Rapper 50 Cent took time out of his music career to work on a passion project. He wrote, produced, financed, and starred in ‘All Things Fall Apart,’ a movie about a Heisman-hopeful football star named Deon, whose fortunes are tackled by cancer. To prep for the role, the rapper from Queens lost almost 60 pounds. His motivation stemmed from losing a friend to cancer.
When a picture of the rapper got out, his gaunt visage shocked everyone. He weighed just 160 pounds. The sacrifice he undertook to star in the film directed by Mario Van Peebles was brutal. He went on a liquid diet and spent three grueling hours a day on the treadmill. This went on for nine months. “I was starving,” he said. He also went through the painful process of tattoo removal to play the part, joking, “It cuts down on the amount of time I have to spend in makeup covering them up.”
Emile Hirsch Deprived Himself for ‘Into the Wild’
Emile Hirsch played Chris McCandless, a man who starved to death in the Alaskan Wilderness hoping to be saved. To get into such a deprived state, Hirsch had to give up food. “I weighed about 156 pounds when I got the part, and I weighed 130 pounds throughout most of the film,” Hirsch said. But, as the character he portrayed neared death, he lost significant body fat. “And then I went down to 115 pounds for the weight loss in the Alaska segment,” he said.
Wasting away like that was a mental and physical challenge. To do it, he explains, “was a lot of running and being very hungry and dreaming of candy all the time.” It was all he could think of! Even though he was starving, candy was all he craved. “It was like, Steak? No. Like a Take 5 Candy Bar. That was like the ideal,” Hirsch said.
Kit Harington Couldn’t Stop Bulking Up for His Role in ‘Pompeii’
You have to be all muscle and mass to play a gladiator. At least that’s what Kit Harington assumed when he took the role of the uber-muscular Milo, in 'Pompeii' (2014). “So I went into quite a heavy training regime five weeks before filming. I started by bulking up, and then when I got out there, I had four weeks to shred down and get toned,” Harington explained. It became addictive. “It’s the best shape I’ve been in, and I was hell-bent on getting in a certain way.”
Becoming obsessed, Harington found himself the victim of body dysmorphia, which is excessive anxiety about body appearance. When he hit the point of overdoing it, he succumbed to exhaustion. His trainer stepped in to help Harington scale back on his gym visits. Three times a day, six days a week, was a bit much. In the end, Harington said that he was proud of his achievement in strength and conditioning.
J.K. Simmons Gets Pumped for ‘Justice League’
J.K. Simmons couldn’t have done it without Aaron Williamson, his ex-Marine elite-level trainer. Although, embodying 'Justice League' Commissioner Jim Gordon took a lion’s share of the work from Simmons. On the other hand, Williamson is credited for bulking up the likes of Zac Efron, Sylvester Stallone, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jai Courtney, and Jamie Foxx.
None of Simmon’s previous roles had demanded a ripped-out physique. He took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 'Whiplash,' playing an abusive teacher, so playing the commissioner of Gotham City and Batman’s go-to guy required a flip. The strength he built impressed trainer Williamson, who posted a picture of his ripped client saying, “Every time we train together I forget he’s 61 years old. So much respect for this guy.”
Chris Hemsworth Dwindles to Nothing ‘In the Heart of the Sea’
From Thor to the skin-and-bones frame of a castaway, Chris Hemsworth swung to the other extreme in Ron Howard’s 'In the Heart of the Sea.' In the movie, Hemsworth plays First Mate Owen Chase, whose ship named Essex is crushed to bits by the notorious literary whale, Moby Dick. The crew is stranded for months.
Hemsworth lost 30 pounds to achieve the starvation look. The weight was stripped from the fit and trim frame we saw him don in 'Black Hat,' so it was particularly difficult to lose. He and his cast mates were consuming just 500 calories per day by the time the open sea shooting commenced. Like real castaways, Hemsworth said extreme weight loss made them kind of lose it. “We kind of went insane, weighing ourselves every day.”