The movie industry is quite complex and sometimes difficult to uinderstand. I sometimes don’t even understand why people I know enjoy a particular movie, but I do appreciate a decicated actor, no matter if the movie is enjoybale or not. I mean, the topics, directors or cast may vary from film to film – and may not be to our liking. With all of the reliance on special effects and CGI, the ability of an actor can help make or break a film.
This is why certain actors in Hollywood control high amounts of respect and matching pay rates. This list focuses on the actor, and specifically those actors which go the extra mile to make their character more believable: from insane weight loss and gain to lifestyle changes and physical training. Here are the 15 most dedicated actors I can think of.
15. Demi Moore
Perhaps one actor people dont think about too much is Demi Moore. Lately, the 51-year-old hasn’t been in the spotlight as much as she used to. She still deserves appreciation, as for the 1996 movie Striptease, Moore became a stripper, complete with all the training and stage moves, and an amazingly in-shape body to match. Then, just one year later, she took on G.I. Jane. Moore shaved her head, got into even more amazing shape and went through intense training, supervised by military advisors and SEAL staff. You go girl!
14. Sylvester Stallone
He may not be Oscar material, but Sylvester works hard to get the character just right. At nearly 60 years of age, Stallone opted to resurrect the character of Rocky in 2006’s Rocky Balboa. A lot of work was required to get him ready; in addition to all the training and practice you’d expect, Stallone also faced off against real-life boxer Antonio Tarver, who played Balboa’s primary adversary Mason Dixon. Furthermore, Stallone wanted the boxing scenes to look as real as possible, so he took a number of blows from Tarver during practice and filming. Ouch!
13. Mickey Rourke
Rourke is one actor who demonstrated he is willing to push that little bit more to get a role just right. In 2008, Rourke took on the role of Randy Robinson in the hit The Wrestler. The then 55-year-old had to get into real shape if anyone was going to believe him as a wrestler on screen. So, he dropped the flab and put on 30lbs of muscle. He also put in considerable hours training and learning to pull off ‘real’ wrestling moves.
12. 50 Cent
Although 50 Cent is better known for his music career, Curtis Jackson has appeared in around two dozen projects for films, television shows and video games. One role he definitely went to extreme lengths for was for the 2011 film All Things Fall Apart where he portrays Deon, a football player who ends up battling cancer. Jackson took the part seriously, so the 39-year-old went on a liquid diet and reportedly ran on a treadmill for at least three hours every day. The end result was that Jackson lost 54 lbs. and looked the part of someone battling a terrible disease.
11. The Cast of Saving Private Ryan
A big part of this film’s success was that the actors ‘acted’ like soldiers instead of stars dressed up as soldiers. This was accomplished by putting the majority of the cast through a boot camp led by Dale Dye, a former Marine Corps officer who had been in combat in Vietnam. For 10 days, actors like Tom Hanks and Tom Sizemore lived and trained outdoors in all sorts of weather, eating rations and learning how to operate period-accurate weaponry. Interestingly, Matt Damon was not including in the training – I guess you understant why.
10. Tom Hardy
Now 37 years old, Hardy first pushed his body when he gained 42 lbs to play notorious inmate Charlie Bronson, a prisoner known for his extreme strength and strange behavior – he fought a Rottweiler in a prize fight once. Bronson even shaved off his mustache and sent it to Hardy to wear during the film. In 2012, Hardy bulked up again and put on 30 lbs of muscle to play Bane in The Dark Knight Rises. One epic role, if you ask me.
9. Jared Leto
Musician-turned actor Jared Leto has enjoyed an acting career dating back to the early 1990s. Recently, he has received attention for his portrayal of a trans-gender woman with HIV and AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club. For the role, the 42-year-old dropped his weight to just 114 lbs by not eating. But it’s not the first time the actor has had to drastically adjust his weight. In 2007, Leto portrayed Mark David Chapman, the man who killed John Lennon.
8. Heath Ledger
When Heath Ledger burst onto the mainstream with A Knight’s Tale and The Patriot in the early 2000s, it was all about his cuteness and the effect it had on women. Just several years later and the Australian-born actor was starring in such films as Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight. Ledger’s acting in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight gained the actor widespread praise. As the Joker, Ledger gave the character a more sinister and psychotic angle than previously portrayed and it’s probably one of the most intense character you’ll ever get to experience. It was reported that in order to develop the voice and mannerism of Gotham’s homicidal Joker, Ledger had locked himself away in a hotel room for six weeks.
7. Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman is a very good actor, one who is definitely willing to go the extra mile for her film roles. In order to play a ballerina in the 2010 film Black Swan, the Israeli-born actor undertook a daily regime which included five hours of ballet, swimming and cross-training. All of this was undertaken while on a daily diet of 1,200 calories.
6. Matthew McConaughey
Matthew McConaughey has appeared in a wide variety of films. It all started with Dazed and Confused in 1993 and although he gave us some forgettable films like U-571 and The Wedding Planner he has had some pretty good roles as well. In 2013, the 45-year-old Texan took on the role of Ron Woodroof, an individual afflicted with AIDS who tries to get around the system to get medication for people facing the disease. McConaughey lost around 47 lbs to play the role and you can still tell he hasn’t fully recovered from it.
5. Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks has enjoyed a long and successful career. He is also no stranger to going that extra bit for the character he is playing; his role in 2000’s Cast Away required special attention. First, the actor was required to gain a little weight and look ‘doughy’ for the first part of the film. After the plane crash on the island, filming was halted for several months while Hanks grew out his beard and hair and lost 55 lbs. As most scenes involved water, the 58-year-old spent a great deal of time wet and even got an infection in his leg at the end of filming.
4. Adrien Brody
Adrien Brody was not a total unknown before he starred in The Pianist in 2002. But the 2002 hit put his name on the map, and led to numerous awards including an Academy Award. In The Pianist, Brody plays Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Jewish musician who survives in the Warsaw Ghetto during the final days of Nazi occupation. For the role, Brody lost around 30 lbs but didn’t stop there. To truly get into the mindset of someone who has nothing, he let go of most comforts and possessions which included his prized Porsche. He reportedly even lost his girlfriend as a result of the purge.
3. Robert De Niro
To say Robert De Niro is a great actor or a film legend would be an understatement. Perhaps the best example of this was De Niro’s preparation to play Jake LaMotta, an Italian-American boxer. De Niro trained to become a boxer with LaMotta inside the ring with him and also got in shape, just like a boxer. He even entered three boxing matches and won two of them, all in the name of getting into character.
2. Christian Bale
Bale is an actor who takes his roles very seriously and often gets deep into character. Like many actors, the Welsh-born star has no problem gaining and losing weight for a role. For the 2004 film The Machinist, Bale lost 63 lbs on a diet of fruit and coffee in order to play an emaciated insomniac. He quickly had to turn things around in a matter of months when he was cast as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. Bale was so weak from the previous film that he couldn’t even do a push up to begin bulking up for the role of Bruce Wayne. Training and diet added 100 lbs by the time filming began and we all know how the story turned out from there.
1. Daniel Day-Lewis
Day-Lewis has continually demonstrated why he wins so many awards for his acting. Away from the screen, he’s known for spending a lot of time and effort preparing for each role and getting into character. This is perhaps seen best with My Left Foot, a film in which Day-Lewis plays a character afflicted with cerebral palsy. In order to prepare for and maintain his character, the English actor virtually lived in a wheel chair. He even adopted and maintained such a slouched posture that he broke two of his own ribs.