For an actor, transformation is all in a day’s work. Most of the movies we see on the big screen don’t often require stars to completely hide their good looks from their fans, but sometimes an actor gets a chance to do just that.
Certain roles require an actor to change their appearance so completely that they become totally unrecognizable. It can show you a side of that artist you have never seen before.
Here are 14 actors who weren’t afraid to hold anything back and stunned audiences and critics alike with their complete onscreen transformations. When you see how far they went, you’ll never look at them the same way again…
1. Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter): To create the transformation from stunning Hollywood actor to evil incarnate in the form of Voldemort, Ralph Fiennes didn’t hesitate to do whatever it took to get the look… even if that meant going virtually noseless.
2. Tilda Swinton (Trainwreck): Tilda Swinton is known for playing edgy, androgynous characters. That’s why it was so surprising to see her rock this totally typical hairstyle and overall valley girl look in Amy Schumer’s comedic hit.
3. John Leguizamo (Spawn): While John Leguizamo is a gifted actor, he’s not exactly known for being on the hefty side. That said, the man wasn’t afraid to don a fat suit and more makeup than you can shake a stick at to embody his creepy character in this comic-inspired flick.
4. Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games): Elizabeth Banks is a stunning East Coast-born beauty known for her blonde locks and her funny girl appeal. All of that was hidden in her over-the-top costuming in The Hunger Games franchise to brilliant effect.
5. Johnny Depp (Tusk): Johnny Depp is known for losing himself in his performances, and his role in Kevin Smith’s Tusk was no exception. Depp completely hid his traditional good looks under intense makeup, wigs, and a ridiculous French-Canadian accent.
6. Rebecca Romijn (X-Men: Days of Future Past): When this supermodel took on the role of Mystique in X-Men, she knew it was going to require hours in the makeup chair. However, she had no idea that once that time was up, she would look absolutely nothing like herself.
7. Sean Penn (Carlito’s Way): Sean Penn was known as a sunburned doofus after his role in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He completely blew audiences away by transforming himself into a middle-aged lawyer for his role in Carlito’s Way.
8. Glenn Close (Hook): This actress was nominated for an Oscar in her gender-bending role in Albert Nobbs. However, this wasn’t her first time swapping sexes. She vanished into her role as one of Captain Hook’s pirates in the ’90s classic, Hook.
9. Tom Cruise (Tropic Thunder): Tom Cruise is known for his passion for sports and for keeping himself in tip-top shape. However, that doesn’t mean he is averse to having a little bit of fun—something that was on display for all to see in his portrayal of a Hollywood agent in Tropic Thunder.
10. Halle Berry (Cloud Atlas): In the film Cloud Atlas, the stunning A-List actress Halle Berry didn’t just disappear into one role. With the help of a masterful makeup artists, she embodied several different characters and was virtually unrecognizable.
11. Michael Keaton (Beetlejuice): When Tim Burton created the character of Beetlejuice, he had no idea that Michael Keaton would so completely make the role his own. This Hollywood legend transformed into the iconic character and people still talk about it!
12. Emma Thompson (Nanny McPhee): This classically trained actress isn’t just known for killer acting abilities; she’s also known for her elegant good looks. However, Thompson isn’t afraid to get ugly, which is something she put on display in her role as Nanny McPhee in the eponymous kids’ film.
13. John Travolta (Hairspray): When John Waters’s cult hit Hairspray was remade as a musical, song and dance man John Travolta was happy to jump on board… and into a corset! Travolta had no issue swapping sexes for this comedic romp.
14. Charlize Theron (Monster): The South African beauty is a complete stunner—no one can deny it. That’s why she enjoyed a modeling career before making it on the big screen. However, it was getting “ugly” in her role as serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster that really sent her career into overdrive.
Isn’t it amazing the lengths these actors will go in order to fully embody a role on the big screen? Thank goodness they are willing to do it, since it’s led to some truly exceptional films!
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