Matthew McConaughey was the latest to hope a major makeover would help him nab an Oscar, but tepid reviews for Gold have seen him join these unlucky actors
Poor Matthew McConaughey. In 2014, he lost 50lb to play AIDS patient Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club, and his grueling transformation was rewarded with an Oscar for best actor. Convinced that hed cracked the formula, McConaughey then packed on another 50lb and shaved his head for his role in Gold, out this week in the US. But this time, the transformation was for nothing; reviews are middling and awards are nowhere to be seen.
And this is unfair. For every Charlize Theron in Monster, there are legions of other actors who have overhauled their bodies in return for absolutely no silverware whatsoever. Let us celebrate this mountain of pointless effort with a list.
50 Cent, All Things Fall Apart
Rapper 50 Cent had a six-year stretch of making exclusively terrible movies with names such as Dead Man Running and Caught in the Crossfire and Gun. But then, perhaps after seeing how The Machinist revitalised Christian Bales career, he lost a similarly worrying amount of weight to play a cancer sufferer in All Things Fall Apart, dropping 54lb by existing on a juice diet and running for three hours a day. The film went straight to VOD and was barely reviewed.
Jared Leto, Chapter 27
To play Mark Chapman in a film about the assassination of John Lennon, Jared Leto gained 67lb by eating pints of microwaved ice cream mixed with soy sauce and olive oil every night until he contracted gout and was forced to use a wheelchair. It took him a full year to lose the weight after the film, which has a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and made less than $200,000 worldwide.
Matthew Fox, Alex Cross
When I read the part, it felt immediately that my character is burning energy on an almost hyper level, Fox told Mens Health before Alex Cross was released, describing how he visualized his character as almost disturbingly vascular and tendony. He spent five months existing on chicken breasts and steamed broccoli, circuit training to the point of nausea every day, to play a serial killer in a film that failed to recoup its budget by $10m, has an 11% Rotten Tomatoes score, got nominated for a Razzie, was so badly received that plans for a sequel were indefinitely shelved, and was labelled as cloddish, slapdash, gracelessly written, and visually fugly by Entertainment Weekly.
Jennifer Aniston, Cake
Theres a level of fearlessness. I think that you have to be able to sort of go, Fuck it, Im ready to just disappear, Aniston said of her role as grief-stricken, partially disabled Claire Bennett in the film Cake. To reach that level, Aniston revealed her incredible physical preparation. I basically just didnt work out for two-and-a-half months, she explained. The film made back less than $2m of its reported $7m-10m budget, was described as a doughy, maudlin piece of misery porn and failed to halt Anistons reliance on small parts in bad comedies.
Chris Hemsworth, In the Heart of the Sea
Hemsworth consumed just 500 calories a day to prepare for his role as a drifting seaman in Ron Howards maritime adventure. He called In the Heart of the Sea physically and emotionally the hardest movie that Ive been a part of, adding: Losing the weight to this length, I just never want to do it again … in some small way, we felt like we were doing what these men went through justice. The movie made $25m domestically against its $100m production budget and ranks as one of Howards worst-ever performing movies.
Mel Gibson, The Expendables 3
After becoming a Hollywood pariah a decade ago, Mel Gibson threw himself into physical fitness, cutting pasta and sugar from his diet and spending three three-hour sessions with a trainer every week until he became the intimidatingly bulky villain hed play in The Expendables 3, which made $60m less than the first Expendables film, $45m less than the second Expendables film, earned Mel Gibson a Golden Raspberry award, and was The Expendables 3.
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