When it comes to starring in a major Hollywood film, there are a lot of tricks of the trade that can transform an ordinary actor into something amazing. They don’t call it “movie magic” for nothing, after all. But while many performers are willing to transform themselves for roles, from gaining and losing weight, to prosthetics, and more, some actors have taken it to the extreme. Ah, but it’s for the art! Right? Well, sure, but art can only take you so far, especially when your life and health is on the line.
While there are Oscars, Emmys, and Golden Globes, for outstanding acting work, there aren’t any awards we can give out for “most pain endured in the performance of a role.” But if there were, these actors — who all permanently hurt their bodies in the name of acting — would win.
1. Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and Cast Away
The affable Tom Hanks isn’t necessarily known to be one of those actors who loses himself in roles, but he has gone to a few extremes here and there—and has won an Oscar for his efforts. Both in the 1993 Philadelphia, in which he plays a lawyer diagnosed with AIDS, and the 2000 Cast Away, in which he’s stranded on a desert island for four years, Hanks lost a lot of weight.
The 60-year-old thinks losing and gaining the weight back, along with possibly being “genetically inclined,” may have been contributing factors to being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. At the 2013 London Film Festival (via The Daily Mail), the actor said he probably won’t be taking on any more roles which require him to drastically change his size. “The gaining and the losing of weight may have had something to do with it because you eat so much bad food and you don’t take any exercise when you’re heavy. I’ve talked to a number of actors who have gained weight for roles and just out of the sheer physical toll on one’s knees and shoulders, no one wants to do it again. I think that’s more or less a young man’s game.”
Thankfully, Hanks is definitely looking trim and healthy these days.