5 Actors Speak on Transforming for a Role

These 5 actors and actresses have all put plenty of time and effort into becoming characters for a role. Some put on weight or muscle, while others even got new piercings or haircuts. For others, it was more a case of understanding the challenge ahead of them and discovering more about the person they were about to become for the role. Each star has transformed amazing on camera, really becoming the character they play.


Chris Evans

For his role in Captain America, Chris Evans went through an amazing on-screen transformation thanks to some technological help:  ‘Well, maybe we can get another skinny actor and put Chris’ head on it,’ and I really, really was against that, I said to Joe [Johnston, director], “Look, I know we want this to look good and this effect to not be distracting from the film, but it has to be my performance. I don’t want to share this. Your body is a huge piece of the acting puzzle, and I don’t want to have somebody else’s body tell the story that I’m trying to tell.’ So they did some tweaking and they did a bunch of tests and we went back to the initial plan to shrink my body.”


Rooney Mara

Rooney Mara looks almost unrecognisable in ‘The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’. She underwent a dramatic transformation, and even got some real piercings: “I had prepared myself and I knew how emotionally and physically challenging making The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo would be, but the whole project really pushed me. The physical challenge was probably even more shocking than the emotional, because there were lots of days that we were doing stunts, with many takes, over and over. It was an amazing experience and I know that I have learnt so much. I am just not quite sure what that is yet.”


Michelle Williams

Michelle Williams transformed into the role of Marilyn Monroe for ‘A Week With Marilyn’ but says she knew it would really challenge her even though she was reluctant at first: “To be honest, the part kind of landed in my lap although I knew immediately that I was going to challenge myself to do it. I spent the next six months talking myself out of it – it was daunting – but, in the end, there was a kind of inevitability. It was the kind of part I was born to challenge myself with.”


Leonardo DiCaprio

Leo says he wanted to gain some weight for his role in J. Edgar which required him to wear a large suit: “It was very claustrophobic and I wanted to put on extra weight so I didn’t have to wear a big suit. I tried my best but there weren’t enough cupcakes around to do it.” Speaking on his character, Leonardo understands that Edgar was obsessed with his work: “I think he was a tragic figure and the only way he could receive love was through the workplace, which is why he was tyrannical about being in a position of power his entire life and why he manipulated everyone around him. His life was about protecting his own secrets and finding out other people’s.”


Vanessa Hudgens

In ‘Gimme Shelter’, Vanessa Hudgens had to become a guy, gaining weight for the role and getting several new piercings: “The tattoo, the hair, the clothes, the piercings, the attitude, the everything, the walk, the talk … it was a completely new person. I really did look like a boy. Not to mention the places we were filming. We were in the grimiest, dirtiest places, and I was fighting every day, being fought, being beat down and it was all extremely draining even though it was acting.”