It wasn’t a part Charlize Theron thought she could pull off, but ultimately, she won the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of the deranged vigilante serial killer, Aileen Wuornos, in ‘Monster’ (2003). Getting into character, Theron put on 30 pounds. The commitment required eating a lot of donuts and potato chips, essentially living as unhealthy as Aileen Wuornos would.
Portraying the real-life serial killer revealed another side of Theron’s acting spectrum. She credits the support of ‘Monster’ director, Patty Jenkins, who told her she must take the part. “You have to,” Jenkins said. “You’re the only person who can.” It meant the world to Theron, who said, “I feel like when you work with people who believe in you fully like that, if you have that kind of faith in me, I will do anything for you.” Indeed. She pinned the part and won the Oscar.
Christian Bale’s Extreme Dieting for ‘The Machinist’
Playing machinist factory worker Trevor Reznik, a troubled man with debilitating insomnia, Christian Bale had to get into the mind and body of a man whose struggle with sanity is compounded when he causes a freak accident that severely injures his co-worker. To fall to this character’s point of deterioration, Bale undertook an extreme weight loss regime. In total, he lost 60 pounds. If that doesn't sound extreme, consider he started at 173 and dwindled down to 110. It was hardly healthy.
He ate one can of tuna and one apple per day. One cup of coffee served as his only beverage besides water. He also exercised intensely, completing cardio, weight training, and intensive resistance workouts. Additionally, coffee and these particular foods are metabolism boosters.
Chris Hemsworth Bulked Up for Thor
It surprises no one that the “Sexiest Man of the Year” title went to Chris Hemsworth. With Hemsworth’s first trainer, former Navy SEAL Duffy Gaver, the actor committed to a hardcore, old-school method of heavy weights and red meat. People who noted the transformation thought Hemsworth used steroids, but Gaver says, “He didn’t touch a single substance.” It was just his raw will to beef up to Thor proportions.
These days, Thor’s got a new trainer. Luke Zoochi’s plan moved Hemsworth to lean and healthy meats and on to a strict new vegan regimen. Including it in the Thor workout plan has helped popularize “vegan bodybuilding.” With the original Thor workout, Hemsworth packed 20 pounds of muscle onto his upper body. The focus on his arms and shoulders was an intentional bodybuilding strategy as he was looking for the Nordic hammer-wielding strength of Thor.
Tom Hanks Transformed into a ‘Castaway’
Tom Hanks had to deliver two vastly different physiques for 'Castaway.' He had to pack on 50 pounds for filming the “before” images and then shed 55 pounds in four months for the “after” images. Hanks said, “The idea of looking at four months of constant vigilance as far as what I ate, as well as two hours a day in the gym doing nothing but a monotonous kind of workout was formidable. You have to power yourself through it almost by some sort of meditation trickery. It’s not glamorous."
To get an idea of what sort of diet he had to subsist on, it was mostly crab, fish, vegetables, a few fruit-based carbs, coconut milk, and water. To satisfy a hunger craving, he chowed down on vegetables. It’s now known as the Castaway Diet.
The Sacrifices of Anne Hathaway for ‘Les Miserables’
Anne Hathaway won a Golden Globe, an Academy, a SAG, and a BAFTA for her role as Fantine, in 'Les Misérables.' But she lost a tremendous amount getting into the mind of an impoverished, emotionally-wrenched French woman who eventually dies of tuberculosis. True, Hathaway literally wasted away, stripping 25 pounds from a fit frame, but she also sacrificed a long-flowing brunette mane and her mental well-being.
With zero regrets for doing justice to Victor Hugo’s Fantine, Hathaway said, “I had to be obsessive about it—the idea was to look near death.” She survived on two squares of what she calls “dried oatmeal paste” a day. She submitted to consuming about 500 calories per day, a special diet that included a severe cleanse at the start of filming. It took a toll. “I was in such a state of deprivation—physical and emotional." The actress said it took her weeks to feel like herself again.