23 Times Actors Had To Make Huge Physical Changes For Roles That Either Ruined Or Made Their Lives

It took Mark Hamill three trips to the salon to get his hair back to normal after The Flash.

Recently, we wrote about so-called “makeovers” that actors had to undergo for roles that made them miserable.

Well, now we’re back with even more…along with movie/TV makeovers actors actually loved!

Here are 13 makeovers that made actors’ lives miserable (labeled “BRUTAL”), and 10 they actually loved (labeled “BELOVED”)!


BRUTAL: Hugh Jackman lost a ton of weight for Les Misérables — especially that opening scene, when his character is released from prison.

Laurie Sparham/Universal Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Jackman revealed he wouldn’t even drink water during that part of filming until super late in the day. “You lose up to 10 pounds of water weight, mainly from the exterior of the body. But it was really brutal,” he explained. “About 20 hours in, a headache came. Then I wanted to drink water out of the ocean! I see the scene now, and I look really thin, really sunken.”


BELOVED: Charlize Theron famously went bald for her iconic role as Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road. It was actually her idea — she said her hair was “fried” from a press tour, and she suggested Furiosa have a shaved head.

Jasin Boland/Warner Bros. Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

Theron called her new cut “great,” and emphasized how convenient it was. “After that, I was 20 minutes early to everything in my life,” she said. “It was unbelievable, like how much time we spend on our hair. And then also, I think I emptied two garbage bags full of hair products and brushes. There’s something very freeing in that, for sure, definitely. And there’s always something nice when you kind of take that importance of your femininity and make it about something more than just your hair.”

Kevin Mazur / WireImage via Getty Images


BRUTAL: Miley Cyrus was not fond of getting dolled up in glitter and a blonde wig for Hannah Montana. “From the time I was 11, it was, ‘You’re a pop star! That means you have to be blonde, and you have to have long hair, and you have to put on some glittery tight thing.'” Miley told Marie Claire magazine.

Disney Channel / Courtesy: Everett Collection

“Meanwhile, I’m this fragile little girl playing a 16-year-old in a wig and a ton of makeup. It was like Toddlers & Tiaras. I had fucking flippers.” She said that being made to look like someone she wasn’t “probably caused some body dysmorphia” because she was “made pretty” for so many years that when it ended, she didn’t know who she was.

Steve Granitz / WireImage via Getty Images


BELOVED: Like Charlize, Natalie Portman also shaved her head for a role — in her case, V for Vendetta. This isn’t confirmed, but according to IMDb, she’d actually been wanting to shave her head for a while.

Warner Brothers / courtesy Everett Collection

Speaking about cutting her hair, she did say, “It was actually kind of wonderful to throw vanity away for a little bit as a woman. You know, you’re always expected to be primping and preening yourself. It’s a pretty nice opportunity to get to not think about that stuff for a little.”

Mirek Towski / FilmMagic via Getty Images


BRUTAL: Christian Bale is particularly famous for transforming himself for roles — especially for his role in The Machinist.

Araya Diaz / Getty Images for Red Nation Film Festival

Playing an emaciated insomniac in the film, Bale had to lose over 60 pounds. He did so by basically subsisting on a diet of cigarettes and whiskey. He later said the only other things he consumed were an apple, a tin of tuna, and black coffee — about 200 calories a day. Losing weight became an “obsession,” and he said he wanted to go beyond what was “safe and OK,” and wasn’t thinking about his own health.

Paramount Classics/ Courtesy: Everett Collection


BRUTAL, AGAIN: Another miserable transformation Bale had to undergo was to transform into Irving Rosenfeld for American Hustle. In addition to gaining 43 pounds and shaving his head so he could glue on a toupee, he also took to slouching in every scene to better portray the character. In fact, he did this so much, he herniated a disc in his back.

Francois Duhamel/Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection


BELOVED: For his role as Archie Andrews in Riverdale, KJ Apa had to dye his normally brunette locks red. The process took eight hours in a salon, and has to be touched up every two weeks. “It was gnarly,” he said, also mentioning how he doesn’t know how women do this. He said he was really nervous about how he’d look with red hair and brows.

Jack Rowand / The CW / courtesy Everett Collection

However, Apa actually ended up liking the look. “It was definitely really weird to see,” he said. “But now I can’t really remember what it was like before. I heard that only 2% of the population of the world has red hair, so I’m feeling pretty good right now.”

Andrew Lipovsky / NBC / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Costars Lili Reinhart and Camila Mendes even said they preferred the red. However, Apa has said he will not keep the hair when the show ends because of the upkeep.


BRUTAL: For his brief role on The Flash, Mark Hamill dyed his hair purple, for some reason opting for permanent dye.

Katie Yu / The CW Network / courtesy Everett Collection

It was fun for a bit, but proved miserable — it took him three months and three dye jobs to get his hair back to blonde.

Road to Recovery From the Perils of Purple Hair-Took me 3 dye jobs to get back to normal. #ACautionaryTale #HairDont #DudeWheresYourDignity?

01:53 AM – 07 Mar 2017

Twitter: @MarkHamill


BELOVED: For her role as Anne in Anne with an E, Amybeth McNulty had to dye her normally-blonde locks red. She was definitely nervous, having never dyed her hair.

However, she now says she wishes she were a natural redhead. “It turned into a beautiful red — so pretty. And my friends were like, ‘It suits you better than your blonde hair.’”

Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection


BRUTAL: Matt Bomer lost over 35 pounds to play a man dying of AIDS in The Normal Heart.

Steve Granitz / WireImage via Getty Images

While he was happy to do it and said it gave him a “lust for life” and strong desire to fight and live like his character, the transformation was definitely hard on him. Director Ryan Murphy said it got so bad that he was essentially too weak to move between takes, and that he cried when he saw him because he was so worried for his health.


BELOVED: After getting lip injections for the film Rock’n Roll, Marion Cotillard showed off the look on Instagram with 18 selfies. While she didn’t keep the look, it’s safe to say she was feelin’ herself during filming.


BRUTAL: Pauley Perrette, who played Abby on NCIS, had to dye her hair black for years for the role. In fact, she dyed her hair so often that she developed an allergic reaction to the dye and was rushed to the ER.

Afterwards, she said she’d change to natural hair dyes or use a wig (though no word on which she chose).

This was me at hospital today and it got worse #Allergy #AllergicReaction PLEASE read my next tweet http://t.co/AYf4GfM3sm

06:37 AM – 19 Jul 2014

Twitter: @PauleyP


BELOVED: More head-shaving! For her role in Nappily Ever After, Sanaa Lathan shaved her head. Sharing the look on Instagram, she said, “I feel so light, I could fly away.”

Tina Rowden / Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection


BRUTAL: Zac Efron got super ripped for his role in Baywatch. But he later called his body in the film “unrealistic” and “stupid.”

On Hot Ones, he revealed the work that went into his look for the movie: “I realized when I was done with that movie, I don’t ever want to be in that good of shape again. Really. It was so hard. You’re working with almost no wiggle room. You’ve got things like water under your skin you’re worrying about. Making your six-pack into a four-pack. Shit like that that’s just not…it’s just stupid; it’s just not real.”

Derek Storm/Everett Collection


BELOVED: Kate Hudson also had to shave her head for her role in Sia’s Music. Speaking on Jimmy Kimmel Live! about her new look, she gushed, “I love it.”

Vertical Entertainment /Courtesy Everett Collection

In fact, she kept her short hair for quite awhile, rarely opting for extensions.

Axelle/Bauer-Griffin / FilmMagic via Getty Images


BRUTAL: Tricia Helfer dyed her hair bleach blonde for her role in Battlestar Galactica, but in the second season, they had to keep cutting it shorter to deal with how damaged her hair was becoming. Eventually, it started falling out in chunks, and they had to opt for a wig.

Carole Segal / Sci-Fi Channel / courtesy Everett Collection


BELOVED: For the seventh season of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Rob McElhenney decided to gain weight for his role as Mac, because he felt that in most sitcoms, the actors got thinner and “better-looking” with time, and Always Sunny was a subversion of sitcoms.

Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection

He did so by eating donuts and McDonald’s, and drinking wine and high-calorie protein shakes.

While his costars were worried for his health in changing his diet so dramatically and gaining weight so quickly, McElhenney says he loved it, and that the extra calories gave him more energy and made him funnier. As he started to lose the weight, he said he missed it, saying, “I never felt lethargic. I felt great. I felt f—ing great.”


He said losing the weight was easy because he had a fast metabolism.


BRUTAL: Jared Leto, known for his method acting, lost 40 pounds for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, saying he basically “stopped eating,” and that this changed his “entire being.” He said, “It changes the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you think.”

Anne Marie Fox/Focus Features / courtesy Everett Collection


BELOVED: Emma Stone has joked she was “cursed” with her iconic red hair after being asked to dye it for Superbad, saying directors on all her future projects continued to insist she keep it red.

Columbia Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

She’s actually a natural blonde — which is why she was “delighted” to dye her hair blonde again for The Amazing Spider-Man.

Kristin Callahan/Everett Collection


BRUTAL: Jake Gyllenhaal had to lose 30 pounds (when he was already starting at 180) for his role in Nightcrawler.

Chuck Zlotnick/Open Road Films/Courtesy Everett Collection

“I would try to eat as few calories as possible. I knew if I was hungry that I was in the right spot. Physically, it showed itself, but chemically and mentally, I think it was even a more fascinating journey. It became a struggle for me,” he said of the process.

Albert L. Ortega / Getty Images


BELOVED: Jeff Bridges loved going bald and growing a beard for Iron Man, calling it “wonderful” and saying he’d actually always wanted to do it.

Paramount/Courtesy Everett Collection


BRUTAL: For his role in the film The Five-Year Engagement — which he wrote — Jason Segel was asked to lose 35 pounds in order to “believably” play a love interest for Emily Blunt.

Glen Wilson/Universal Pictures / courtesy Everett Collection

“I didn’t enjoy it,” Segel said of being “forced” to lose the weight. “They sent a trainer to set, and I had to work out twice a day, and he would also watch me eat all day.”

Jon Kopaloff / Getty Images

However, he did joke that since he was playing a chef, he’d pay costars to flub their lines so he could eat more in the filmed scenes with food.


And finally, one last BRUTAL transformation: For her role in Black Swan, Mila Kunis had to lose weight. While she said she got down to 95 pounds in the healthiest way she could, one unhealthy method she used was going back to smoking cigarettes.

Niko Tavernise/Fox Searchlight Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Kunis called this “awful,” as her quitting smoking earlier on in her life was, in her opinion, one of the best decisions she’d ever made.

David Livingston / Getty Images

What actor transformations shocked you? Let us know in the comments!