For an actor these days, getting into character often demands more than doing your research, adapting your voice and putting on a costume – sometimes it requires a total image overhaul.
Last week, Bodyguard star Richard Madden, 32, told British Vogue that he worries about portraying an unnatural body standard, as he has to hit the gym twice a day and barely eat to be in shape for his shirtless roles.
And he insisted male actors feel under as much pressure as their female co-stars to lose weight for specific parts.
Meanwhile Jude Law, 46, was snapped proudly strutting along a beach in Venice this week while filming The New Pope, showing off his newly toned physique in a pair of tiny white swimming trunks.
As well as dyeing his locks and trimming his body hair, he’d clearly made an effort to get into the shape for the papal part – a routine that appears to be becoming the new norm in Hollywood for stars of all ages.
And even actors who are in their 40s and beyond can’t escape the pressure, with J.K. Simmons, 61, honing his body with gruelling gym routines to get in shape for Justice League.
Richard Madden, pictured in Channel 4 show Electric Dreams in 2017, displaying a more ‘normal’ physique (left). The Scottish star looking lean and ripped in Lady Chatteryley’s Lover, which aired on BBC 1 in 2015 (right)
Scottish star Richard Madden displayed a bulked up physique when he played the part of a former soldier in the hit BBC drama, Bodyguard, in 2018. The actor has admitted that for certain roles, he has to hit the gym twice daily and barely eats to get in shape
Earlier this week Jude Law, 46, was snapped proudly strutting along a beach in Venice while filming The New Pope, showing off his newly toned physique and trimmed body hair in a pair of tiny white swimming trunks
At the age of 49, Josh Brolin (now 51) overhauled his ‘dad bod’ after winning the part of Cable in Deadpool 2.
His superhero physique was honed by following a ‘totally clean’ diet, with no sugar, breads, pastas or drugs,’ and tons of ‘fish, rice, eggs, veggies and water’.
At the gym, the dad-of-three adopted a routine often used by bodybuilders, using drop sets with weights – starting high and gradually going lower until you can no longer lift the weight of your own arms.
Josh Brolin, pictured left in 2008 film W. and right as Cable in 2018, overhauled his ‘dad bod’ after winning the part in Deadpool 2 by following a body building regime
In preparation for his role as Tommy Riordan in Warrior, a former US Marine and mixed martial arts fighter, Hardy had to ensure he was match fit.
But the actor, 41, took it a step further, bulking up his frame with short, sharp regular workouts and piling on muscle.
To prepare for playing Bane in The Dark Knight rises, Hardy piled on 30lbs of pure muscle, much of which appeared to end up between his shoulders as his traps are now renowned as some of the biggest in the industry.
Prior to landing the role of Tommy Riordon in Warrior, Tom Hardy was in good shape (pictured left in 2007) – but he went all out when it came to bulking up. He piled on muscle to play the former US Marine and mixed martial arts fighter (pictured right)
The American actor, probably best known for playing Dr Emil Skoda on the NBC series Law & Order, sent social media into a frenzy while preparing for his film role in Justice League.
The 61-year-old shared snaps while working out in the gym, looking almost unrecognisable with his insanely toned new muscular physique.
His personal trainer Aaron Williamson said he had ‘so much respect’ for the actor, adding: ‘Every time we train together I forget he’s 61 years old.’
The American actor, pictured left in 2015, is probably best known for playing Dr Emil Skoda on the NBC series Law & Order. But he sent social media into a frenzy while preparing for his film role in Justice League, regularly sharing workout shots showing his bulging muscles like the one on the right
Bale underwent a shocking image overhaul in 2005 in preparation for playing the gaunt, insomniac character of Trevor Reznik in psychological thriller The Machinist, shedding an incredible 4st 4lbs (62lbs).
Producers were allegedly so concerned about his staggering weightloss – brought on by a diet of ‘water, an apple and one cup of coffee per day, with the occasional whiskey’ that they refused to let him lose any more.
Bale, 45, went the other way for Batman Begins, piling on over seven stone over the next few months to play the character of Bruce Wayne by lifting weights and scoffing pizza and ice cream.
Bale underwent a shocking image overhaul in 2005 (pictured left) in preparation for playing the gaunt, insomniac character of Trevor Reznik in psychological thriller The Machinist, shedding an incredible 4st 4lbs. He then piled on seven stone for Batman Begins straight after in the same year (pictured right)
After landing the part of Mr Tumnus, the faun in Walt Disney Pictures’s The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – one of McAvoy’s first major film roles – transforming himself into a buffed-up beefcake was probably far from his mind.
