting on weight I’ll collapse like a house of cards under too much pressure.”

Hardy's next role is the buff Eddie Brock in Sony’s upcoming Venom.

6 Christian Bale - Multiple Movies

Christian Bale is possibly the master of changing his body for a role. He dropped 60 pounds for The Machinist using a diet of whiskey and cigarettes (definitely not recommended).This created a struggle when it came time to inhabit the Batsuit in Batman Begins. In preparation for the Dark Knight series, Bale consumed very high-calorie meals to get back to where he was physically before The Machinist.

Learning from the experience, and needing to gain extra weight for his upcoming role as Dick Cheney in Backseat, Bale realized he needed to gain the weight in a healthy manner. The method actor stated, “I had never before gone to a doctor or a nutritionist about gaining or losing weight for my roles.”

He did for Backseat, though, saying that it can never be healthy to gain that much weight that quickly, but he wanted to do it as healthy as he could.

5 Jonah Hill - War Dogs

Remember the hilarious, chubby kid from Superbad? Well, before the movie War Dogs he lost a bunch of weight, and then had to gain it all back.

For War Dogs, Jonah Hill gained 40 pounds in a very unhealthy fashion, abandoning his diet and nutritionist. Brooke Glazer, Hill’s ex-nutritionist, said that he was a brilliant actor but he had suffered serious ramifications from not having a good grip on his health.

Since the movie, Hill has once again shed the extra pounds, with a little help from his co-star Channing Tatum. Hill claims that he phoned his co-star and asked him if trainers and eating right really helped to lose weight. Like a true friend Tatum responded, “'Yes, you dumb mother------, of course you will, it's the simplest thing in the entire world."

4 Ryan Gosling - The Lovely Bones (Almost)

Alright, this one is a little different than the rest of this list. Ryan Gosling did change his appearance quite drastically, but he didn’t actually get the job.

The actor gained about 60 pounds for a potential role in The Lovely Bones, thinking that the depressed character should weigh 210 pounds. Gosling hilariously got out of shape by melting Haagen Daz and drinking it when he was thirsty. Unfortunately, he kind of just decided on this weight gain on his own, without input from director Peter Jackson.

Clearly, there was some miscommunication at work, as the role was eventually given to Mark Wahlberg. Leaving Ryan Gosling feeling, in his words fat and unemployed.”  

This couldn’t have affected the actor too much, as he has been appearing in major film roles ever since.

3 George Clooney - Syriana

George Clooney ate himself into misery, managing to pack on 28 pounds in a single month for his role in Syriana.

It may sound great to be able to eat whatever you want but Clooney stated that it was “not nearly as fun as it sounds.” From the sounds of it, Clooney’s diet definitely took its toll. Speaking about getting ready for the role he said, “mostly you just ate until you wanted to throw up, and made sure you didn’t throw up. So that was my job for a month, was eating.”

Clooney has been a star in Hollywood for decades at this point and is no stranger to prepping for a role. When this all happened in 2005, Clooney would have been about 44 years old. He did a great job of shedding the pounds at his age, looking pretty thin in those Nespresso commercials.

2 Chris Evans - Captain America

Chris Evans Before and After Captain America

Although Captain America was not his first role as a superhero, it is one that Chris Evans is somewhat excited to stop playing.

Speaking about how he plans to quit his intense workout routine after the role he said, “I’m just going to get fat. Potato chips, ice cream before bed. It’s like, ‘Guess what, everyone!’” This is not surprising with some of the things he went through as the star-spangled super soldier.

During the filming of Captain America: The First Avenger, Evans completed a rigorous training regimen for the big reveal scene. Between takes he would work out, doing things like push-ups and lifting weights. He also injured his shoulder filming the scene in Captain America: Civil War where Cap holds back the helicopter.

1 Anne Hathaway - Les Miserables

While playing a deathly ill woman in Les Miserables, Anne Hathaway lost a total of 25 pounds. Feeling dizzy spells and headaches to put on the best performance she could, Hathaway stated, “I didn’t think I would be able to keep going without collapsing, but I had to appear dead.”

Aware of how teenage fans might react, she discouraged them from a diet like the one she used to obtain her physique in the stage musical.

During the last week of filming Hathaway only ate small amounts of baked porridge. It was most certainly a miserable situation that would eventually pay off in the end. Not only did Les Miserables gross $400 million, Hathaway won the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.


How would you feel about having to undergo these transformations? Share your thoughts in the comments!

More in Lists