The stage has been set yet again for remarkable physical transformations by Hollywood actors as Cillian Murphy, aged 47, impresses audiences with his transformation for the upcoming blockbuster, Oppenheimer.
However, the tactics deployed by Ciilian in achieving his new look, such as subsisting on just a single almond a day, may seem relatively tame by Hollywood standards.
Cillian’s portrayal of the emaciated scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer, known for his diet of martinis and cigarettes, has caught the media’s attention.
Commenting on his drastic diet, the actor told The Guardian: “I was running on crazy energy; I went over a threshold to where I was not worrying about food or anything. I was so in it, a state of hyper… hyper something, but it was good because the character was like that. He never ate.”
However, Cillian’s transformation is not the first instance of actors going to extreme lengths for their roles. Christian Bale, famously known for his drastic weight fluctuations, lost an astonishing 62lbs for his role in The Machinist.
He told GQ: “Also, at the time I was engaged in a very filthy habit of smoking. So, I was rolling my own cigarettes and sitting there puffing away.” This diet, comprising an apple, a tin of tuna, and black coffee, provided fewer than 200 calories per day, a significant departure from the recommended 2,500-calorie average for men.
His transformation did not go unnoticed, earning him a Best Actor nomination. However, the actor’s pendulum-like physical changes have caught up with him. At the age of 45, he expressed concern about the impact of these extreme dieting practices on his health, stating: “I just can’t keep doing it. I really can’t,” he admitted. “My mortality is staring me in the face.”
Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson
Similar sacrifices were made by rapper and actor Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson for his role in All Things Fall Apart. The star shed a whopping 54lbs in just nine weeks for his portrayal of a cancer-stricken football player. Jackson achieved this dramatic weight loss through a liquid diet and three-hour daily treadmill workouts.
Explaining his motivation, Curtis revealed the tragic backstory of his best friend Charles Pringle, who suffered from cancer. He told Parade Magazine: “The weight started coming off, and my manager told me: ‘You better get yourself to a doctor!’ I just didn’t want to go because I had to match the look in my mind.”
Another striking example is that of Matthew McConaughey, who lost 40lbs for his role in Dallas Buyers Club’ He did this by consuming less than 500 calories per day, allowing him to portray the emaciated figure of a cowboy stricken with AIDS.
But the tables were turned in 2017 when Matthew needed to gain 47lbs for his role in Gold. During this time, he was labeled “Captain Fun” for his love of pizza nights and indulgence in cheeseburgers and beer.
Charlize Theron’s weight journey was the inverse of Murphy’s. For her role in Tully, she had to gain 50lbs in just three months. Reflecting on the experience, Theron confessed, “And then, after three weeks, it’s not fun anymore. Like, all of a sudden, you’re done eating that amount and then it becomes a job.” This transformation took a toll on Charlize’s health as she expressed: “I was very heavy, literally and figuratively. My soul just felt really heavy on this film, and I was just really unhealthy.”
Chris Pratt’s transformation from the lovable Andy Dwyer in Parks and Recreation to a muscular spacefarer in Guardians of the Galaxy is another remarkable instance. Chris, who lost 60lbs following a strict diet and exercise plan, said: “I actually lost weight by eating more food, but eating the right food,” he explained to PEOPLE magazine.