Celebs Who've Lost or Gained Weight for Roles: Photos – Us Weekly

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While some actors rely on prosthetics for movie transformations, some actually gain or lose weight to embody their characters.
Renée Zellweger famously gained 30 pounds to play the titular role in 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, repeating the process again for the 2004 sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. By the time she filmed Bridget Jones’s Baby, however, the Oscar winner was tired of talking about her weight.

“I put on a few pounds. I also put on some breasts and a baby bump,” she told British Vogue in August 2016. “Bridget is a perfectly normal weight and I’ve never understood why it matters so much. No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role.”
To Zellweger’s point, male stars more often make headlines when they lose a lot of weight for a role, as Matthew McConaughey did for the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club. The Mud star shed nearly 50 pounds to play Ron Woodruff, a real-life Texan who founded an underground medication distribution group after being diagnosed with HIV. (McConaughey won a Best Actor Oscar for the role.)

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“I did it in as healthy a way as I found possible,” the Greenlights author told the BBC in February 2014, adding that he “chewed a lot of ice” during the shoot. “I met with a nutritionist. I gave myself four months to lose the weight. I had my programmed meals, lost 3.5 pounds a week — like clockwork — and got down to my desired weight, which turned out to be 47 pounds lighter.”
Keep scrolling to see which celebrities have gained or lost weight for movie roles:
Credit: Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features; Everett Collection (2)
While some actors rely on prosthetics for movie transformations, some actually gain or lose weight to embody their characters. Renée Zellweger famously gained 30 pounds to play the titular role in 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary, repeating the process again for the 2004 sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. By the time she filmed Bridget Jones’s Baby, however, the Oscar winner was tired of talking about her weight. “I put on a few pounds. I also put on some breasts and a baby bump,” she told British Vogue in August 2016. “Bridget is a perfectly normal weight and I’ve never understood why it matters so much. No male actor would get such scrutiny if he did the same thing for a role.” To Zellweger’s point, male stars more often make headlines when they lose a lot of weight for a role, as Matthew McConaughey did for the 2013 film Dallas Buyers Club. The Mud star shed nearly 50 pounds to play Ron Woodruff, a real-life Texan who founded an underground medication distribution group after being diagnosed with HIV. (McConaughey won a Best Actor Oscar for the role.) “I did it in as healthy a way as I found possible,” the Greenlights author told the BBC in February 2014, adding that he “chewed a lot of ice” during the shoot. “I met with a nutritionist. I gave myself four months to lose the weight. I had my programmed meals, lost 3.5 pounds a week — like clockwork — and got down to my desired weight, which turned out to be 47 pounds lighter.” Keep scrolling to see which celebrities have gained or lost weight for movie roles:
Credit: Apple TV+

Williams followed a strict health regimen for her role as Catherine Dior, a French resistance fighter and the younger sister of designer Christian Dior, on the Apple TV+ show The New Look. The actress lost over 25 pounds to realistically portray Catherine, who survived the Ravensbrück concentration camp before returning to Paris.
“I was eating very little, meditating all the time, burning candles and incense in my apartment,” Williams told Harper’s Bazaar UK in February 2024. “I had to be up at 4 a.m. to start sweating. The night before, at about 7 or 8 p.m. I was allowed to have something salty and dehydrating — some smoked salmon and a tiny glass of wine. Then I had a boiling-hot bath with lots of salts in it. And I sort of levitated to bed and slept for maybe three hours, and woke up and had a handful of nuts. I wouldn’t be able to sleep through the night at this point.”
The Game of Thrones alum’s routine was monitored by medical professionals who took regular blood tests and heart rate measurements to ensure her safety.
Credit: Shutterstock

“I lost 10 kilos [about 22 pounds] in three weeks,” Ahmed told IndieWire in 2021 about his role in Mogul Mowgli, which he also wrote. “I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I had a professional dietician working with me, but it was really grueling and took me emotionally to an intense place, which probably informed the movie. That was a big part of it, being in a place of weakness and fatigue and insatiable hunger.”
Credit: Takashi Seida.

“I basically abused my body for a long time. I’m joking and not really joking,” Day said during Variety’s Actors on Actors in January 2021, of her commitment to the role of Billie Holiday for The United States vs. Billie Holiday. “I put my family through it; I put myself through it. I went from 163 pounds to 124 pounds.” The actress revealed she fully immersed herself in the role by talking like Holiday and starting to drink and smoke cigarettes. “Not that I recommend people do this; I just was desperate because this is my first role,” she added.
Credit: Netflix

After The Witcher hit Netflix in 2019, Cavill revealed that he had to dehydrate for three days before a shirtless scene. “Diet is difficult, and you’re hungry, but when you are dehydrating for three days, you get to the point on the last day where you can smell water nearby,” he said at the time.
Credit: Kimberly French/Focus Features

Theron gained 50 lbs for her role in 2018’s Tully by eating mac and cheese in the middle of the night. The actress told Entertainment Tonight in April 2018 that it took her a year and a half to shed the weight.
Credit: Universal Pictures

The star, who nabbed a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in Tom Hooper‘s 2012 adaptation of the Broadway musical, famously lost 25 pounds (10 before shooting, 15 during) to play tuberculosis-afflicted prostitute Fantine. “I had to be obsessive about it — the idea was to look near death,” she later said of her diet, which consisted of two squares of dried oatmeal paste a day. “Looking back on the whole experience — and I don’t judge it in any way — it was definitely a little nuts.”
Credit: Universal Pictures/ Courtesy: Everett Collection

The usually petite actress packed on between 20 and 30 pounds to play the leading lady in 2001’s Bridget Jones’s Diary and its 2004 sequel, Bridget Jones’s Diary: The Edge of Reason. “It’s really just math,” she said of gaining and losing weight for the movies. “I’ve been eating lots of really fattening food.”
Credit: Newmarket Releasing/courtesy Everett Collection

