Many people will do what it takes just to get a shot in Hollywood. After all, fame and popularity comes with perks and benefits. However, making it big in the industry entails a lot of hard work, patience, sacrifice and challenges.
Apparently, being an actor goes beyond memorizing lines and taping until the wee hours in the morning. In fact, it is also about getting into character and embracing the person you need to portray, even if it means changing the way you look – drastically. There are even celebrities who had to go through ethnic makeovers, just to suit the American market.
If you are seriously considering Hollywood, read this to help you decide whether the industry is right for you. Here are 11 celebrities who dramatically changed their appearances, just to suit their movie parts.
1. Christian Bale: The Master of Transformation in Hollywood
Yes, he is an Oscar winner. He is, without a doubt, one of the best actors and most handsome men in Tinsel town. When it comes to playing a role, Bale will do whatever it takes to get into character, even if it means eating donuts and cheeseburgers to get big, and slouching to look fatter, accidentally herniating a disc in his back – just for a role.
Believe it or not, Christian Bale played Bruce Wayne in Batman, Trevor Reznik in The Machinist, and Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle. Whether he’s wearing a cape or playing a balding con artist, Bale is serious about transforming himself, just to fit a role. In fact, even Robert De Niro could not recognize him on the set because of the changes he went through.
Bale is truly the master of transformation.
2. Lindsay Price: Paying the Price for a More Caucasian Look
Asians are becoming a big part of the Hollywood market – and there’s nothing wrong with that. The distinct look, the accent, the talent and the market back in Asia – all of these are factors are what make Asian celebrities interesting. Unfortunately, stereotyping and race still happens. This is why some Asians feel as though they have to go through cosmetic procedures to make their look more western.
One of these talented actresses is Lindsay Price.
Lindsay played guest roles at the start, but her career started to flourish when she played the role of Janet in 90210. She was also Victory Ford in another hit TV series, Lipstick Jungle, and landed several roles in other TV series and movies like Two and a Half Men and Hawaii Five-0. However, for whatever reasons, she felt she had to do something about her already-gorgeous eyes.
Her metamorphosis includes the following:
- Blepharoplasty –Popularly known as an eyelid tuck, this cosmetic procedure is popular among Asians. In this procedure, the doctor adds extra fold on the eyelids to make it look more open and western.
- Chin Implant – This procedure was to give Lindsay a rounder jaw to make her look more Caucasian.
3. Natalie Portman: Losing So Many Pounds for a Role, It Hurt
Natalie Portman once went bald for her character in V for Vendetta – and nailed the look. However, this former child star was willing to go the extra mile for playing someone for the sake of movies and entertainment. By going the extra mile, this means enduringa carrots and almond diet and working out five to eight hours everyday to lose 20 pounds for a movie.
It did pay off. Her role as Nina Sayers in the movie, Black Swan, was so exceptional, she won an Oscar that year. During her interview with EW, she said, “It was the first time I understood how you could get so wrapped up in a role that it could sort of take you down.”
In her recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Portman revealed that she doesn’t keep her Oscar award for Black Swan and referred to it as a “false idol.”
4. From Front Man to Actor: Jared Leto Gained Pounds for a Role
Chapter 27 is a movie about a man who shot John Lennon. This main character just happened to be quite overweight. Played by 30 Seconds to Marsfront man Jared Leto, he proved he was the best man for the role.
Leto gained 67 pounds just to be in character.
His diet included unhealthy snacks, like microwaved pints of ice cream with olive oil and soy sauce; however, it doesn’t end there.
He developed gout, a complex form of arthritis that results from too much buildup of uric acid in the body. Towards the end of the shooting, Leto’s body was in shock, due to excessive weight gain. He was in pain and had to rely heavily on a wheelchair because he couldn’t walk for long distances.
Thankfully, he got his healthy weight back on track.
5. Charlize Theron: A Not-So-Pretty Look for This Tall and Slender Beauty
One of the most beautiful faces in Hollywood and also around the world is Charlize Theron. Tall, angelic face, and a body to die for, it is surely not hard to recognize this South African beauty.
However, things are different for this Oscar-winning actress in her movie, Monster. To prepare for her role as Aileen Wuornos, a Daytona Beach prostitute and America’s first female serial killer, Charlize had to gain 30 pounds, wear prosthetic teeth, and master Aileen’s physical posture.
Charlize’s transformation for the movie role was more than just making her fat and ugly, according to its writer-director, Patty Jenkins. The character calls for a disturbed, homeless woman, and Charlize definitely got into character. There is no doubt why she won her Oscar for Best Actress for this movie.
6. Cast Away: Tom Hanks and His One Year Struggle to Lose Weight
Tom Hanks played various roles and tons of movies to prove that he is truly one of Hollywood’s best actors. From falling in love with a mermaid, transforming himself from a young boy to a grown man in Big, portraying a baseball player, solving mysteries involving the Church, to playing Forrest Gump, which stapled his name on the map, it is hard not to recognize Tom Hanks’ dedication when it comes to his craft.
Then came the movie, Cast Away.
