NATALIE PORTMAN AND MARK WAHLBERG REVIVE EXTREME FILM ROLES
After losing sleep and 63 pounds in weight Christian Bale gains the top spot for the Most Extreme Role of All Time after immersing himself physically and emotionally to become insomniac Trevor Reznik in The Machinist.
To mark the UK release of The Fighter and to celebrate Natalie Portman’s Oscar nomination for her role in Black Swan, LOVEFiLM, Europe’s largest subscription service streaming movies and TV episodes over the internet and sending DVDs by post, has asked film fans to name the most extreme movie roles of all time performed by actors who have gone above and beyond preparing for an on-screen performance.
Robert De Niro charges into second place with 11 per cent of the vote for his award-winning performance in Raging Bull. The movie spans the 23 year period of Jake LaMotta’s life from a young, successful fighter at the peak of his career to a washed up overweight boxer – director Martin Scorsese stopped production for four months to allow De Niro to increase his weight by 60 pounds by binging on carb-loaded Italian food.
Charlize Theron swapped her frocks for smocks in this powerful performance as real-life American serial killer Aileen Wuornos in Monster. Charlize not only binged on junk food to gain 30 pounds quickly for the role, she destroyed her hair and bleached her eyebrows – the actress’ resemblance to the subject was uncanny making her third (9 per cent) in the extreme list.
Fourth in the poll (7 per cent) is Daniel Day-Lewis for his portrayal of quadriplegic Christy Brown in My Left Foot (1989). Day-Lewis spent months observing cerebral palsy patients and remained wheel-chair bound throughout the film’s production period. His refusal to break from character not only earned him an Oscar but also two broken ribs as a result of his constant hunched position.
Next is Tom Hanks in the desert island film Cast Away, which took five years to hit the big screen from concept – production was halted for a year to enable Hanks to lose 55 pounds and let his hair and beard grow.
Punching into sixth place (5 per cent) is Edward Norton who transformed his slender physique to become a musclebound neo-Nazi skinhead named Derek Vinyard for his performance in American History X – he spent two months intensively training for the role.
Hup, 2, 3, 4. Marching into eighth place (3 per cent) is Demi Moore in G.I Jane. Failure was not an option when she signed up for this empowering role. Just one year on from sporting cocktail dresses in Striptease, the actress shaved her head and underwent a brutal training regime with an ex-Navy SEAL to bulk up for her new character.
The 2009 depiction of Britain’s most violent prisoner Bronson meant actor Tom Hardy needed to turn himself into a huge, intimidating bulk of a man which he did by packing on three stone of muscle in five weeks through a gruelling training regime, including 2,500 press ups each day. Hardy made inroads with Bronson’s fraternity and family and regularly visited the man himself at Wakefield maximum security prison in West Yorkshire.
Down but not out, Hilary Swank takes the final place with just one per cent of votes as female boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in Million Dollar Baby. Swank consumed 4,000 calories a day to bulk up her frame and gained nearly 20 pounds of muscle and impressive abs.
The Top Ten extreme roles are as follows:
- Christian Bale – The Machinist (2004) – 49 %
- Robert De Niro – Raging Bull (1980) – 11%
- Charlize Theron – Monster (2003) – 9%
- Daniel Day-Lewis – My Left Foot (1989) – 7%
- Tom Hanks – Cast Away (2000) – 6%
- Edward Norton – American History X (1998) – 5%
- Dustin Hoffman – Rain Man (1988) – 4%
- Demi Moore – G.I Jane (1996) – 3%
- Tom Hardy – Bronson (2009) –2%
- Hilary Swank – Million Dollar Baby (2004) – 1%
Other – 3 %
Fliss White, Head of Brand Marketing at LOVEFiLM commented:
“These amazing films could not have been created without incredibly talented method actors going to extreme lengths to emotionally and physically connect with their characters. Christian Bale’s performance in The Machinist was frightening, shocking and moving.
“With over 70,000 DVD titles and Watch Online the Most Extreme Roles can be seen anywhere, anytime.”