To play real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos in 2003’s Monster — for which she won the Best Actress Academy Award — Theron gained 30 pounds on her model-esque frame. “I’m very athletic looking … and I don’t know how I could have played that part with this body,” she told Stumped magazine of why she didn’t just use a fat suit. “I knew I had to transform my body to get myself into her physical skin.”
Credit: Everett Collection / Rex USA

The Dark Knight Rises star made headlines in 2004 for losing an incredible 63 pounds to play emaciated insomniac Trevor Reznik in 2004’s The Machinist. “Interestingly, I did find that mentally it was very, very calming being that skinny, because you really didn’t have any energy for expending on unnecessary things, so you just kept it simple,” he told MovieWeb of withering down to 121 pounds. “Life became very simple.”
Credit: Sidney Baldwin/Summit Entertainment/courtesy Everett Collection

The Lost alum was almost unrecognizable after losing 40 pounds to play a cage-fighting assassin in 2012’s Alex Cross. “I played college football [at Columbia]. I thought I knew my way around exercise,” he said of his grueling, five-month circuit training regimen for the role. “Either I was wrong, or things have changed drastically. Maybe it’s both. This was full-bore. Many times I felt like throwing up.”
Credit: Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features

The usually buff Magic Mike star raised eyebrows and concerns when he lost nearly 50 pounds for 2013’s Dallas Buyers Club. “I got the means to lose the weight in a really healthy way,” he insisted. “I’m eating fresh fish. I’m just eating small amounts. I’m not being starved. … I’m taking care of myself.”
Credit: Courtesy Everett Collection

After dieting down to a pin-thin 95 pounds for 2010’s Black Swan, the That ’70s Show alum struggled to get her curves back. “My shape is different. When I got down to 95 pounds, I was muscles, like a little brick house, but skin and bones,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “When I gained it back, it went to completely different areas. All the weight that left my chest went to my side hip, my stomach. … I’d be happy if my ass got bigger.”
Credit: ourtesy Everett Collection

The already-slim star underwent a major physical transformation to play the lead role in 2010’s Black Swan, for which she won the Best Actress Oscar. “I think it was just the physicality of it all that was the most extreme,” she told Us Weekly of preparing for the film. “I mean, I had never gotten that much training — to be doing five to eight hours a day of it was really a challenge.”
Credit: Mary Evans/C20TH FOX/DREAMWORKS/Ronald Grant/Everett Collection

The Academy Award-winning actor has gained and lost weight for multiple movies in the past, including 2000’s Cast Away. (He shed 50 pounds to play a man stuck on a desert island.) He told reporters at the BFI London Film Festival that the yo-yo dieting may have contributed to his type 2 diabetes diagnosis. “The gaining and the losing of weight may have had something to do with it,” he confessed.
Credit: courtesy of Chris Pratt

The Parks and Recreation star famously showed off his slimmed-down, bulked up physique on Twitter while preparing to film 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy. “I haven’t always been fat, but I’ve been fat for the last eight years or something,” he said afterward. “I love eating food and drinking beer and having fun with my life. I was also kind of depressed a little bit when I was fat and there’s probably people out there who can agree and understand what that feels like.”
Credit: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Andrew Cooper, SMPSP

Three years after packing on major muscle to play the title role in Prince of Persia (right), Gyllenhaal again made over his body for a movie. The actor was photographed on the set of Nightcrawler in 2013 looking significantly slimmer. “I knew that [my character] was literally and figuratively hungry,” he told Us. As a result, he explained, he got into a “mode where [he] was always a bit hungry.”
Credit: Groundswell Prods/Kobal/Shutterstock

The married father of four has gained and lost weight for movies throughout his career. But he says it’s more difficult to transform his body now that he’s older. “I think I’ve become more of a glutton,” he said after getting fit for Elysium. (He also lost weight for 1996’s Courage Under Fire.) “When I did The Informant, I put on 40 pounds. … That’s the guy I’m most comfortable being.”
Credit: Peace Arch Films/Courtesy Everett Collection; Anne Marie Fox / Focus Features

Leto famously gained weight to play Mark David Chapman in 2007’s Chapter 27. Five years later, he went in the opposite direction, shedding about 40 pounds to play an HIV-positive character in Dallas Buyers Club. To get down to 114 pounds, he “stopped eating,” he told The Wrap. “It changes the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you think.”
Credit: Shutterstock (2)

In July 2022, the Black Widow actor revealed that he lost 80 pounds for the fourth season of Stranger Things. “I lost about 80 pounds from season 3 — I was about 270 [then], and when we shot [season 4​​​​​] I was around 190,” the New York native told British GQ, adding that intermittent fasting and Pilates helped him lose the weight in eight months.
Credit: Amy Sussman/Getty Images ; A24Films

White confirmed that he gained 40 pounds of muscle to play Kerry Von Erich in The Iron Claw.
“I was eating a lot, like, a pretty tremendous amount,” he told Entertainment Tonight in November 2023. “Just eating as much as I could and just trying to lift weights, no cardio.”
Credit: Paul Morigi/Getty Images ; François Duhamel / Courtesy of Netflix

The Riverdale star had a physical transformation to play Joe Yoo in the movie May December. Melton explained it was “a collective decision” between himself and director Todd Haynes.
“Looking at the facts of him being this suburban father with three kids and being a loving husband. He doesn’t really have too much time to spend on himself,” Melton explained to Entertainment Tonight in November 2023. “I just ate a bunch of Five Guys and pizza and ice cream and Capri Suns and Gushers. I can keep on going. And I really enjoyed myself.”
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