Actors tend to throw themselves into their roles by any means necessary. One of the best known artists who allows their roles to consume them is Shia LaBeouf. Most recently, per Cinema Blend, the Disney Channel alum got his entire chest tattooed for his role in the 2020 David Ayer film The Tax Collector.
In 2013, Harry Potter‘s Rupert Grint also attested to the Honey Boy star’s over-the-top method acting. For their indie movie Charlie Countryman, LaBeouf took the psychedelic drug LSD for the first time while on set. Grint recalled, “If anything will make you not do drugs, it’s watching that. He smashed the place up, got naked and kept seeing this owl” (per Cinema Blend).
And, of course, we could never forget the time LaBeouf pulled out his own tooth and inflicted scars upon his own face for 2014’s Fury. His reasoning? He told Extra at the time, “I know it seems wild ’cause it’s a scar but you get a lot of scars doing these things, more so emotionally than the physical stuff. That’s really the smallest part of the job. That’s just vanity stuff.” Seems legit.
However radical, LaBeouf is not the only actor who goes all out for his roles. Check out some other celebs who completely changed their bodies for movie roles.
50 Cent dropped 54 pounds to play a cancer patient
While most know Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as a business mogul, he was somewhat of a thespian in his early years. In 2010, Jackson starred in the dramatic film All Things Fall Apart, where he played a college football star, poised to join the NFL, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. For the role, the former rapper dropped 54 pounds — from 214 down to 160 in nine weeks — to make the character’s diagnosis seem realistic.
Jackson spoke to The Associated Press (per Billboard) at the time and explained, “I had to discipline myself not… to actually have myself be in the physical state to convey the energy I felt. It’s a passion project for me.”
Photos of his weight loss circulated on the internet and made many question his health status. According to Us Weekly (via Everyday Health), he explained the photo was from the first day of shooting the second half of the movie. “The weight started coming off and my manager told me, ‘You better get yourself to a doctor!'” He said. “I just didn’t want to go because I had to match the look in my mind. I was so into what I was doing that I wasn’t really concerned with that.”
Although the star put in so much work to transform his appearance for the role, it was a surprise for fans when the movie went straight to Video-On-Demand and never made it theaters, as originally expected.
Anne Hathaway starved herself for Les Miserable
Anne Hathaway admittedly lost her mind while filming the 2012 musical Les Misérables. Towards the middle of the film, Hathaway’s character, a French prostitute, becomes a fatally ill. To allow the character to look as realistic as possible, the actress lost 10 pounds before filming began and another 15 pounds after filming started.
“I just had to stop eating,” she told The Hollywood Reporter (per the Daily Mail) at the time. “All for a total of 13 days shooting.” Of course, that level of deprivation would have a mental and emotional toll as well. The then 30-year-old spoke to The Huffington Post and revealed, “I had to be obsessive about it — the idea was to look near death. Looking back on the whole experience — and I don’t judge it in any way — it was definitely a little nuts. It was definitely a break with reality, but I think that’s who Fantine is anyway.”
She continued, “I was in such a state of deprivation — physical and emotional. When I got home, I couldn’t react to the chaos of the world without being overwhelmed […] It took me weeks till I felt like myself again.”
It all paid off in the end, though, as Hathaway won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the role.
Hilary Swank ate 4,000 calories a day for Million Dollar Baby
Although Hilary Swank had an idea of what she was getting into with 2004’s boxing film Million Dollar Baby, she did not have a full grasp of the level of dieting she would have to endure, later calling it “the hardest thing she has ever done.” While she has always been petite and fit in stature, the star needed to build up muscle to properly portray an aspiring boxer.
“I started working out five hours a day — I had to eat 210 grams of protein a day,” she explained to The Hollywood Reporter. “I don’t know if you guys are aware of intake of protein.” She further explained, “I had to eat 60 egg whites in a day and I couldn’t. So every morning I would drink them. I had to eat every hour and a half. So in the night, I had to wake up and drink protein shakes. I put on 23 pounds of muscle.”
And while the star has always been pretty active — as noted in Repeller, “I grew up playing sports so for me, exercise is like braiding hair. I was a gymnast, a swimmer, I played basketball. But swimming was really my thing” — she continued to keep up her fitness training following the production of the movie and is still very much a beast in the gym.
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