Talk about dedication: The Top 5 Physical Transformations in the Movies

Talk about dedication: The Top 5 Physical Transformations in the Movies

By Andrea Miller on October 15, 2012
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If there's one thing actors do that generates more buzz and idle chatter than starting to date the wrong person, or no longer dating the right person, it's severely manipulating their genetically-blessed physiques for a role.

We're talking shedding massive amounts of weight, packing on a purposeful spare tire, shaving heads, piercing skin and generally disappearing into the character to the degree that mere photos of you cause people to gasp and every interviewer asks about your health, or unhealthy, regimen because the results are such that we can't not talk about them.

This weekend, Matthew Fox ("Lost", "Party of Five") adds his name to the list by seemingly turning his body inside out, all sinews and stretched chords, to play a former detective turned serial-killer-cage-fighter who proves to be a slippery opponent to detective and psychologist Alex Cross, played by Tyler Perry, in Alex Cross.

In honour of Fox's dramatically made-over physique, which Vulture rightly pointed out resembles a white pumpkin and a piece from the Body Words exhibit among other objects, we're counting down the Top 5 Physical Transformations in the Movies.




#5 Tom Hanks - Cast Away (2000)

At this point, Hanks had already won an Oscar for his shape-shifting role in 1993's Philadelphia wherein he played a man dying of AIDS, so we all knew he had it in him to drastically change his appearance if the role called for it. But he almost doubled the weight he dropped for the Jonathan Demme movie for Robert Zemeckis' Cast Away and shed 55 lbs! As Chuck Noland, the sole survivor of a tragic plane crash, Hanks had a year to let his hair and beard get out of control and lose tons of weight to accurately portray a man slowly starving to death on a deserted island, with production even pausing so he could transform. The result was critical praise, Oscar noms and a very believable performance.





#4 Matt Damon - The Informant! (2009)

Yes, it's hard to believe that the same man who deftly leaps and takes down enemies as super-spy Jason Bourne is the same dude to the left, all party shirt and bright swimming trunks with a sizeable gut hanging over the waistband like an average overweight dad in the summer. Yet, Damon packed on the pounds to play reluctant informant Mark Whitacre and thanks to a steady diet of burgers, pizza and beer, he added 30 pounds to his usually sculpted bod. The results certainly helped audiences to forget that they were watching Matt Damon and humanized a former People magazine's Sexiest Man Alive.





#3 Charlize Theron - Monster (2003)

Prosthetics, especially a set of false teeth, definitely helped to hide the inherent perfection of stunner Charlize Theron's face but the actress helped things along by putting on 30 pounds to portray prostitute-turned-killer Aileen Wuornos, a woman who lived a hard, troubled life from the start. Her additional heft meant her performance got an added dose of physicality, which the academy granted worthy of the Best Actress Oscar and which Roger Ebert called, perhaps a tad hyperbolically "one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema."





#2 Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

After Swede Noomi Rapace did such an excellent job, it was hard to imagine how the delicately-featured Rooney Mara would be able to pull off a suitably bad-ass performance and go dark enough to play Lisbeth Salander, the anti-social hacker who prefers riding her motorcycle at night to almost anything. But Mara proved she was game for the challenge, bleaching her eyebrows, dying and shaving part of her head, and most impressive of all, getting pierced. We're talking lip, nose, eyebrow and nipple, in addition to losing an undetermined amount of weight. Showing that kind of dedication coupled with her equally ferocious performance made it clear that director David Fincher picked the right girl.





#1 Christian Bale - The Machinist (2004)

When you stop to think that the rail-thin man at the centre of The Machinist is Batman - BATMAN! - it gives you even more appreciation for the acting skills that Christian Bale is clearly possessed of. Not only is his commitment to his craft visible in every exposed bone and inch of his jutting collarbone in this eerie mystery about an insomniac who starts to doubt his sanity, but the fact that after dropping down to a frightening 121 lbs, which meant subsisting on little beyond a can of tuna or an apple, he had the energy to deliver his lines and be present in scenes with co-star Jennifer Jason Leigh, is incredibly impressive. Few other physical transformations comes close to the drastic, ghost-like quality Bale exhibits in every scene of The Machinist, making it hard to watch and even harder to look away.


Who else has stunned you with their physical transformation? Add your picks below!

newsletter, matthew fox, alex cross, tyler perry

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