The movie is about a FedEx employee who crash-lands and ends up stranded on a desert island. To prepare for the role, Tom Hanks had to drop 50 pounds. He also grew long beard to make his shipwrecked look be more realistic. This explains why the film production took a one-year break, so that Hanks could prepare for his role.
However, this is not the first time Tom Hanks went on a diet to prepare for a role. He also lost 30 pounds when he played an AIDS patient turned plaintiff in Philadelphia, which is also one of his best performances.
Because of his weight gain and loss, Hanks has developed type 2 diabetes.
7. From Dancing to Becoming a Princess: The Metamorphosis of Rita Hayworth
It turns out that Rita Hayworth, not Grace Kelly, is the first American actress who became a princess. She married Prince Aly Khan in 1949, although it was an unhappy union. Later on, they divorced.
Rita Hayworth had a different background. She was born Margarita Carmen Cansino and spent most of her childhood dancing in bars. A Fox Studio head spotted her in one of her performances and her Hollywood journey began. This also means she felt she had to go through the following cosmetic procedures, just to make her look more western:
- Hairline Electrolysis – Hayworth had a low hairline, which established her Latina descent. She went through painful hairline electrolysis, which used electric shock to kill hair follicles and stop them from growing.
- Skin Lightening – Apparently, skin lightening 70 years ago was different. There were no whitening pills and creams. Instead, there was a bleach solution, which you had to rub on your skin. That’s what Hayworth did to make her skin lighter.
- Hair Color – She changed her gorgeous trademark black Latina hair to auburn to match her lighter skin tone.
If there is any consolation for the pain she went through, Hayworth bagged numerous roles. She also became one of the most sought-after actresses, before she developed Alzheimer’s disease.
8. More Than Just a Pretty Face: Demi Moore On Her Role for I. Jane
Demi Moore has captured the hearts of everyone with her husky voice, striking beauty and a beautiful body, even in her 50’s. However, Demetria Guynes, which is her real name, is more than just a pretty face. In fact, she takes her craft seriously.
In the 1997 movie,G.I. Jane, Moore played Lieutenant Jordan O’Neill, the first female Navy SEAL to undergo Navy Special Warfare Group training. To prepare for the role, Moore and the rest of the cast went through intense military training, including pushups, obstacle courses and sit-ups. She even shaved her hair to make sure she stayed in character.
Demi Moore could easily have a stunt woman do the job, especially on the obstacle courses; however, she chose to do it herself because according to her, she felt that she missed an opportunity to experience firsthand what soldiers go through during their training. Now that’s professionalism.
9. When Boxing Met Robert De Niro
Robert De Niro is one of the greatest actors of all time. The younger generation might recognize him as the terrorizing father-in-law of Ben Stiller and working alongside Anne Hathaway in The Intern. However, De Niro came a long way from his humble beginnings in New York City.
When it comes to dedication, Robert De Niro surely knows what it means, especially when it comes to playing a role. In 1980, De Niro played the iconic boxer Jake LaMotta in the movie, Raging Bull. To prepare for the role, he trained with the legend himself, Jake LaMotta, in order to get his look during his prime years. That’s not all. De Niro fought in three different boxing matches to make his punches as convincing as possible.
However, the movie is not just about LaMotta’s heyday. It also portrayed his later years, which means putting almost 60 pounds for De Niro. De Niro won a Golden Globe and an Academy Award for his role, but the movie took its toll, giving him rashes and breathing issues.
10. Rooney Mara: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
American actress Rooney Mara first appeared in the Hollywood screen in 2005. She played small, supporting roles in movies and TV series like:
- The Social Network
- Law & Order
- Tanner Hall
- A Nightmare on Elm Street
Her first lead role was when she played Lisbeth Salander in the movie adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and she made quite an impression. To play the role effectively, Rooney Mara ditched the girl-next-door look in exchange of facial piercings in her nose, eyebrows and lip.
She also dyed her hair in raven black and shaved some parts of her head to look like a goth hacker.
All the pain paid off when she received a Best Actress nomination in the Oscars at the age of 26. Not bad.
11. Hilary Swank: From Nobody to Somebody in the Film Industry
During the late 90’s, Hilary Swank was unknown in the Hollywood industry. She had a minor role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, made it as a lead in The Karate Kid franchise. She was also a part of the main cast in Beverly Hills 90210. However, this didn’t make Swank a favorite in the industry until she played Brandon in 1999 film, Boy Don’t Cry.
Boys Don’t Cry is about a female born Teena Brandon, a transgender who adopts his male identity of Brandon, and attempts to find himself and some love.
To prepare for the role, Hilary spent weeks doing the following:
- Reading and researching transgender people.
- Cutting off all of her hair.
- Strapping her chest tightly to hide her breasts.
- Living as a male for an entire month.
Her sacrifices paid off, because not only was she recognized as one of the best actresses in Hollywood, but she also won a Best Actress Oscar for her role.
Whoever said being an actor is easy doesn’t know what they are talking about. Actors and actresses take their jobs seriously, even if it means gaining or losing weight, doing copious research about the role, and embracing their character, just to make it look as realistic as possible.
People should commend these 11 actors and actresses, as well as the many others who go through hell for a movie part for the job they have done. What is your favorite transformation, so far?