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    18 Celebs Major Transformations Vs. 18 Celebs Makeup/CGI Transformations

    Jake Gyllenhaal had to do 2,000 sit-ups a day, flip 350 pounds tires, and run eight miles a day for his role in South Paw.

    Have you ever watched a film or TV show and couldn't quite put your finger on what actor is staring you right in the face? Or maybe you’ve watched some things and thought, wow, that celeb looks almost unrecognizable in this flick?

    Well, that makes two of us! I’ve definitely been caught out in the past when I should have recognized a little prosthetic touch up here and there, but I’ve also been completely mind blown by some of the incredible transformations undergone by celebs so that they can truly bring their character to life. 

    Now, I’ve rounded up some of my favorites for you! This list is by no means definitive, as Hollywood has thrown plenty of transformations our way, but let’s take a look at the 18 celebs who underwent major transformations for their roles, and 18 who had the pleasure of a makeup or CGI overhaul…

    Major transformations ahead…

    1. Christian Bale

    Christian Bale in 2019, smiling at event

    When you think of method acting, Christian Bale will likely spring to your mind. Well, do you remember the time he went full go-hard-or-go-home for his role in The Machinist in 2004?

    2. Kumail Nanjiani

    Kumail Nanjiani before his transformation for Eternals film

    Comedian and actor, Kumail Nanjiani, certainly stepped up and put the work in for his superhero role in The Eternals.

    3. Brie Larson

    Slender Brie Larson in dress before Captain Marvel workout

    Another superhero transformation is that of Brie Larson for her titular role in Captain Marvel.

    Brie Larson as Captain Marvel

    4. Jake Gyllenhaal

    Jake Gyllenhaal at 2021 event in pink suit

    Speaking of ripped, did you see Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw?

    Ripped Jake Gyllenhaal in Southpaw

    5. Matthew McConaughey

    Matthew McConaughey suited for an event

    Okay, enough muscle for a second. Let’s talk about Matthew McConaughey’s dramatic weight loss for Dallas Buyers Club.

    `Matthew McConaughey thin frame in Dallas Buyers Club

    6. Jared Leto

    Jared Leto at event in a suit

    So, this one was a tricky one to categorize because Jared Leto’s portrayal of an HIV-positive trans woman (also in Dallas Buyers Club) came to life through a combination of very real changes to Jared’s look and a little help of makeup.

    Jared Leto as a trans woman in Dallas Buyers Club film

    7. Chadwick Boseman

    Chadwick Boseman at an event, smiling

    The late Chadwick Boseman put in an incredible amount of work in order to transform into superhero T’Challa for the 2018 Marvel film, Black Panther.

    Chadwick Boseman ripped in Black Panther film

    8. Michael Fassbender

    Michael Fassbender in a suit at an event for Dark Phoenix film

    Up next on my list is Michael Fassbender’s drastic weight loss for the 2008 film Hunger.

    Michael Fassbender weight loss in Hunger film

    9. Hilary Swank

    Hilary Swank at event in a white dress

    Hilary Swank portrayed a boxer in Million Dollar Baby in 2004, and the slender actor moulded her body to match the role.

    Hilary Swank muscly in Million Dollar Baby film

    10. Chris Hemsworth

    Chris Hemsworth at red carpet screening, in suit

    There seems to be a running theme here of stars losing weight to wholeheartedly tell a story, and things were no different for Chris Hemsworth when he filmed In the Heart of the Sea in 2015.

    Just tried a new diet/training program called "Lost At Sea". Wouldn't recommend it.. #IntheHeartoftheSea

    @chrishemsworth / Via Twitter: @chrishemsworth

    According to People, the actor took on a frail frame as he dropped 33 pounds in four weeks, only eating around 500 calories a day. Hemsworth stated that it took a toll on his mind, as well as his body, and he had to suffer in some way in order to do the story justice. It’s pretty shocking to see Hemsworth like this when we’re so used to seeing him as the mighty Thor!

    11. Joaquin Phoenix

    Joaquin Phoenix at 92nd Academy Awards in a suit

    When taking on the iconic role of Arthur Fleck in Todd Phillips’ morbid Joker in 2019, Joaquin Phoenix agreed to lose 52 pounds, making him look frighteningly vulnerable.

    A thin looking Joaquin Phoenix in Joker film

    12. 50 Cent

    50 cent at an event in 2021

    Rapper turned actor, 50 Cent, shocked fans in 2011 with his emaciated physique for the film All Things Fall Apart.

    50 cent with weight loss for All Things Fall Apart film

    13. Tom Hardy

    Tom Hardy at an event for Venom film

    Tom Hardy is no stranger to mixing up his look for his many different film roles.

    Tom Hardy as Charles Bronson in Bronson film

    14. Jonah Hill

    Jonah Hill at event for Don't Look Up film

    21 Jump Street star Jonah Hill intentionally gained weight to portray his version of real-life arms dealer, Efraim Diveroli, in the 2016 film War Dogs.

    Jonah Hill in War Dogs

    15. Natalie Portman

    Natalie Portman at Dior Beauty event

    Natalie Portman took on the challenge of embodying the role of a ballerina for the psychological thriller, Black Swan, and it sounds like the actor threw herself into the transformation.

    Natalie Portman as a ballerina in Black Swan

    16. Michael B. Jordan

    Michael B. Jordan dressed smart at an event

    Actor Michael B. Jordan got ripped for his debut in the Rocky franchise, with the 2015 release of Creed.

    Michael B. Jordan in Creed

    17. Rooney Mara

    Rooney Mara at an event in 2021

    Another one of my favorite transformations is how Rooney Mara looked almost unrecognizable when she stepped into the shoes of Lisbeth Salander for the remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

    18. Will Smith

    Will Smith suited at 94th Academy Awards

    In the last of our major transformations round up, we have Will Smith who took on the challenge of portraying legendary boxer Muhammed Ali in the 2001 film Ali.

    Makeup/CGI wonders ahead…

    19. Colin Farrell

    Colin Farrell at The Batman premiere

    Now, let’s move on to some pretty impressive makeup and CGI transformations! Kicking this off is Colin Farrell in The Batman, as he absolutely nailed his depiction of The Penguin.

    Colin Farrell as The Penguin in The Batman film

    Colin Farrell's transformation into Penguin for #TheBatman

    Twitter: @CultureCrave

    According to GamesRadar, Farrell’s first makeup test took about six hours with about 12 people, including someone who did the hair, a person who did the teeth, someone who did the ears, and more people doing the makeup and the body suit.

    I think the transformation has to be one of the best efforts we’ve seen in film, it’s so hard to even see Farrell behind the costume and he did a grand job of hiding his Irish accent for the movie too!


    20. Kim Eui-sung

    Kim Eui-sung at event in a suit

    When it comes to makeup transformations, we can’t forget about all of those zombie efforts! One of the most standout moments can be found in the South-Korean action horror film Train to Busan.

    Kim Eui-sung as a zombie in Train to Busan

    21. Lily James

    Lily James at an event for Pam & Tommy series

    You guessed it, I wasn’t about to leave Lily James off of this list. When I first saw the teaser images of the Pam & Tommy series, I had to blink twice because I almost believed that James was the real Pamela Anderson.

    Lily James as Pamela Anderson in TV series

    22. Charlize Theron

    Charlize Theron at an event, smiling

    Another actor that dabbled in portraying a real life person is Charlize Theron. In Bombshell, Theron took on the portrayal of former Fox news anchor, Megyn Kelly.

    Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly in Bombshell

    23. Idris Elba

    Idris Elba at an event for Sonic 2 film

    Believe it or not, that’s Idris Elba fully morphed into a creepy alien monster for Star Trek Beyond, and that’s all thanks to the special makeup and prosthetic efforts of Joel Harlow.

    Idris Elba as Krall in Star Trek Beyond

    24. Zoe Saldana

    Zoe Saldana in a red dress at an event

    When it comes to CGI displays, there’s no taking away from the fact that James Cameron did it big with the release of Avatar in 2009. In fact, he did it so big, that when you see Zoe Saldaña as the princess Neytiri, she’s all avatar.

    Zoe Saldana as Neytiri in Avatar

    25. Lupita Nyong'o

    Lupita Nyong’o in a gold dress at an event

    When watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens, you may have recognized the voice of actor Lupita Nyong’o before realizing the alien creature was played by her.

    Lupita Nyong'o as Maz in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

    26. Gary Oldman

    Gary Oldman at Academy Awards

    I’ve got to put this one into perspective for you. I was the grand old age of nine years old when the disfigured face of Gary Oldman’s character in Hannibal actually left me scarred for life.

    Gary Oldman as Mason Verger in Hannibal film

    27. Margot Robbie

    Margot Robbie at an event, in a white dress

    The beautiful Margot Robbie looks far from her true self in the 2018 biopic, Mary Queen of Scots.

    Margot Robbie as Mary Queen of Scots

    28. Rebecca Romijin

    Rebecca Romijin at an event, wearing a black dress

    An iconic look in the X-Men franchise is that of Mystique, first portrayed by Rebecca Romijin.

    Rebecca Romijin as Mystique in X-Men

    29. Nicole Kidman

    Nicole Kidman at an event, dressed in yellow

    If you’d have told me at the time of watching The Hours, that the character of Virginia Woolf was really Nicole Kidman, I would have argued until the cows came home!

    Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf in The Hours film

    30. Steve Carell

    Steve Carell at an event, wearing a black suit

    In the spirit of prosthetic noses, let’s look at Steve Carell’s makeover in Foxcatcher.

    Steve Carell as John du Pont in Foxcatcher film

    31. Tilda Swinton

    Tilda Swinton dressed in a black dress for an event

    Tilda Swinton played a total of three characters in the 2018 remake of Suspiria. Whilst all deserve credit for the makeup looks, I’d like to pull out the epic transformation that saw Swinton turn into an old man, aka Dr. Jozef Klemperer.

    32. Andy Serkis

    Andy Serkis in a blue suit at an event

    Time for the king of performance capture! Andy Serkis breathed life into J.R.R Tolkien’s fictitious monster, Gollum, for The Lord of the Rings movie franchise.

    Andy Serkis as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers film

    33. Kae Alexandra

    Kae Alexander giving an interview

    When Kae Alexander accepted the role of Leaf, the leader of the Children of the Forest, in the epic fantasy series Game of Thrones, she had no idea she’d be spending so much time in the makeup chair.

    Kae Alexander as Leaf in Game of Thrones

    34. Jessica Chastain

    Jessica chastain in a green dress at Academy Awards

    Jessica Chastain transformed into real-life televangelist Tammy Fae Bakker for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, and what a transformation it was!

    Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye Bakker in The Eyes of Tammy Faye film

    35. Doug Jones

    Doug Jones at an event, wearing a suit

    If you haven’t clicked who Doug Jones is, you will likely recognize the characters he has played.

    Doug Jones as the Pale Man in Pan's Labyrinth

    36. Aaron Eckhart

    Aaron Eckhart in a suit

    Last but certainly not least, we have Aaron Eckhart, whose face we saw was left totally disfigured as Harvey Dent (AKA Two-Face) in The Dark Knight.

    Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Two-Face in The Dark Knight film

    So there you have it, that’s a collection of some of my favourite transformations across film and TV! Are there any other celebs that have stood out to you for undergoing amazing and memorable transformations for a role?!