Film and TV has had an intertwined relationship with body transformations in line with actors getting ready for roles. Whether that be dramatic weight loss or gain, getting ripped or developing a pop belly, artists have sacrificed their day-to-day lifestyles to inherit a body suited to a role.
This perspective has often divided actors, as some will not sacrifice for a role – or perhaps are somewhat typecast and don’t need to – and some get fully into it, even going as far to tattoo themselves or imprint permanent markings to mimic the character they are aiming to portray.
The results of these transformations have been powerful and have created true-to-vision replicas of characters. Christian Bale as a prime example has consistently changed his body for roles to embody his characters. In the new trailers for the upcoming Marvel movie, Thor: Love And Thunder, we see him once again looking gaunt in his portrayal of Gorr the God Butcher.
From the film American Psycho, Bale has been on a transformation journey. Working out every day and reportedly just eating grilled chicken for the role of Patrick Bateman, to four years later with The Machinist where he lost sixty pounds eating only 200 calories a day.
Talking to The Guardian on the preparation he said, “When you’re so skinny that you can hardly walk up a flight of stairs … you’re, like, this being of pure thought. It’s like you’ve abandoned your body,”
Soon after The Machinist, Bale had to gain 100 pounds for Batman Begins and started working out three times a day to be physically ready for the famous superhero and have the body to boot.
Over his next two films – post Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga – American Hustle and Vice, Bale gained a total of 80 pounds split across the two films.
Speaking on actors’ commitment to shifting weight and gaining it, Ben Azadi, founder of Keto Kamp said, “I’ve worked with numerous people in the past and what people generally struggle in the entertainment sphere with is losing weight and getting in shape, whether that be for their brand of acting roles.”
Based in Miami Beach, Florida, Azadi is the author of four best-selling books, Keto Flex, The Perfect Health Booklet, The Intermittent Fasting Cheat Sheet, and The Power of Sleep. He is known as the go-to source for intermittent fasting and the ketogenic diet because he investigates dysfunction and focuses on education, rather than medication to bring the body back to normal function. His brand aims to bring awareness to ancient healing strategies such as the keto diet and fasting.
“We don’t believe in hyped-up claims, weight loss gimmicks, irresponsible business practices, or unethical guarantees such as ‘lose 30 pounds in 30 days’,” he said.
“Instead, we believe in science and simplicity. A sensible, evidence-based approach that helps people make actionable progress toward improving their health and their cell metabolism.”
“We also don’t believe improving our health should be boring and daunting…we bring fun and excitement to a group of people consumed with fear and worry. We’re a source of hope and a guiding light to better health and active futures filled with friends, family, adventures, and enjoyment.”
The Keto Kamp won the keto podcast of the year for 2022, the YouTube channel has garnered over 130,000 subscribers, and their TikTok channel has over 200,000 with over 30 million video downloads.
“People forget, I was obese for 24 years. I managed to shed 80 pounds of fat using the same systems I preach. I think artists need to understand there are healthy ways to lose weight without negating your health. Even if you have to put on weight there are healthier ways to do that than just pounding your body with empty calories.”
Though some actors fully method act with their body’s weight fluctuation, there are also actors like Dwayne Johnson who stays in the shape that he wants – ripped – and is not just type cast into pure action hero roles. It feels like Hollywood is evolving and realizing that a body type doesn’t necessarily dictate a personality anymore to an audience. Yet there’ll always be actors like Bale that feel the requirement to embody characters, as true to the vision of how they should look, as possible.