ENTERTAINMENT NEWS - Some actors have dived so deeply into their roles that they have become unrecognisable.
Acting is tough at the best of times. Between inhabiting the headspace of a stranger, adopting mannerisms and speech patterns and burying your own identity as deep as possible, the career of a thespian can take a toll on mind and body. However, there are instance where actors have dived so deeply into their roles that they have become unrecognisable in both their physical appearance and the character they project.
Here are some of the best examples of this sort of commitment to the craft:
Bale has changed his bodyweight and appearance for so many films, that really he could have a listicle about this subject all to himself at this stage. Over the years he’s appeared as an emaciated insomniac (The Machinist), a whip-thin crack addict (for his Oscar-winning turn in The Fighter), an overweight conman with a sizable paunch (American Hustle) and, well, Batman (Nolan’s trilogy) in which he looked like he could bench-press a car.
Both his ripped physique and hairline have gone for his latest role as Dick Cheney in Vice, making him look uncannily like the former US VP.
Locally-born Hollywood A-lister Charlize Theron is as well known for her beauty as she is for her acting chops, so fans were rather shocked by her appearance in the serial-killer biopic, Monster.
To play Aileen Wournos, a former prostitute who was put to death in Florida for the murder of six men, Theron shaved her eyebrows, used prosthetic teeth and gained 14kgs. She underwent a complete transformation and that, coupled with her epic performance as Wournos, netted her the Oscar for Best Actress at the next year’s Academy Award.
Oldman has always had a reputation as something of a chameleon. The British actor has appeared in roles as diverse a dreadlocked pimp who thinks he’s black (True Romance), a balding Republican senator (The Contender), one of history’s most iconic assassins (JFK) and even a wheel chairbound madman with half a face (Hannibal).
But all of these transformations pale in comparison to his Oscar-winning turn as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Hunched, covered partially in aging skin prosthetics and puffing on cigars, Oldman is a dead-ringer for the UK’s wartime leader. In fact, the costume and make-up department were told to dial back their efforts, so some semblance of Oldman was still vaguely recognisable on film.
Jared Leto is easily one of the prettiest boys in Hollywood and for the longest time that worked against him as casting directors usually slotted him into films as eye-candy. This all changed when he took on the role of Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon in 1980 in New York, in the movie Chapter 27.
Leto put on 30kgs of extra body fat for the role, reportedly drinking pints of ice cream mixed with soya sauce and olive oil every night. The actor’s abrupt weight gain gave him gout and he had to use a wheelchair onset. The lengths some will go to for respect for their craft astound us.
Matthew McConaughey is probably the closest thing that Hollywood has these days to this generation’s Harrison Ford. With his goofy grin, effortless charm and swoon-worthy physique, the man is as at home in a rom-com as he is in an action movie as he is in dramas that run the gamut from heartfelt (Mud) to dark as hell (Killer Joe).
For The Dallas Buyer’s Club, though, McConaughey threw out not only his trademark charm, but most of his bodyweight. Playing a spikey and mostly selfish AIDS sufferer, Ron Woodroof, McConaughey lost 20kgs for the role and looks more an more gaunt throughout the film, even though his character softens as time goes on.