AMC Network Entertainment LLC

This browser is supported only in Windows 10 and above.

Actors Who Lost or Gained the Most Weight For A Role

Deniro_before_and_afterMaybe it has to do with trying to earn their stupendous salaries, but occasionally some actors and actresses can work a little too hard in preparing for a role. Blogger Deputy Dog has a fun list of ten thespians who either put on or took off huge amounts of weight in short periods of time in order to look the part for an upcoming movie. His list includes details and before/after photos of Sylvester Stallone, Renee Zellwegger, Eric Bana, Matt Damon, Hilary Swank and others.

Of course the famous one in this category is Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull. De Niro trained obsessively to get into shape for the movie’s grueling boxing scenes, and then went in the opposite direction, gaining 60 pounds to play the older LaMotta. (Maybe director Martin Scorsese should have considered doing the fat scenes first, so that at the end of shooting De Niro would have been left in good shape?)

And DeNiro isn’t even the record holder:

Jared Leto put on 62 pounds to play John Lennon’s murderer Mark avid Chapman in the as yet unreleased Chapter 27.

But the undisputed champion shape-shifter has to be Christian Bale. Not only did he lost 63 pounds for his performance as an insomniac in 2004’s The Machinist, but he followed that with Batman Begins, for which he gained 100 pounds! That was followed by Rescue Dawn, in which he was again visibly emaciated for his role as a prisoner of war. And I’m sure he’s back in strapping form for the upcoming Batman sequel The Dark Knight. I hope this guy has a good doctor.

It all reminds me of the famous exchange between Lawrence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman during the shooting of the classic Marathon Man (you know, the movie that terrified a generation of film buffs from keeping their dentist appointments). To prepare for his role as a graduate student relentlessly pursued by Nazis, Hoffman made sure that he was as frazzled, exhausted and out-of-breath as his character. He explained this to Olivier, who tut-tutted sympathetically and suggested, "But my dear boy, why don’t you just act?"

I’ve always enjoyed that story and was disappointed to learn that it isn’t true. But isn’t that the case with the best stories?

Read More