As an actor, it is extremely important to commit to a role, and not only make it yours but become the character. Some of the most successful actors in the business know this, and work hard to achieve this. And some of the most rewarded peers know that commiting to a role not only involves changing your demeanor; being an actor sometimes also means you need to become someone else for the role.
Here is a list of incredible actors and acresses who have made unbelievable character transformations, proving why they are some of the best in Hollywood.
1. Charlize Theron in ‘Monster’
This 2003 film, directed by Patty Jenkins, is based on real life events and characters. Playing the character Aileen Wuornos, is the beautiful South African actress Charlize Theron.
Her depiction of a gay woman forced into prostitution in order to live was a huge transformation for Charlize. To prepare for this role, she endured shaving her eyebrows and gaining 33 pounds to deliver an Oscar winning performance.
2. Jared Leto in ‘Dallas Buyers Club’
Another radical change was accomplished by the actor Jared Leto. He delivered an unforgettable performance as a transsexual struggling with life and friendship in the 2013 movie.
In preparation for this role, Jared lost 44 pounds to fill the role as the character Rayon. His performance earned him an Oscar for best supporting actor.
3. Robert Downey Jr. in ‘Tropic Thunder’
It takes a great comedic line-up to create a great comedy movie like ‘Tropic Thunder’. That is what happens when Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Robert Downey Jr. get together
To play his role as the African character, Kirk Lazarus, Downey underwent “increased pigment” treatments for his interpretation of the character. This film was nominated for an Oscar in 2008.
4. Daniel Day Lewis in ‘Lincoln’
An actor who knows a lot about transformations, is Daniel Day Lewis. His portrayals of movie characters has earned him three Hollywood Academy Awards. His latest award is the result of his superior performance as Abraham Lincoln in the movie ‘Lincoln’.
With a talented and skilled make-up department, inventive camera play, and a handful of production tricks, Daniel Day Lewis made a convincing Lincoln. This performance was more than worthy of it’s Oscar in 2012.
5. Elizabeth Banks in ‘The Hunger Games’
A flamboyant character requires an equally flamboyant wardrobe. Pushing the limits of fashion over the edge, Elizabeth Banks took the character Effie Trinket to unimaginable fashion heights. This film also features the talents of Jennifer Lawrence in wild fashion.
With success comes some cost; in the form of hair and makeup for Elizabeth. To transform into this unique character each day, Banks had to endure three hours in the chair with hair and makeup professionals.
6. Cate Blanchett in ‘I’m Not There’
When comparing these two photos, is it evident which one is not the real Bob Dylan? It may be hard to tell with the incredible acting abilities of Cate Blanchett playing the role.
In 2007, Cate played one of the roles as this icon rock and roll singer. The Australian actress, among six other portrayers, brought life back to the Bob Dylan story in this 2007 movie.
7. Christian Bale in ‘The Machinist’
When speaking of transformations in actors in film, Christian Bale is one of the most dramatic. To fill the role as an operator in a factory, he had to lose 66 pounds to fit into the demands of the difficult role.
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This image shows the incredible transformations that Bale is able to achieve for his varying character roles. Above is the difference between the characters Wine Bruce from ‘Batman’ and Irving Rosenfeld from ‘American Hustle’, proving that Christian is truly a chameleon of cinema.
8. Nicole Kidman in ‘The Hours’
Portraying the British writer and essayist Virginia Woolf was one of the most complex roles that Nicole Kidman has ever undertaken.
Her portrayal of the 1923 writer in the move ‘The Hours’ was engaging and complex. This incredible character portrayal earned her critical acclaim and an Oscar for this unforgettable performance.
9. Steve Carell in ‘Foxcatcher’
Delivering another stellar performance is the versatile actor Steve Carell in this 2014 film ‘Foxcatcher’. Transforming Carell into the billionaire John du Pont took hours of work and added years to his youthful look.
His accurate portrayal of the wealthy tycoon earned him a nomination for an Oscar, but even his portrayal of a billionaire could not buy him a win for this character.
10. Rebecca Romijn in ‘X-Men United’
In order to create this unique character, Rebecca had to spend a tremendous amount of time with wardrobe and makeup in special sessions.
The pay for this role must have been tremendous for the trade off of having to sit in the makeup chair for up to eight hours a day creating this complete body transforming character.
11. Rooney Mara in ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’
The first installment of the saga “Millenium” called for a huge transformation in the looks of Rooney Mara. Taking on this role as the rebellious Lisbeth Salander called for her to shave her head, get body piercings, and add tattoos to nearly her entire body.
Working with Daniel Craig, she was highly praised for her portrayal of the troublesome character and her ability to stay true to the character developed in the book versions of this movie.
12. Meryl Streep in ‘Angels in America’
Meryl Streep is unrecognizable as a rabbi in this movie. The entire costume is incredibly realistic and convincing. Taking on hours of hair and makeup for this transformation, Meryl transforms from a Hollywood beauty to a beautiful old soul in a matter of hours.
Meryl endured her hours of transformation among other big name players like Al Pacino and Emma Thompson for this HBO special movie presentation. Her portrayal was so realistic that only her eyes gave away her true identity.
13. Dustin Hoffman in ‘Tootsie’
There are a few men who look better as a woman than they do a man and Dustin Hoffman is one of those guys. In his portrayal of a woman seeking employment in 1982, Hoffman pioneered a move in films to deliver a top performance as a man dressed as a woman. This incredible eye opening piece was the inspiration of Sydney Pollack.
This highly entertaining and original script was perfect for Hoffman who delivered an Oscar worthy performance, but fell short of actually receiving the award.
14. Tilda Swinton in ‘Snowpiercer’
This film is a co-production of a Korean-American dystopian future of chaos and danger. Tilda Swinton delivers a realistic performance as her outlandish character in this film.
Her transformation into the brunette character changes her look so much that she is nearly unrecognizable on the street.
15. Glenn Close in ‘Albert Nobbs’
Glenn Close’s portrayal of a man in this Rodrigo Garcia film is realistic and compelling. Set in the late nineteenth century, this tale of a man’s survival in Ireland is brought to life by the superior acting skills of Close.
Her portrayal of the struggles and triumphs of the common man in conservative Ireland is so convincing that one will forget that she is actually a woman dressed in men’s clothing.