Christian Bale’s body transformation from The Machinist in 2004 and Batman Begins in 2005
HOLLYWOOD, CA- In some cases, it takes more than Computer-generated imagery (CGI) or special effects for an audience to believe an actor, especially a well-known one, is someone other than themselves. This is why some celebrities have taken drastic measures in the form of weight loss or gain to give a convincing performance. Although these practices might be detrimental to their health, these actor/actresses seem to be committed enough to their roles to put their health on the line.
Some of the most shocking weight loss and gain transformations leave a lot of people asking “how?”
Christian Bale is one celebrity who has been known to go to extreme measures to buff up or slim down for a movie role, in a very short amount of time, too. He went from 185 pounds to 121 pounds for The Machinist in 2004 to play an industrial worker suffering from insomnia, reports the LA Times. Only a year later he gained 100 pounds to play Batman in the film Batman Begins in 2005.
Natalie Portman, on the left, and Mila Kunis, on the right, both at 95 pounds for their roles in Black Swan
“I did actually start to feel I was putting my body under too much pressure, because I put on 100 pounds in five months” says Bale to IGN, “You get big mood swings, but not such a bad thing when you’re playing this darker version of Batman.”
This behavior is very risky and might not be worth the movie role. “Severe slashing calories may lead to weight loss, but the lost weight includes precious muscle and lowers metabolism,” says Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD. an Expert Columnist for WebMD.
Similarly, Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman, both petite actresses, lost 20 pounds each for their roles as ballerina’s in Black Swan released in 2010. Both weighed 95 pounds, according to the LA Times.
Kunis says her body has not been the same ever since she gained the weight back.
Matthew McConaughey lost 40 pounds for his role in Dallas Buyers Club
“When I got down to 95 pounds, I was muscles, like a little brick house, but skin and bones,” she tells Harper’s BAZAAR, “When I gained it back, it went to completely different areas. […] All the weight that left my chest went to my side hip, my stomach.”
Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are no strangers when it comes to extreme weight loss and gain in the film industry. For their roles in Dallas Buyers Club in 2013 they were both portraying HIV-positive characters, near to death and very sickly looking.
McConaughey lost more than 40 pounds to make his character Ron Woodroof believable. McConaughey apparently stuck to the foods he wanted but had strict portion control, reports the LA Times.
Jared Leto played a transgender woman infected with AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club alongside McConaughey. Leto apparently stopped counting after losing 30 pounds but weighed in at 114 pounds by production time, according to LA Times.
Jared Leto pictured left at normal weight, center in his role in Dallas Buyers Club, and right in his role in Chapter 27
This is not the first time Leto has changed weight for a role. In 2007 he played Mark David Chapman, John Lenon’s murderer in the film Chapter 27. He gained 67 pounds by eating unhealthy foods and an interesting combo of pints of melted chocolate ice cream spiked with olive oil and soy sauce, according to LA Times.
These five actors are all young and successful people and their body transformations may not directly be effecting their health now. But they are at a higher risk to many problems down the road. “The consequences are so extreme that they involve both physical as well as mental degradation, a true debilitation,” as quoted on Fit Day.
Although these actors and actresses are gaining weight for their careers this could be a bad influence on fans who might idolize these celebrities. Or will people just look at this as admiration for the hard work and dedication these stars have to their jobs?
Clare is the Copy Editor of Zap-Ed-News. She is studying Media and Society and English at Hobart and William Smith Colleges and is part of the William Smith Class of 2015.