Scottish star Ewan McGregor was up for the challenge of playing two very different brothers in season three of “Fargo”. McGregor packed on the pounds to play Ray, an overweight, down-on-his-luck man. “I ordered a massive dessert and started putting on weight from that second onward,” he told Vanity Fair. “It’s quite nice when you’re ordering — you can order whatever you like. But the truth is I would go to bed every night not feeling very great. I’m a small guy. I’m not really used to carrying weight. It doesn’t make you feel great. I like to feel fit and healthy. But it was effective. It worked.”
McGregor used Spanx to help him slim down to play the gaunt-looking brother Emmit. “Spanx are no joke,” he said in an interview. “The Spanx makes me hold my body in a different way, because it’s tight and keeps me more upright, I suppose.”
It's nice to hear from employees who genuinely enjoy their work. Such is the case with Messina, who relished the chance to pack on the pounds for 'Live By Night'. "It was a lot of fun,” he told Stephen Colbert. “Just stuff my face, beer, lots of beer, bagels, pasta. I would have a beer by the bedside table and when I woke up in the middle of the night to pee, I’d just [chug] the beer."
With 1997's 'Cop Land', Stallone not only wanted to change how his body was perceived, he wanted to change how his body of work was perceived. "I knew I'd never be taken seriously again," he said. "Intelligent people looked at my movies and said, `This is athletics, not acting. This is sleight-of-hand, not flesh-and-blood, tear-out-your-heart movie-making.'" This prompted the erstwhile action hero to commit "sacrilege" by trading muscle for Molson and gaining over 40 pounds and, with his first critically acclaimed role in years, self-respect.
For 2001's 'Bridget Jones's Diary' diminutive actor Renee Zellweger gained an English accent, 20 lbs (that's roughly a stone and a half), and subsequently, an Oscar nomination as the titular character who is "a verbally incontinent spinster who smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish and dresses like her mother." The relative controversy stirred by the American's casting was put to rest.
Actors will usually gain weight for a film; in the case of Morgan Spurlock, his weight gain WAS the film. Audiences gasped in morbid curiosity as the subject of 2004's 'Super Size Me' documentary packed on the pounds (and quarter-pounders) to see whether he could live off nothing but McDonald's food. The answer, unsurprisingly, was no, as his rotund figure illustrated by film's end.
To play one half of an odd couple opposite babyface Ryan Gosling, Crowe assumed the role of a bruiser -- and the weight that went along with it. Tipping the scale at 265lbs, the Australian actor, looking nothing like his early, 'gladiator' self, aimed to be the "physical juxtaposition of Ryan," with the pair playing off their disparate appearance for laughs.
The most recent film on this list is 'Bleed For This', another film on this list that tells the story of a real-life boxer, and a film that required its actors to alter their physical appearance. While Miles Teller was getting ripped to portray boxer Vinny Pazienza, Aaron Eckhart was gorging in order to play his trainer. "Miles was dropping, I was gaining," Eckart said in a recent interview. "So I would send him pictures of my breakfast which was a dozen glazed and he would send me a picture of his, which was a boiled egg."
Originally written as a skinny redneck, Private Lawrence (a.k.a. Gomer Pyle) was changed into an overweight oaf at the behest of director Stanley Kubrick. D'Onofrio would gain 70 lbs for the role, eclipsing the 60 lbs Robert De Niro gained for 'Raging Bull' (yes, he is also on this list). Almost as shocking was the weight lost for D'Onofrio's next role: 'Thor' in 1987's 'Adventures in Babysitting'.
Robert De Niro
The transformation that transformed the profession. In one film, De Niro went from a lithe and muscular Jake LaMotta to an older, overweight LaMotta, setting the record (later to be broken by Vincent D'Onofrio) for most weight gained for a film role. To show he was a team player, Joe Pesci, who would play opposite De Niro in the film's final act, lost weight to accentuate De Niro's size.
Though 'The Informant!' got mixed reviews, its star did not, with Matt Damon going against type to play the uncharismatic informer, Mark Whitacre. Helping to play the office exec were 30 lbs, put there through a steady diet of "a #1 Value Meal at McDonald’s and then Doritos on top of it. It was absolute heaven."
The blonde stunner not only gained weight for her Oscar-winning role in 2003's 'Monster', she completely transformed her visage to play the role of mentally disturbed prostitute Aileen Wuornos. Fans and critics alike were mesmerised, with Roger Ebert proclaiming, "What Charlize Theron achieves in Patty Jenkins' "Monster" isn't a performance but an embodiment... This is one of the greatest performances in the history of the cinema."
Talk about (weight) range! Bale not only lost a shocking amount of weight for two different roles ('The Machinist' and 'The Fighter'), he then put on the weight for 2013's 'American Hustle'. For character Irving Rosenfeld, Bale gained 43 pounds, shaved his head to effect a combover, then assumed a slouch so authentic, it resulted in a herniated disc.
If a soon-to-be Oscar winner gains weight for a film but nobody goes to see it, did they really gain a pound? That's the question we found ourselves asking of Jared Leto's 60-pound weight gain to play John Lennon killer Mark David Chapman in the flop, 'Chapter 27'.