10 Painful Body Modifications That Made Great Performances Possible

5. Robert De Niro became a toned boxer, then put on 60lbs for Raging Bull


This seems fun no matter which order you do it. For convenience it appears that they went ahead and made Mr. De Niro cut like a lion before letting him let himself go. Had I done this role I would have done the opposite; getting fat comes naturally, but you’d have to pay me to get fit again.

For the first part he trained as a middleweight boxer, actually winning two of the three fights he contested in. In fact – Jake LeMotta, the actor’s trainer and, you know, the guy he was playing – said De Niro was in his top 20 for middleweight boxers.

Then came the fun part, when the actor got to put on 60lbs by actually going to Italy for a binge eating trip – which sounds better than anything I’ve ever done in my life. By the end, however, the actor had health issues from it all. Scorsese even became worried about his labored breathing. After all, no one wants to be the one to kill Robert De Niro.


4. Gary Oldman was hospitalized for playing Sid Vicious


Oldman is good like this – he doesn’t fuck around when it comes to playing a part. He even wore Sid’s actual chain necklace obtained by his mom to play this role – and there’s really nothing more punk rock than stealing a dead dude’s stuff. That is except for emaciating yourself to the point of hospitalization, which is what happened when he lost the 30lbs to play the part.

Then again – what’s not punk rock is doing it through a diet of steamed fish and melon instead of Black Label and whiskey, but I guess it’s the thought that counts here.


3. Tom Hanks gained 40 pounds, then lost 55lbs and grew hobo hair for Castaway


This just sounds awful. Tom Hanks, to play a role in a film where the most memorable part was a mutilated volleyball, had to first take on 40lbs of extra weight – which he hated. Then he shot for three months on some obscure island filled with bastard iguanas, and then took a year eating what he called “miserly” meals and growing his hair out like some kind of freak. Then he came back to the stupid island, got a stupid blister that turned septic and had to be taken right to the hospital.

None of it sounds like fun, but it sounds even worse when Tom Hanks talks about it – meaning that he truly, in his heart, hated it all. He also actually got stranded in the water for 40 minutes as well. It’s funny how horrible it sounds when it happens to Tom Hanks, Hollywood’s kitten, but tell me the same story about like – I dunno, Maggie Smith – and I’d be in stitches. Not that I hate Maggie Smith, I just think she can take it. Lady is made of cut stone.


2. Jared Leto got an extra 67lbs for Chapter 27


Somewhere inside Jared Leto was a fat guy just waiting to get out of his boney cage. The proof is when he finally let the beast out for Chapter 27, a film no one saw about Mark David Chapman, the guy who killed Kennedy or invented the cotton gin or whatever.

To get up more than three-score, instead of easing into it he just drank microwaved pints of ice cream mixed with olive oil and soy sauce every night – because apparently he was born with absolutely no taste buds. At least that’s what I’m assuming.

The result of his fatification landed him in a wheelchair for being such a big idiot, and to this day he says he still hasn’t fully recovered from it. He has since vowed to never be fat for a role every again. Jared Leto is officially the only person who failed at being fat.


1. Matt Damon lost 40-50lbs and developed a medical problems for Courage Under Fire


Out of everyone on this list, Matt Damon is the only one who seems to genuinely regret losing the weight for his role in Courage Under Fire, where he played a drug addict army guy. Seriously, you always hear these actors talk about how hard it was but also how worth it the experience was – but Damon flat out regrets it.

When you read why – it’s pretty obvious. The dumbass completely winged it and almost gave himself permanent heart problems because of it. He drank egg whites for breakfast, and had one plain potato and one chicken breast a day. He also drank shit loads of coffee and ran six and a half miles every morning. Like a dumbass.

Afterward he was under a doctor’s care for several months taking meds because he screwed up his adrenal glands and also risked permanent heart shrinkage. Way to method act, Will Hunting.


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David is a video editor, writer, and movie fanatic. After graduating from Full Sail University he now spends his days in Western Massachusetts working as a freelance article and sketch writer, as well as a comedy workshop moderator for Cracked.com. (Click Here to View David's work on Cracked.com) He enjoys over-analyzing movies, punk rock, and referring to himself in the third person.

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