Not many actors are willing to get into character at the expense of their own image — but there are a few.
Gwyneth Paltrow, Shallow Hal
The filming schedule was arranged in such a way that the actress had to play her overweight character for only a few days. But things didn't go according to plan, and Paltrow had to suffer unbearable heat on set while in her obese makeover for much longer.
Nevertheless, Rosemary, portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow, turned out to be a masterpiece of Hollywood makeup artists.
Christian Bale, American Hustle
Christian Bale is one of the most versatile Hollywood actors, always up for makeovers and experiments. In his acting career, Bale has lost a few dozen pounds and regained weight like crazy. The actor revealed that, in preparation for his role as Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle (inspired by con man Melvin Weinberg), he had to eat lots of donuts and cheeseburgers.
His body weight reached 228 pounds (over 100 kg), and the actor had to face health problems as a result. Christian still speaks mockingly of his appearance in the movie, but since then, he has decided to avoid gaining excess weight for a role.
Matthew McConaughey, Gold
McConaughey gained 47 pounds (21 kg) and shaved his head for his role in the 2016 crime drama Gold. Before that, he shed plenty of weight for Dallas Buyers Club.
In Gold, the actor also had to wear dentures that changed the shape of his teeth.
Charlize Theron, Monster
For her role in Monster, Charlize Theron put on 30 pounds (13.6 kg) of weight and allowed makeup artists to go absolutely crazy on her face. As a result, even the most devoted fans of the actress were shocked by the Hollywood icon's transformation into an unattractive, life-weary serial killer. After the movie was done, Charlize had to fight depression and lose extra weight, which she found very difficult.
However, the sacrifice was worth it as the role earned Theron her well-deserved Oscar, and the film gained much critical acclaim.
Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder
Ben Stiller, the movie's director and leading actor, had high hopes for Tom Cruise: he decided to reveal a different side to the popular actor. Tom's character in the film is extremely unattractive, bald and fat. At that time, the actor's popularity was at a low ebb, but with his role in Tropic Thunder, he managed to attract the audience’s attention once again.
Cruise proved that he can laugh at himself, and this self-irony gave a fresh impetus to the actor's career.
Angelina Jolie, Girl, Interrupted
Jolie had to sacrifice her looks for the role of a rebellious sociopath in Girl, Interrupted. However, even professional makeup artists were not able to hide the actress' beauty. Angelina is pale and has bags under her eyes — but is still strikingly attractive in the film.
James Franco, Spring Breakers
In Spring Breakers, James Franco portrayed real-life rapper Riff Raff. The actor said that he had studied his character for about a year before filming. Dentures, tattoos, a new haircut — he was up for anything to get himself into character. Franco's efforts paid off, and the viewers enjoyed his stunning performance as a rapping freak with a criminal record.