Making it in Hollywood means doing anything for a role. And that includes changing your look to be gross. So that's why these beautiful actors who went ugly for movie roles did what they did. Seems like working in showbiz isn't always so glamorous...
Anne Hathaway (Ocean's Eight)
Anne Hathaway got her big break in 2001’s "The Princess Diaries," a film that involved her character, Mia Thermopolis, undergoing her own ugly duckling transformation. But it wasn’t until 2012’s "Les Misérables" that audiences really got to see Hathaway physically transform.
Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables)
Hathaway was so dedicated to playing Fantine that she chopped her long hair and dropped 25 pounds through a hardcore cleanse and diet of dried oatmeal paste. “I was in such a state of deprivation—physical and emotional," she said. "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.”
Vincent D'Onofrio (Adventures in Babysitting)
The Vincent D’Onofrio audiences are familiar with these days may look a lot closer to his character in 1987’s "Full Metal Jacket." But at the time he was cast for the role, the 6-foot-3-inch actor was only 210 pounds.
Vincent D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket)
To play the big and clumsy Leonard Pyle, D’Onofrio gained 70 pounds and shaved his head. “I gained weight everywhere. My thighs were tremendous, my arms were tremendous, even my nose was fat. I had a tough time tying my shoelaces.”
Tom Cruise (Mission Impossible II)
At the time 2008’s "Tropic Thunder" came out, Tom Cruise was in need of a rebrand. In the few years before its release, the only thing Cruise had been able to make a name for himself was as a Scientologist with a penchant for jumping on sofas.
Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder)
Technically, Cruise didn’t undergo any serious physical transformation in order to play potty-mouthed Les Grossman. But his unrecognizable cameo in "Tropic Thunder" was not only one of the most surprising things the actor had ever done, but it brought him back into America’s good graces.
Vanessa Hudgens (Beastly)
Until 2013’s "Gimme Shelter," Vanessa Hudgens had played roles that accentuated how attractive she is. But at the time she read the script, Hudgens had just gone through a breakup and was looking for something a little more spiritual.
Vanessa Hudgens (Gimme Shelter)
To play homeless and pregnant teen Apple, Hudgens gained 15 pounds and cut her long hair before filming. The role transformed her emotionally as well. “I had to work on loving myself again,” she told USA Today, “connecting to my soul and body.”
Jared Leto (Lord of War)
Jared Leto is no stranger to transforming himself for film roles. The usually fit actor dropped tons of weight for both "Requiem for a Dream" and "Dallas Buyers Club." But his transformation for 2007’s "Chapter 27" was completely different.
Jared Leto (Chapter 27)
In order to play John Lennon's assassin, Mark David Chapman, Leto gained 67 pounds, leaving him unable to walk to set. The actor told the Los Angeles Times, “The script didn't say, ‘Page 1: You gain 67 pounds, and you're miserable for two months.’ But as I started to research, I realized that the physical representation of this guy had so much to do with who he was.”
Christian Bale (The Dark Knight)
Like Leto, Christian Bale is another actor who’s drastically changed his body for more than one film role. And while he certainly packed on a few pounds for 2013’s "American Hustle," his transformation into former Vice president Dick Cheney for 2018’s "Vice" definitely takes the cake.
Christian Bale (Vice)
Although Bale gains and loses weight for roles on the reg, for "Vice" it took more than just the extra 40 pounds he added to his usually trim frame. Greg Cannom, the prosthetics and makeup effects designer for the film, used silicone prosthetics to help transform the actor.
Ewan McGregor (T2: Trainspotting)
"Fargo" isn’t a movie — well, it is, but the one starring Ewan McGregor isn't — but the actor’s transformation into twin brothers Emmit and Ray Stussy for the 2017 season of the FX series is incredible enough to allow for a pass.
Ewan McGregor (Fargo)
McGregor figured he’d be in padding to pull the heavier Stussy brother off on-screen. But the series’ director insisted he gain weight. McGregor 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.”
Jennifer Aniston (Horrible Bosses 2)
Jennifer Aniston is one of the most beautiful, polished, age-defying actresses in Hollywood. At the time she started filming 2014’s "Cake," Aniston was 45, but she looked 30. So she knew it was going to take some work (or lack thereof) to portray accident victim Claire Bennett.
Jennifer Aniston (Cake)
“I knew that was coming,” Aniston said of taking on the role. “I basically just didn't work out for two-and-a-half months. I stopped working out and I stopped being as careful about my diet as I normally am. I was still healthy, but I'd allow more.”
Colin Farrell (Fright Night)
In the early ‘00s, Colin Farrell made the “would do” list of almost every woman between 18 and 35. Although he’s dropped off the Hollywood map a bit since his glory "S.W.A.T." days, he continues to be thought of as one of the most attractive men in the industry.
Colin Farrell (The Lobster)
For 2015’s "The Lobster," Farrell went full dad-mode. The actor gained 40 pounds, saying, “I just ate and didn’t move for a while. It was stuff I normally eat, but just a lot more of it. People talk about portion control – there was no control!”
Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar)
You can't think of Matthew McConaughey without the phrase, “All right, all right, all right,” and a sun-kissed six pack first coming to mind. And while the actor was once thought of as little more than a pretty boy with Southern charm, today he’s taking on roles that are completely transformative — emotionally and physically.
Matthew McConaughey (Gold)
McConaughey put on 47 pounds for 2015’s "Gold" via zero exercise and a cheeseburger diet. “My favorite food is cheeseburgers, so I was eating cheeseburgers all the time. I was making cheeseburgers. I was trying out all these fast food restaurants that I've never had, or I've only had one time.”
Ryan Gosling (Drive)
Ryan Gosling, the former Mickey Mouse Club member and Nicholas Sparks poster boy, has been lucky in his role selection. Generally, Gosling gets parts that require a good portion of talent and little to no physical change. But for 2010’s "Blue Valentine," he went all in.
Ryan Gosling (Blue Valentine)
For the first half of the film, Gosling played up his looks. But for the second half, which takes place six years later, he put on weight and had receding, thinning hair. At least he didn’t suffer much in the female department: "It’s not great, you know," Gosling said on film's press day. "But girls are forgiving."
Charlize Theron (Atomic Blonde)
For Charlize Theron, taking on the role of real life serial killer Aileen Wuornos was about more than just a few extra pounds. The actress went through a completely unrecognizable change to fully embody the woman she portrayed on screen.
Charlize Theron (Monster)
Not only did Theron gain 30 pounds to play Wuornos (who Theron says wasn’t fat at all), but the actress addressed Wuornos’ actual lifestyle when it came to her physical appearance.
Writer-director Patty Jenkins said, “It was, ‘Oh, she was homeless. She lived on the street in bad weather. OK, well that means sun damage.’ Well, then we addressed the sun damage. She was insecure about her hair, OK, well, then we address the hair.”