Actors will do crazy things to play movie roles, but these five went above and beyond. They pushed their bodies to the limit to fit these characters.
Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman both lost 20lbs for their roles as ballerinas in "Black Swan." To achieve the weight loss and prepare for their roles in the movie, they trained seven days a week for four months straight. They also ate very sparingly. Natalie said sometimes she "literally thought [she] would die."
To play his role in "The Machinist," Christian Bale lost 63lbs. This 6 foot tall actor went from weighing around 185lbs to around 122lbs. He then bulked up 100lbs in only 5 months for his role in Batman Begins. This extreme weight loss and gain put stress on his body and heart.
In order to play the role of a kidnap victim in the 2013 film "3096 Days," Antonia essentially starved herself. She said, "There was an understanding from the beginning that I would suffer as much as she did." She lost the weight by eating about as seldom as her character did. During the movie she tore an Achilles tendon and fractured a rib, as well as put stress on her heart, due to the weight loss.
To portray an emaciated heroin addict in "Sid and Nancy", Oldman didn't hold back when trying to look the part. Though he didn't start using heroin (thank goodness), Oldman was on a strict diet of "steamed fish and lots of melon" and was even hospitalized at one point during filming.
To play Thomas Levy in "Marathon Man," Hoffman deprived himself of sleep for two days before filming. He was so out of it that fellow cast mate Laurence Olivier said, "Why don't you try acting? It's much easier."
To play an older version of his character in one scene of "Raging Bull," De Niro gained 60lbs. The weight made it difficult for him to breathe and he apparently even struggled to tie his shoe laces. Even after the movie, De Niro found it difficult to lose the weight and endured emotional duress over it.
Gaining even more weight than De Niro, D'Onofrio was required to gain over 70 pounds for his role as Private Leonard "Gomer Pyle" Lawrence in "Full Metal Jacket". Being overweight and then going through an obstacle course didn't work out so well for D'Onofrio. He destroyed his knee and needed surgical reconstruction. He also had some trouble with the ladies saying, "Women didn't look at me; most of the time I was looking at their backs as they were running away. People used to say things to me twice, because they thought I was stupid."
In order to portray Kevin Carter in the "The Bang Bang Club", Kitsch needed to drop some pounds. Kitsch was already thin and fit but to play a suicidally-depressed photojournalist he needed to look even thinner. Dropping thirty-five pounds, Kitsch said he 'tried to run at least 10 miles a day on fruit and coffee." From the weight-loss, he suffered emotional distress and kidney problems.
Although their transformations served their movie roles well, we can't easily agree with what these actors chose to do. They risked their long-term health for our short term enjoyment.