Matthew McConaughey dropped almost 50 pounds to play Ron Woodroof, a Texas AIDS patient given 30 days to live, in the brilliant film ‘Dallas Buyers’ Club.’ To look like a man emaciated from HIV, he not only cut his caloric intake but also burned 1,800 additional calories a day with heavy exercise.
His wife Camila restricted his eating by preparing his meals. He set a goal to lose four pounds per week. He lost a grand total of 47 pounds. To make sure his weight loss was as healthy as possible, he met up with a nutritionist. He had the desired appearance in mind.
Natalie Portman Transforms Her Figure for ‘Black Swan’
Natalie Portman said preparing for her role in 'Black Swan' took a huge physical and emotional toll. “It was about a year of ballet preparation that sort of ramped up as the film got closer. It started out for a couple of hours a day, then five hours a day, then more like eight hours and it was very intense but really fun, too,” Portman said. At her side were some of the world’s top dancers, coaches, and teachers in the ballet universe.
Portman was 29 when she chiseled off 20 pounds to create Nina, a beautiful young ballerina whose relentless ambition drives her to the edge of sanity. Her diet, equally crazy, subsisted on very little besides rabbit food—a lot of carrots and almonds. Between extreme dieting and brutal 8-hour-long dance rehearsals, Portman said, “There were some nights that I thought I literally was going to die.”
Jonah Hill Packed on the Pounds for ‘War Dogs’
In 2016, Jonah Hill rounded his figure out an extra 40 pounds to look like real-life arms contractor and weapons dealer, Efraim Diveroli. But after the film wrapped, Hill was ready to get rid of the heavyset look, so he dialed up his '21 Jump Street' co-star Channing Tatum and asked him to hook him up with his trainer and nutritionist.
He took up Jiu Jitsu. At a gym in Manhattan, he has worked with a trainer doing boxing moves. He’s not as comfortable sharing his workout routine as other stars are. But Hill is happy to be in shape. “I really believe everyone has a snapshot of themselves from a time when they were young that they’re ashamed of. For me, it’s that 14-year-old overweight and unattractive kid who felt ugly to the world who listened to hip-hop and who wanted so badly to be accepted by this community of skaters.”
Demi Moore Trained Hard for 'G.I. Jane'
On the brink of decline from a super-celeb apex, Demi Moore battled back with an extreme training regimen to transform herself into a female Navy SEAL who breaks into the exclusively male military club. Preparing to get into the character of Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil, G.I. Jane’s protagonist, took the same sacrifice and commitment SEALs train for. To keep it authentic, Moore trained with Navy SEAL coach Stephen Helvenston and celebrity trainer, Gregory Joujon-Roche.
She hit her cardio routine by 4 a.m. every morning and then moved on to muscle strengthening: one-arm push-ups, dumbbell bench presses, and shoulder workouts, nine weight training exercises in all. Cardio came from treadmill workouts or running in Central Park with a security guard entourage. Other efforts to get in the headspace of a SEAL included shaving her head, completing vigorous Navy SEAL obstacle courses, and doing push-ups in the mud.
Jared Leto Packs It on for ‘Chapter 27’
Jared Leto piled on the pounds to play John Lennon’s assassin in 'Chapter 27.' To be precise, he packed on 67 pounds! Playing Mark David Chapman, the American Beatles fan who took the life of the world-adored English rock and roll icon required more than a physical alteration. Leto needed to alter his voice and demeanor. “[Chapman] barely ever speaks above a whisper and everything is kind of choked off in the throat,” Leto said.
The dough-boy body Leto procured portrayed the killer in J.P. Schaefer’s Chapter 27 precisely, but it did not win any fitness awards. In fact, his physique earned him an Rx for Lipitor instead. Ending up with gout and doctor recommendations for Lipitor left Leto with almost zero regrets. “The script didn’t say, ‘Page 1: You gain 67 pounds, and you’re miserable for two months.’ The point is, Leto nailed the part.