There’s nothing more impressive than when an actor is able to completely alter their appearance for a role. For example, in order to play conman Irving Rosenfeld in David O. Russell’s American Hustle, Christian Bale packed on 42 pounds, shaved a portion of his head, and trained himself to walk with a slouch. But physical transformations such as this do not come easy. The increased weight gain combined with the actor’s slouch reportedly resulted in a herniated disc and the actor ultimately lost 3 inches from his height.
Of course, while Bale has become well-known for his extreme method acting style, he’s by no means the only actor to undertake a crazy physical transformation. Here are seven actors who have shown insane devotion to their craft over the years, often risking their health in order to do so.
7. Michael Fassbender — Hunger (2008)
Now considered one of the most talented actors working in Hollywood, Michael Fassbender’s turn in Steve McQueen’s 2008 Hunger is often pointed to as the launching pad for his current A-list status. Hunger, which tells the story of the 1981 Irish hunger strike, stars Fassbender as Bobby Sands, the Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteer and M.P., as he leads the second IRA hunger strike and participates in the no-wash protest.
For the role, Fassbender lost upwards of 30 pounds and dropped to as little as 127 pounds during the shoot. Shedding as much weight as his doctor would allow, the actor restricted his daily diet to 600 calories, telling Short List, “I ate canned sardines. The great thing is they have the calories on the box so I could count exactly what I was putting in. Additionally, Fassbender explained that for six straight weeks his libido disappeared entirely, noting in retrospect that “It felt very liberating. You don’t realise how distracting all that stuff can be.”