His slender frame clearly didn’t hinder his career, with McAvoy, 39, going on to land parts in Starter for 10, Atonement and The Last King of Scotland.
But these days he appears to have adopted more of a hardman image, hitting the gym with personal trainer Magnus Lygdback, gaining muscle and shaving his head for films Split and Glass.
James McAvoy, pictured left at the Venice Film festival in 2007 following the release of Atonement, has always had a more slender physique. But after hitting the gym with personal trainer Magnus Lygdback, the actor (pictured right in 2017) gained muscle and bulked up
In 2015 some less-than-flattering snaps emerged of topless Diesel on a balcony in Florida, showing his ‘softer side’.
His ‘dad bod’ went viral, with the 51-year-old actor hitting back at fat jibes by proclaiming he’s had ‘the best body in New York City for decades’.
But they clearly touched a nerve, as he was back in shape and buffer than ever for his role in xXx: Return of Xander Cage.
In 2015 some less-than-flattering snaps emerged of topless Diesel on a balcony in Florida, showing his ‘softer side’ (left). But Diesel was back in shape and buffer than ever for his role in xXx: Return of Xander Cage and now posts snaps like the picture on the right regularly on his Instagram page to prove he’s not letting standards slip
Before landing a part in Guardians of the Galaxy, Pratt, 39, had a legion of fans thanks to his role in NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation.
He summarised his character Andy Dwyer as ‘dim-witted and guileless and a real idiot, but lovable’ – with a beer belly to boot.
But all that changed when Pratt became a Marvel comic book hero; after adopting a strict diet and exercise regime, he lost over four stone (60lbs) in six months and went from chump to hunk overnight.
Pratt, pictured left in 2009 on a beach in Maui, banished his beer belly to play Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy
Ahead of filming Nightcrawler, Gyllenhaal shed almost 14 kilograms to play the part of Los Angeles denizen Louis Bloom.
Following this he then put on over a stone (15lbs) of muscle in order to portray a world champion boxer in Southpaw, with three-hour long workouts every day and rigorous boxing training sessions.
Speaking about his transformation, Gyllenhaal, 38, said: ‘Any time you learn about new ways to build muscle and get your body into fit shape, you can take these lessons and use them forever. You still benefit even if at some point you pare back the exercise.’
Gyllenhaal, pictured left in 2003, piled on over a stone to play world champion boxer Billy Hope in Southpaw (right)
In his first appearance as Wolverine in 2009, Hugh Jackman, then 40, looked in pretty good shape.
But fast forward 10 years and the star has continued to push his body to the limit to bring the clawed superhero to life – with his character in Logan looking more ripped than ever.
In his first appearance as Wolverine (left) in 2009, Hugh Jackman, then 40, looked in pretty good shape, but as the years went on Jackman’s character, pictured right in 2013, gained more and more abs
The film 300 famously presented its agog viewers with a sea of ripped torsos – Butler’s being one of them.
Knowing he’d be surrounded by hundreds of buff stuntmen, the actor underwent a gruelling training regime in the hope they’d ‘take their hats off’ to him.
Butler, 49, worked out for six hours a day – two hours with them, two doing the 300 workout and two with his bodybuilder, ‘pumping 25 times before each take’.
Gerard Butler, pictured left in 1999 TV show Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married and right in film 300 in 2006, underwent a rigorous workout regime to get in shape for the Spartan flick
Having landed one of the biggest roles in Hollywood, Craig, 51, went on a body transformation mission to play 007.
His Bond workouts involved power lifting and compound lifts to bulk up his frame. And let’s face it, who wasn’t impressed by his confident beach stroll in those tight blue swimshorts in Casino Royale in 2006?
Having landed one of the biggest roles in Hollywood, Craig, pictured left in TV series Anglo Saxon Attitudes in 1992 and right as Bond in Casino Royale in 2005, went on a body transformation mission to play 007
When the 58-year-old’s new Channel 4 drama The First premiered last year, the gripping plotlines weren’t the only thing to hit the headlines.
Penn, who played the role of astronaut Tom Hagerty, wowed viewers with his newly-ripped physique when the show debuted, with even the preview for the series featuring a glimpse at his rippling muscles during a shirtless scene.
The actor is notoriously private about his training regimes for movies, however he is known to be an avid surfer, and was seen catching waves on a number of occasions ahead of the premiere of The First.
He has also revealed in the past that he gives up smoking when he is preparing for a particularly demanding role that requires serious physical training.