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Six actors who underwent amazing transformations for movies

And you thought you worked hard for the money…

eddie redmayne Source: YouTube

THE TEST OF an actor’s talents is when they’re given the task of becoming a character who is totally unlike them – a person of a radically different build, or ability, or age.

In the new film Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking, undergoing a physical transformation as he portrays how Hawking went from a young carefree student to a man experiencing the physical effects of Motor Neuron Disease.

Redmayne’s powerful performance has led to speculation of an Oscar win. But he’s not the only actor to have transformed themselves in the name of the role of a lifetime…

Charlize Theron – Monster

charlize theron gif Source: YouTube

To play serial killer Aileen Wournos, Theron gained 30lbs, wore prosthetic teeth, and shaved off her eyebrows.

'A Million Ways to Die in the West' Premiere - Los Angeles Source: AFF/EMPICS Entertainment

It wasn’t just the physical transformation that won Theron an Academy Award (and a Golden Globe), but the fact she truly inhabited the character of the tough living and troubled Wournos.

Christian Bale – The Machinist

christian bale machinist Source: YouTube

Bale never shies away from undergoing a physical transformation in the name of a role. For The Machinist, he got down to a weight of 120lbs to portray the skeletal character.

Exodus: Gods and Kings World Premiere - London Source: Empics Entertainment

Then, for Batman Begins, he had to put on nearly 100 pounds (this time mainly in muscle), and for American Hustle he put on a further 43lbs, to portray his portly character. Dedication.

Daniel Day Lewis – My Left Foot

my left foot Source: YouTube

Daniel Day Lewis is one of his generation’s finest actors, and My Left Foot showed how much the young actor could give. He became Christy Brown with grace, not shying away from the physical aspects of Brown’s condition.

The 85th Academy Awards - Show - Los Angeles Source: AP/Press Association Images

But you began to see beyond his cerebral palsy and into the mind of the man himself. And for that, Day Lewis won an Oscar.

Robert De Niro – Raging Bull

raging bull gif Source: YouTube

There are many reasons why De Niro established himself as an acting legend quite early in his career, and in the late 1970s and early 80s, he was truly at his peak.

For Raging Bull, he turned himself into a muscle-packed boxing machine… and an overweight real-life Jake La Motta long after his glory days were over.

raging bull 2 Source: YouTube

The story goes that De Niro would tire easily during the latter scenes, and that Martin Scorsese even shut down filming at one point because of his fears for the actor’s health.

Hilary Swank – Boys Don’t Cry 

boys don't cry Source: YouTube

To play real-life transgender man Brandon Teena, Swank lived as a man for a month. To play the role, she did things that Brandon did, like bind her chest and use socks as a prosthetic penis. In addition, she lost weight. She also refused to let the cast and crew see her out of character.

Vanity Fair aftershow party - Morton's - Melrose Avenue Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

When she first went for the role, Swank even lied and said she was 21. Thankfully, she didn’t play Brandon as a ‘jokey’ character. She played him as he was. Did Swank win an Oscar? Of course.

Rooney Mara – Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

rooney mara

It’s all well and good to put on or lose a bit of weight for a role, but Rooney Mara went a few steps further, dying and cutting her hair, shaving her eyebrows, but also getting piercings to transform herself into Lisbeth Salander.

'A Nightmare On Elm Street' Premiere - Los Angeles

She was fairly unrecognisable in the role.

Read: 8 predictions and surprises in store for the Oscars>

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