Photo Credit: courtesy of ABC and 50 Cent
He used to be known for head-to-toe tattoos and bulletproof vests. But rapper 50 Cent has changed his persona in an effort to gain credibility as an actor, reportedly lost 54 pounds (from 214 to 160) to play a college football player battling cancer in the movie Things Fall Apart.
The weight came off with a liquid diet and daily three-hour treadmill workouts. When I first saw this picture, I gasped, thinking, "Oh my God, he must be sick with something." Turns out he’s just honing his craft. But will it be at the risk of his health?
When Matt Damon lost 40 pounds to play a drug-addicted Gulf War Veteran in Courage Under Fire (He told Inside the Actor's Studio that he’d limit meals to chicken breast, egg whites and a plain baked potato a day, enhanced by copious amounts of coffee and cigarettes and spurred along by morning AND evening six-mile runs), he had to be placed under medical supervision for several months for damage done to his adrenal glands.
"I went too far. I got sick and I wouldn't do that again because it was just too much. At the same time, it helped the performance. I didn't have to act at all -- I was a wreck. I was getting dizzy spells and hot flashes. I didn't say anything to anyone for a while because I was afraid I might be really ill," said Damon. He later skyrocketed up for the title role in The Informant.
Let’s take a look at some other male shape-shifters:
Christian Bale reportedly consumed just a cup of coffee and an apple a day to lose more than 60 pounds for his role in the thriller, The Machinist, winding up at around 120 pounds. He later regained the weight mass, plus an additional 40 lbs, for his role in Batman Begins.
Tom Hanks dropped 55 pounds to portray a businessman stranded on an island in Castaway. "The hardest thing was the time," he has said. "I wish I could have just taken a pill and lost all the weight…the idea of looking at four months of constant vigilance as far as what I ate, as well as two hours a day in the gym doing nothing but a monotonous kind of workout, that was formidable. You have to power yourself through it almost by some sort of meditation trickery. It's not glamorous."
That wasn’t his first foray into role-related weight loss, though – he also slimmed down to play a man with AIDS in Philadelphia.
Jared Leto packed on 62 pounds to play John Lennon assassin Mark David Chapman in Chapter 27. He was actually a vegetarian at the time, and has said he needed to down a large Dominos pizza every night for dinner to help spur the weight gain. "It actually wasn't any fun. Some people think, 'Oh it was enjoyable,' but I was force feeding myself to such an extent that I would throw up in the back of my throat every day. My body was falling apart, and it was just really bad.” George Clooney also went bigger, gaining 35 pounds to play a former CIA agent in Syriana.
What do you think of actors gaining or losing extreme amounts of weight for a role? Is it dedication to their craft or crazy to mess with their health? Is it any different than female actresses who have to be extremely thin and toned for every role no matter what the part? Chime in below.