Rumors are that all celebrities are willing to lose weight or do anything else to earn movie roles. Some offer to snuggle up to producers, hit the casting couch with directors or sell their souls to the Devil. Some less drastic requirements are to grow beards, shave their heads and paste on false noses. However, the most impressive sacrifice that the usually well-fed actors can make to get a movie role is to lose considerable weight. Here are several examples:
Orson Welles: Writer, producer and actor in what many consider the greatest movie ever made, 1941’s “Citizen Kane”, was just 25 years old at the time. Known for his great love of food, as well as Hollywood’s leading ladies, including Rita Hayworth, Welles had packed at least 245 pounds on his six-foot-two frame when filming began.
Much of the early story featured Kane as an enthusiastic young newspaper owner, requiring the overweight Welles to take off at least 50 pounds for those scenes. However, for the last third of the film, Kane ages from his 50s to 70s, and along with clever make-up to age him, Welles could play the part as a bulky, mature man.
Welles shot all the later scenes first, and then went on a crash diet to knock off the 50 pounds needed for his young Kane role in the early part of the film. Not an advocate of exercise, Welles restricted his eating for a month to orange juice, boiled eggs and salads. With the help of a hidden corset under his shirt, the thinner Welles managed to portray the slim young Kane perfectly.
Daniel-Day Lewis: This very intense British method actor lost 30 pounds in 1993 to portray an Irish revolutionary for the film, “In the Name of the Father”. The character was an IRA prisoner in jail in England who went on a hunger strike in protest to British occupation of Catholic Ireland. Day-Lewis was so into his role that he insisted on eating only minimum amounts of food during film production, but slept each night in the jail cell movie set, and demanded that the film crew push him around and curse him as he believed British prison guards would.
Kate Hudson: The swimsuit-slim actress had to lose 20 pounds to look wasting-away for her role in the movie, “Earthbound”, scheduled for release in 2010. Kate’s character is a terminally-ill woman who has an with her doctor. Kate has always had the same svelte figure as her mother, veteran actress Goldie Hawn, and didn’t have that much body fat to shed. She said she lost the pounds by cutting back on sweets, but believes the most effective way she dropped weight was by quitting all alcoholic drinks.
Tom Hanks lost significant weight to act in two different movie roles. He took off a total of more than 100 pounds for those efforts. During the shooting of the 1993 movie “Philadelphia”, when his character was a dying AIDs victim, it required Hanks to gradually shed 55 pounds as the fatal illness progressed. Later, for his role as a shipwrecked FedEx employee in 2000’s “Cast Away”, Hanks had to knock off 50 pounds. For that movie, he had two bodyweight tasks. Hanks had to put on 15 pounds before the beginning scenes were shot when the character was slightly overweight deskbound executive. Then, filming shut down for six months while Hanks went on a 1,200 calories-a-day diet to drop what amounted to 25 percent of his normal body weight. Then, the scenes of the thin Hanks surviving on the deserted island were shot.
Christian Bale: He also had to lose weight for roles in two different movies. Bale was a 13-year-old in 1987’s “Empire of the Sun”. His character’s British family was imprisoned in 1942 when the Japanese occupied Shanghai. From the well-groomed schoolboy, Bale lost 25 pounds to show starvation and mistreatment during the three years of in prison. In 2004, grown-up Bale shed an amazing total of 63 pounds for his role of a mentally-ill man in “The Machinist”. To lose almost half of his normal weight, Bale claims he ate only apples and drank black coffee for two months during his portrayal of the troubled man who was slowly wasting away.
Losing weight to earn a Hollywood movie role is just part of the everyday challenges celebrities face. However, it has to be a difficult task for famous actors who are accustomed to dining very well in the best restaurants in Beverly Hills and Malibu.