15 Actors Who Became Unrecognizable for Movie Roles

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15 Actors Who Became Unrecognizable for Movie Roles

When it comes to actors getting into character, some take their roles more seriously than others. Reading, rehearsing and embodying the mindset of the characters is sometimes not enough to convince the audience of the story you are portraying.

Depending on the role, some actors don't have to change much at all. Other times they transform into someone that we don't even recognize. These roles not only stand out in our minds as amazing features, but are also awarded for a performance that has immersed us in the world.

Check out this list of actors who were no longer recognizable after their movie roles.

Tom Cruise- Tropic Thunder

In the 2008 satirical comedy directed by Ben Stiller, very few of the actors looked like themselves. While Robert Downey Jr's character reportedly took 2 hours of makeup application to complete, it was Tom Cruise's cameo that stole the show. Playing Les Grossman, Tom Cruise played an overweight, old, balding man with huge hands and a lot of body hair. His transformation was so convincing that people didn't know it was him. Don't miss his dance at the end, it will have you laughing so hard, you'll cry.

Michael Fassbender- Hunger

Now one of the most-sought after actors in Hollywood, Fassbender's work in the 2008 movie Hunger is considered one of the launching points of his career as an A-list star. The movie tells the story of the 1981 Irish hunger strike, staring Fassbender as Bobby Sands, who lead the second IRA hunger strike.

For the role Fassbender lost 30 pounds and dropped to as little as 127 pounds while shooting. Restricting his diet to a meager 600 calories per day, he lost as much weight as his doctor would allow.

Wikipedia / Film4

Dustin Hoffman- Hook

If this movie isn't a throwback to your childhood, I don't know what is. Realizing the sadness that comes with Robin Williams playing the optimistic Peter Pan could be enough to pass on rewatching this movie any time soon. But despite Julia Roberts' portrayal of Tinkerbell we come back to this movie for our favorite one-handed villain. Dustin Hoffman stars as the title character with thick eyebrows bigger than his mouth and with a thick accent that's far from corny. Hoffman easily replaced Blackbeard as everyone's favorite pirate.

50 Cent- All Things Fall Apart

Going from 214 pounds to 160 pounds in just 9 weeks, the rapper became the spitting image of someone fighting cancer. All Things Fall Apart was a passion project that was meant to honor a childhood friend who lost their battle with the disease.

To drop that amount of weight, 50 Cent spent 3 hours a day on a treadmill and only consumed a liquid diet in the process.

John Travolta - Hairspray

In the 2007 musical Hairspray, John Travolta took his character's role to a whole new level. Not only dancing, singing and acting in one movie, but doing it all as a woman. Cast as the main character's mom, Travolta embodied the voluptuous, bubbly, anxious Baltimore mom in the '60s. His signature charm and hip-shaking character was one of his most memorable ever.

Continue to the next page to read about the actor that put his health at serious risk for a role.

Christian Bale- The Machinist

While Christian Bale made headlines about his weight gain for American Hustle, his legendary weight-loss for the 2004 thriller, The Machinist, was the most notable. The former Batman actor, lost as much as 62 pounds for the role, dropping his weight down to 99 pounds.

"But I was intrigued by a perverse nature of mine just to see if I can go beyond what I've been told is actually safe and OK, and see if I could push the limits," Bale said at the time.

Robert De Niro- Raging Bull

Robert De Niro was the original king of transformational method acting, and that is no way better shown than in the classic Raging Bull. Playing a middle-weight boxer, the movie chronically his self-destructive behavior over the course of several decades.

When the film was released, De Niro's 60 pound weight gain was the most by an actor for a film role. For most of the movie, he had to physically depict the body of a boxer until the end of the shoot.

That's when the film's last scene shows an older, overweight character which caused De Niro to swing his body in the other direction. To do this they shut down production for several weeks while De Niro flew to Italy where he ate as much pasta as possible.

After he returned, director Martin Scorsese shut down production again because he was concerned for the actor's health as he gained a substantial amount of weight and was experiencing labored breathing.

Gary Oldman- Dracula

Over the years we have seen several portrayals of Dracula. To recognize Gary Oldman in this role you'll have to look hard- really hard. As a blood-thirsty vampire, Oldman is completely unrecognizable with his ghostly pale skin and generous amounts of wrinkles.

The actor in his early 30s was able to convince the audience that he was an elderly man with a very creepy accent.

Gerard Butler- Phantom of the Opera

Gerard Butler bring his raw, full-throttled masculinity to life in the 2004 version of the Phantom of the Opera. Doing his own singing everyone was impressed my his ability on stage as this masked character.

Before he was a jacked Greek gladiator he played the musical theater anti-hero that got you lost in this romantic classic.

Glenn Close- Albert Nobbs

Typically cast a the "good girl", in movies including as a wife, mother and understanding friend, Albert Nobbs was a bit of a turn for Glenn Close.

Close brings to life the painful loneliness of a woman living as a man in 19th century Ireland. She not only takes on the title role in the film, but also shares producing and screenwriting credits as well.

She struggled with the role because the character was very different from Close's personality.

"I just didn't know how I could pull it off on film, which is much more difficult than stage because you have the close-up," she says.

Continue to the next page for some powerful horror and action movie transformations.

Stanley Tucci- Hunger Games

When Caesar Flickman was onscreen, all eyes were on him! To readers of the books, the character was known to be colorful, over-the-top and eccentric. From false teeth to bright colored wigs, Tucci went through a major physical transformation to take on the role.

"I was in London making a movie and we knew what we wanted the fellow to look like," he said of his involvement with the character's physical development. "Then we experimented with stuff I said, "˜I'd like to try teeth. I'd like to try some noses. I want him to have a tan. We have to really make it look like he has plastic surgery.'"


Mickey Rourke- Sin City

Mickey Rourke is somewhat of a Hollywood chameleon, always changing right before our eyes.

In the 2005 adaption of Miller's graphic novel Sin City, Mickey Rouke takes on the role of Marv.

He underwent hours of long makeup sessions to transform into the iconic hard-hitting character.

"He is part of the heart and soul of what Sin City is," Miller declared. "It's hard to imagine Sin City without Marv."

Vincent D'ONofrio- MIB

When Vincent D'ONofrio took on the creepy role of Edgar, we couldn't believe that this was the same man that played in Full Metal Jacket. Well placed props had this actor transform into the creepy creation that this classic film called for. From a bladder suit to help Edgar pull his human skin off to reveal his true form.

IMDB / Break Down That Film Reviews

David Duchovny- Twin Peaks

One of our favorite blasts from the past is always Twin Peaks! From Agent Mulder on the X-Files to Denise Bryson in Twin Peaks, it's hard not to love Duchovny. During her three-episode arc from 1990-1991, the character represented a transgender woman at a time when it was a very rare thing.

They have recently rebooted the show and things have come a long way!

Tilda Swinton- Trainwreck

Known for her unique style, fans could barely recognize the actress when she appeared on screen with flowing locks of hair and heavy makeup. Known for her edgy short hair and porcelain pale skin, this character's fake tan is something we weren't expecting from the actress.

"I'm delighted to say that I'm unrecognizable," she confessed. "I don't know whether one would really want to be recognizable in this role."

Marvel Movies Wikia / Daily Mail

Which transformation were you most surprised by?

Sources: The Richest / Diply / CheatSheet