How far will an actor go to achieve perfection?

Image shows actor Christian Bale in a scene for the film The Machinist.

Image via: IGN.com

For many actors, the role is more than just learning the lines. Actors are often required to push their bodies to the limits as well as prepare themselves mentally. The transformations that ensue are often quite staggering.

Christian Bale is a notable actor for transforming his body for a role. For several roles he has lost weight, built muscle and even gained weight. This constant fluctuation is certainly no easy feat. For his role in insomniac thriller, The Machinist, Christian Bale reportedly lost 28.5kg. To lose this weight, Christian relied on a strict diet of a single serving of fish and 1 piece of fruit a day. Currently, Christian holds the record for the most amount of weight lost for any role, and it certainly shows. His biggest achievement however, was for his next role.

After production was finished for The Machinist, Christian Bale was cast as Batman in Christopher Nolan’s reboot. Bale was tasked with reaching a typical Batman like physique something that wasn’t evident in The Machinist. A high carb diet and intensive muscle workouts results in Christian Bale gaining 44.9 KG over the course of production.

Recently, Christian had to get fatter for his role in American Hustle, eating an abundant amount of fast food. He certainly has quite the belly in the film.

In terms of mental preparation, the late Heath Ledger certainly wins the award for his commitment to the role of the Joker in The Dark Knight. Heath threw himself at the role of the main antagonist, locking himself in a room for weeks on end, with only himself for company. During this time, Heath Ledger wrote a diary and practiced his speech, really getting into character. One of his diary entries read that, “I ended up landing more in the realm of a psychopath – someone with very little to no conscience towards his acts.”

As his performance shows, Heath Ledger certainly grasped the character of the Joker including subtleties such as mannerisms and facial expression. I’m you’ll agree, the voice he used, is chilling and memorable to say the least. Speaking of which Heath Ledger is believed to have taken inspiration from an interview conducted with singer Tom Waits in 1979. You can certainly see the similarities in the interview below.

Acting isn’t just about saying the right lines for many actors. The lengths actors go to in order to achieve the perfect role is clearly extraordinary.

 

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