Quite often, an actor will undergo a physical transformation to fulfil a move role which often involves losing or gaining weight. But this tends to happen maybe once or twice in their career. Christian Bale however seems to have no limits on what his body can do and has been yo-yo dieting his whole acting career. He claims to have never been to a nutritionist which we aren’t sure is the healthiest way to achieve these extreme weight changes, but in one way or another he got there and has shocked audience along the way. Here are 5 of his most crazy overhauls:
American Psycho, 2000
Before taking this role, Bale was 60lbs heavier than he needed to be and he claims this was one of his most restrictive diets as he needed to lose weight but keep all muscles tight. In order to achieve the ultra lean physique, Bale underwent strict cardio training to lose the excess fats with lots of strength training to define the muscles. In particular, Bale focused on core strength to get those chiseled abs. For diet, Bale was not allowed any sugar or cheat meals, only lean proteins, good fats and low carbs.
The Machinist, 2004
Probably the most visually shocking transformation Bale has undergone was for The Machinist where he dropped a staggering 63lbs from his already slim frame. It has been said the role was originally written for someone much shorter than Bale and so the target weight in the script reflected someone of shorter stature. Instead of alter the weight, Bale tried to match it and succeeded. The fasting diet consisted of “water, an apple and one cup of coffee per day, with the occasional whiskey”. So skinny did Bale become that he claimed even walking up stairs became a struggle. This type of diet is definitely extreme and not recommended!
Unbelievably, just a year later Bale had to put the weight back on, plus build muscle, to play the iconic superhero Batman in what would be one of three films he played him in. Bale really did put his health to the test when he gained nearly 100lbs in just six months. It was so much that before filming, director Christopher Nolan asked him to lose 20lbs as he thought he looked too big! His diet for this film was regimented and reflected the various types of workouts he did that day. Workouts ranged from bodybuilding exercises to interval sprints to reflect the speed and agility Batman would need.
American Hustle, 2013
To play Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle, Bale gained 43lbs, going from 185lbs to 228lbs. Unlike his other weight gains, muscle wasn’t a priority so it really was about carb loading. However so quick and heavy was the increase that he actually suffered a herniated disc!
For Vice, Bale went all out on transformation, not only putting on 40lbs of weight but also shaving his head and bleaching his eyebrows. When gaining the weight, Bale made sure to complete special targeted exercises which increase the thickness of your neck to keep it looking realistic.
Who knows what Bale’s next film role will be or how long he can keep undergoing such extreme transformations without putting his health at risk. But one thing is for sure, you will be hard pushed to find such a committed actor.