In most cases, a movie actor’s job is to look as polished and gorgeous as possible on the screen. However, some roles demand a less glamorous direction. A few actors who have dared to go ugly:
Looking rather like an actual cannibal these days, Shia LaBeouf has been walking around with unkempt hair and a long beard. Presumably, the new look is for the film he is working on, Lars von Triers’s Nymphomaniac.
Christian Bale never had to do anything to convince people he was a serious actor. Nonetheless, he has gone on extreme diets for roles in two films, 2003’s The Machinist and 2010’s The Fighter. He won an Oscar for his work on The Fighter.
Charlize Theron gained between 25 and 30 pounds and wore fake teeth and heavy make-up to play serial killer Aileen Wournos in Monster. She’s virtually unrecognizable. Her performance matched her transformation, and is widely considered one of the best.
Joaquin Phoenix grew a beard, swore off hair brushes and faked a hip hop career move in an Andy Kaufmanesque satire effort for I’m Still Here. Viewers of the faux-documentary have been starkly divided into two camps: some dismiss it as an overlong, abrasive bore, others laud the film as a cutting take on the nature of celebrity and the media.
Brad Pitt has returned to the ugly well repeatedly in attempts to temper a pretty boy image. His twitchy, cross-eyed performance in Twelve Monkeys was easily the ugliest. Greasy serial killer Early Grayce in Kalifornia and the stoner roommate in True Romance are two more examples.
Gary Oldman contributed his share of ugly to True Romance, as well, in the role of Alabama’s hilarious but menacing pimp. It’s hardly his first heavily costumed, ugly role. It’d be easier to make a list of films where Oldman is recognizable than those where he undergoes heavy transformations.
I didn’t even recognize Tom Cruise as the balding, dancing agent in Tropic Thunder. He donned a fat suit and bald-headed appliance to play foul-mouthed producer Les Grossman. Those who enjoyed the Grossman character are in luck: a film focusing solely on the character is reportedly in the works.
It’s hard to remember now, but, Mel Gibson was once considered a Hollywood heart-throb. He wore heavy make-up to appear scarred in his directorial debut Man Without a Face. The movie was generally well-received by critics.
Famously pretty Jared Leto gained a massive amount of weight to portray Mark David Chapman in Chapter 27. The hit to his waistline and blood pressure levels were in vain – his performance was dismissed as derivative and dull, and the movie itself was both a critical and commercial flop.
We chatted with Leto, who was back down to his fighting weight, about his band's vegetable-oil fueled tour bus. Check out the video below: