3 Actors Who Suffered Radical Changes to Rock Their Roles

With the recent Dallas Buyers Club movie and the success it had reported, people remembered that not only Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey had to suffer drastic changes to make their characters plausible, credible and outstanding, but in their careers, many other superstars chose sometimes difficult roles that imposed physical transformations such as loosing weight, gaining weight, change of facial features and so on. History of cinema remembers such radical changes as the courage of some actors that went beyond their talent and defied their own bodies to get that character right. Some of these transformations and the actors’ interpretations also led to such powerful characters in memorable movies that can be considered acts of pure genius. Not a long time ago, Total Film Magazine made a photo gallery with cinema’s 50 most spectacular actors’ physical changes, but we picked only three of them because they were monumental, to say the least and should be honored properly. Let’s see the three actors who suffered radical changes to rock their roles.

3. Ellen Burstyn – Requiem For A Dream

We chose her not only because in 1999 this movie shook the core of everybody who saw it, but because it had a young Jared Leto in it, a man whose role transformation pales in comparison to that of his movie partner Ellen Burstyn. A woman under the horrific influence of drugs ends up looking like a ghost from a more modern horror flick and the genius of this transformation is that the movies shows you Ellen’s radical changes in a progressive matter, which makes things even more terrible. It is mind blowing and nerve shattering to see how a woman can decompose and become a walking dead due to drugs and Ellen’s powerful role is still haunting after so many years. For this part, she is still considered one of those actors who got robbed of an Oscar Award.

2. Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler

Why this actor and why this movie? Well, if you remember gorgeous hot stud Mikey Rourke from the ancient 9 and 1/2 Weeks or Wild Orchid and if you followed his life until more contemporary times, you know everybody bashed him around for ending up looking like some white trash with no future, and alcohol had a part to play too in his natural radical transformation. The man was mocked in the press so many years in a row, at some point it seemed that a talented and famous actor like him would never recover. He got fat and negligent and he looked wasted most of the times. And then, The Wrestler hit the cinemas and all detractors had to shut up. Not only that he displayed a body many young men would envy, but he made such an unforgettable role in such a powerful movie, he managed to redeem himself for all his past sins. Not to mention long blonde hair.

1. Charlize Theron – Monster

Among all the actors who who suffered radical changes to rock their roles, Charlize Theron’s interpretation of famous female serial killer Eileen Wuornos was perhaps the most dramatic one. Other female actresses gained some pounds for their characters, Renee Zellweger and her Bridget Jones, Milla Kunis who lost a lot of weight to end up “skin and bones” for her role in the Black Swan, Natalie Portman who virtually starved to death and survived mind blowing physical training to deliver the Black Swan to us, and so many more. But Theron’s transformation was dramatic to the core and nobody could saw that coming. The beautiful, ingenue blonde with perfect skin and sparkling eyes delivered a monster in its true sense, as she gave up eyebrows, she had the face of a thousand sins, she wore prosthetic yellow teeth, she got… bigger, not fatter and whomever saw her on screen and remembered her in Sweet November was shocked to the core. She wasn’t the same person and rumors say that after that movie, she lost something of her beauty.

Perhaps there are even more than 50 actors who who suffered radical changes to rock their roles, but the list conceived by Total Film is a good place to start thinking about the real sacrifice some actors have to make, the real drama behind a part, the real challenges they have to go through not only in front of the camera, but behind them, starving or stuffing up with greasy food, becoming other people, trying to live to the expectations, stepping beyond the job and becoming one with the character.  

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