Acting is all about subsuming and transforming to become a different character, and sometimes the process also requires some dramatic physical changes. From gain loss to weight gain, from body piercing to intense workout regimes, these actors have proved that acting is a job that takes incredible amount of dedication, and a lot more than just a 'pretty face'. Check out the physical transformations that blew us away:
Tom Hanks, Cast Away
For Cast Away, Hanks had to look like he’s been living on a deserted island for years after surviving a plane crash. He lost 55 pounds (25 kg) for the role through an extreme diet.
''Oh, those FFs, man. Those fries from France…," Hanks shared what he missed most during this time. "The only thing I did not give up was coffee... Nope, wasn't about to!".
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
For Black Swan, where she played a ballerina, Portman had to transform her body to that of a professional dancer. She reportedly trained for 5-8 hours a day for six months, and lost 20 pounds (9 kg) in the process.
And it was certainly worth it, as Portman won an Academy Award for the role, in addition to also meeting her now-husband, French choreographer Benjamin Millepied, on set.
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
Matthew McConaughey might be well known for his good looks, but for his Oscar-winning role in Dallas Buyers Club, where he played a man dying of HIV, he had to drastically changed his appearance. McConaughey lost 47 pounds (21kg) with a special diet, where he also “chewed a lot of ice”.
"The surprise was how the energy that I lost from the neck down transferred to the neck up,” the actor shared with the BBC. “I became clinically aware, almost hyper”.
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Hathaway shaved her head and lost 16 pounds (7 kg) on a detox diet to play tragic Fantine, a prostitute dying of tuberculosis. "I had to be obsessive about it – the idea was to look near death" the actress told Vogue. “Looking back on the whole experience… it was definitely a little nuts”.
Hathaway’s committed performance in the movie won her a Best supporting Actress Academy Award.
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
To portray legendary Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, Cooper had to gain 40 pounds (18 kg) - and he did it in just 10 weeks through two daily workouts, in addition to constant eating.
“I had to get to the point where I believed I was him,” Cooper told Men's Health Magazine. “At 185 pounds, it would’ve been a joke. His size was such a part of who he was.”
Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
To play heroine Lisbeth Salander, Mara had her head shaved (and the remaining hair dyed black), her eyebrows bleached, and her body pierced.
"The eyebrows were the biggest shock because that really changed my face, and I didn't recognize myself," the actress told Vogue. "But I was fine because I knew it was going to be really helpful for getting into character".
Chris Pratt, Guardians of the Galaxy
During his time at Parks and Recreation Pratt was a known to be a little chubby, but when he got his role in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, he started working out intensively and switched his diet – and managed to lose 60 pounds (27 kg) in just six months.
“Three or four hours a day of just consistent, ass-kicking hard work”, Pratt described his new regime to Men’s Health Magazine.