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From Jennifer Aniston to Christian Bale: Actors who transformed themselves for film

February 20, 2015
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In 2015, Jennifer Aniston has shed her good-girl image and found herself at the centre of awards season with a transformative performance in Cake, a tale of a woman suffering from chronic pain addiction after a tragic car accident.

The film has garnered Jennifer SAG and Golden Globe nominations, and could see a turning point for the 45-year-old's career. The performance required Jennifer to lose her slim figure, and to forgo make up, instead sitting in the make-up artist's chair for facial scar attachments.

Jennifer is not the first actor to undergo such a transformation for a career-changing role. We've gathered a selection of our 8 favourite transformations on the big screen, from Jennifer, to Hilary Swank, and Christian Bale.


South African actress Charlize Theron completely transformed herself in 2003 to play a Floridian serial killer in Monster. She refused to use prosthetics so instead shaved her eyebrows, gained weight, and ruined her hair to play Aileen Wuornos - and won an Oscar for her suffering.

Another actor who also won a gold statue for his transformation was Jared Leto, who starred alongside Matthew McConaughey in the brilliant Dallas Buyers Club. As well as losing 30lbs through fasting, Jared waxed off all of his body hair - including his eyebrows - and entered the set as Rayon, refusing to come out of character for 25 days.

Hilary Swank also won an Oscar for her portrayal of trans teen Brandon Teena in Boy's Don't Cry, the true life story of his murder in the early 1990s. Hilary, who broke out in the role, also refused to speak to cast or crew as herself, and lived her life during filming as Brandon.

Renee Zellweger also found herself nominated for an Oscar for her superb take on Bridget Jones in the smash hit comedy Bridget Jones' Diary, while stars such as Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, and Jake Gyllenhaal have also all lost and gained weight - sometimes both for back to back role.

Cake - Official Trailer - Warner Bros UK

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