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Attractive Celebs Who Became Really Ugly For A Role

Julia Roberts - Secret In Their Eyes

The psychological thriller, Secret in Their Eyes, stars a very different Julia Roberts, a woman who is homely and looks to be on the verge of a breakdown.  Roberts plays Jess, an FBI agent whose daughter was taken advantage of and had her life taken from her, and who wants nothing more than to find the person who did it.

This obviously takes a physical toll on Jess, which is why Roberts looks unkempt. She dresses down and is given a complete makeover so that she could look like Jess. Roberts' only makeup is a pasty white foundation so that she could look pale, lifeless. As Roberts has said, "In this instance [the color]  was to show she was empty." For her hair, she was given horrible bangs that look as if she herself cut them. With her lips dry for the movie, the Oscar winner said about being unmade up that it's "freeing" you don't have to worry too much about hair, makeup and wardrobe.

Gwyneth Paltrow - Shallow Hal

In Shallow Hal, Gwyneth Paltrow showed off her versatility with comedic timing and being the end of a joke. Paltrow plays a 300-pound philanthropist named Rosemary who works in the Peace Corps. She becomes the object of affection by "shallow" Hal, played by Jack Black, a character who only dates beautiful women. Rosemary's inner beauty is revealed to the audience, which is why Hal likes her. Unlike other actors who gained weight for their roles--think Bridget Jones--Paltrow instead wore a specially made fat suit and fat makeup. Each day of shooting took three hours of "fat" foundations and applications.

This is a Farrelly movie, so of course there are jokes about being overweight, but this time the film has a message, which is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But when you are that fat, can people actually move beyond the weight and get to know you? When Paltrow wore the suit outside, she said strangers would avoid her, telling W:

"The first day I tried [the fat suit] on, I was in the Tribeca Grand and I walked through the lobby. It was so sad; it was so disturbing. No one would make eye contact with me because I was obese."

America Ferrera - Ugly Betty

America Ferraro was anointed as Hollywood’s hottest new star thanks to playing ugly duckling Ugly Betty. During the show’s first season, the actress won a Golden Globe and Emmy for her work on the show. As the show's title says, Ferraro's Betty, a natural beauty in real life, plays her role ugly. The joke is that Betty Suarez works at a fashion magazine where everyone is beautiful and dressed to the nines. But she's oblivious to the fact that she can't see how ugly her outlandish wardrobes are.  And that Guadalajara poncho that she wears! God help her.

To get ugly, each day before shooting, makeup artists dress Suarez down. These include ugly glasses, massive braces, bushy eyebrows, and a wig with blunt bangs. As the hair department told USA Today, “What we do is ‘Bettify’ her in the morning. It's in contrast to the rest of the show, where everybody else is glammed up.”

Angelina Jolie - Girl, Interrupted

Angelina Jolie is a natural beauty, an A-list star and a humanitarian. But for her role in Girl, Interrupted, adapted from the book with the same name, she played a loose-cannonball patient at an institution.

The role was hard to play, as Jolie had to act manipulative, rebellious and charismatic all at the same time. Jolie, starring as Lisa, had to look sickly and thin, devoid of any glamour, and completely unstable.

Jolie is a lifer, someone who has been at the institution for many years, and while her role was that of a supporting actress in the film, she stole the show with her physical transformation as a woman who's unhinged. Naturally, Jolie caught the Academy Awards' attention, and she ultimately won an Oscar for best supporting actress. Girl, Interrupted was Jolie's breakout film, and she later became a star who could open a movie because of Laura Croft, Wanted and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

In the 1999 film Never Been Kissed, Drew Barrymore went ugly. Way ugly. She portrayed Josie Geller, a nerdy superstar copy editor for the Chicago Sun-Times. Geller was 25, but she went undercover to find the next big story in a high school, which just happened to be her alma mater. But she hated her years in school and was called “Josie Grossie” because she acted spastic, didn't quite know how to dress, and had braces.

But Josie chooses to revert back to the way she looked when she was in high school--braces, ugly, messy hair and clothes that just make her look as if she stepped out of the 80s--to make her blend in and also look ten years younger. Just like America Ferrera in Ugly Betty, Barrymore wasn't freaked out by looking ugly. And that's because of the Hollywood trope that's essential in comedies, that the ugly duckling had to be transformed into a beauty by the end of the film. Think Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries and in The Devil Wears Prada.

Renée Zellweger - Bridget Jones's Diary

Renee Zellweger didn't even blink when she got the role to play Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones's Diary and was told she had to pack on weight. Rather than being alarmed, Zellweger was up for being able to eat whatever she wanted, ditching the stationary bike for a big juicy hamburger. All of this is because of the filmmakers, but also because of the fans who wanted authenticity. The movie is a faithful adaptation of the book, Bridget Jones's Diary, which was much beloved by many women who made the literary novel a bestseller. Fans would look for the right details in the translation from book to screen.

Jones has to be seen struggling with her weight, has to be accident-prone, and has to make us laugh, as the character is light-hearted.  

Well, the movie was such a hit that a sequel followed, Bridget Jones's Diary: The Edge of Reason. According to People, Zellweger went from a size four to 14 eating 4,000 calories a day to bring Jones back for the 2004 movie. In this sequel, where she still looks frumpy and where her hair is always disheveled, Zellweger brought a lovable character to life. The second film was another success that a third Bridget Jones movie, Bridget Jones's Baby was released in 2016. This time, Zellweger didn't have to gain weight.

Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club

Matthew McConaughey can seem to do it all. He can go from a role where he flaunts himself in Magic Mike, to playing  a deteriorating Texan electrician named Woodroof who rode the rodeo and was diagnosed with HIV in 1985. That man was given 30 days to live but instead stayed alive for the next seven years, passing in 1992. McConaughey played Woodroof, who was no saint, and to be believable as the man who was spiralling downwards each year, McConaughey lost 37 pounds. His thin kinetic body made him look unrecognizable from the hunky man we knew. To lose the weight, he used a nutritionist and gave himself 4 months to shed pounds.

Jared Leto was also in Dallas and he too had to lose weight, so there was much camaraderie during shooting. As McConaughey said, "Losing (weight) takes a will power that’s kind of scary but that you’re glad to learn you’ve actually got. It’s not a fun process. Then you sort of go back to your normal eating pattern. Gaining the weight has to be more fun, up to a point — you get to pig out and eat all the forbidden things.”

Mariah Carey - Precious

In Precious, based on the book by Sapphire, Mariah Carey has a small role playing a dowdy welfare caseworker, a job that is dour and sad because she alone can determine if a mother is fit as a parent. We know Carey as a self-described diva, as well as a chart-topping hit maker whose each released song goes straight to #1. It's thus surprising to find Carey in a movie about the emotionally abused teen, Precious, who believes there is more to life than the inner-city world in which she was raised.

To play Ms. Weiss, who is trying to help the troubled teenager in 1980s Harlem, Carey had to chuck all her glamour out the window to convincingly portrait her character. Carey wore absolutely no makeup, sported lank hair, a sparse moustache across her upper lip, and terrible outfits. As Carey said to the Los Angeles Times, "I had to lose all vanity. I had to change my demeanour, my inside, layers of who I am, to become that woman."

Tom Cruise - Tropic Thunder

Tom Cruise is one of Hollywood's most valuable players, as well as their best asset because the actor has the ability to open a movie on his own in a big way, hitting the #1 spot for the week the film premiered. He always looks great in movies too--think the Mission Impossible movies where Cruise wears tight-fitting black T-shirts--but for Tropic Thunder, the 2008 comedy, Cruise went full-on crazy.

He starred as Len Grossman, a foul-mouthed and crude Hollywood executive, and for this role, he appeared bald and fat thanks to prosthetics.

Can you imagine if he didn't? It's freaking hard to lose weight! The role is a highlight in Cruise's career, as he's never played a lewd and sleazy character who's completely over the top. He's usually the leading man, and never plays second fiddle. And just think! Cruise's part, which is really an extended cameo, stole the movie from the other actors.

Ryan Gosling - Blue Valentine

Ryan Gosling is an A-list hottie who looks like a bonafide leading man in the mainstream movie La La Land, but he's also done a lot of indie films like Lars and the Real Girl and Half Nelson. Thus, Hollywood thinks the world of him because he's an actor who can go from doing an indie to going mainstream. He can change his body for each film, like going from 150 pounds to 210 for the role in The Lovely Bones.

In Blue Valentine, which is a story about the deterioration of a marriage, Gosling nailed the right look. Gosling's face and body changed to play the part. Since the role happens during different times, Gosling had to keep eating so that, in the movie, his paunch could get bigger and bigger each year. It's the same way for his hair, which is thick at the beginning and entirely thinning by the end of the movie.  Gosling's radical transformation--the bulking and the balding--was praised by critics but the actor failed to nab an Oscar.

Cameron Diaz - Being John Malkovich

In 1999, Cameron Diaz starred in the now cult-classic Being John Malkovich. She played an animal lover, which isn't unlike her other more mature movies in recent years, but we are more used to seeing her in a comedic role. For the part in Being John Malkovich, Diaz transformed herself by putting on brown contact lenses, wearing no makeup and putting on a big frizzy brunette wig. As a result, she looked like a  nerdy librarian.

The most interesting part of Diaz's transformation was that she and the director didn't find the character until after Diaz was chosen for the role. Spike Jonze and Diaz finally fleshed out the character by making her entirely unrecognizable, someone you would not look twice at. As Diaz told Cranky Critic, "There were no descriptions [in the script] and we didn't 'find' Lottie [Diaz's character] until after I had already gotten the part". She later said, "People's looks definitely have something to do with the way that they treat you."

Charlize Theron - Monster

Charlize Theron is perhaps the most glamorous and beautiful actress in all of Hollywood. When she landed the role of Aileen Wuornos in Monster, she knew she had to change her looks. Wuornos was a middle-aged lady of the night who was also going around and taking people's lives. She looked as if she smoked a pack a day, was overweight and had wrinkles and heavy lines on her face that was perhaps due to a bad diet. For Theron to transform into Wuornos, she gained thirty pounds and hid her gorgeous looks with tons of makeup and prosthetics and a fat suit.

This role, hands-down, is that of an actress at the peak of her career who was asked to transform herself in a disturbing way, so much so that she became unrecognizable. Of course, the Academy Awards took note of that and, once again, because of her transformation,  she won an Oscar for Best Actress. Theron told Stumped the following about playing the woman: "I don’t know how I could have played that part with this body. I knew I had to transform my body to get myself into her physical skin — the way she moved in her body. And so, I think, for me as an actor, I really love that aspect.  I’ve tried very hard in my career to change and transform. But, I’ve never done anything like this."

Matt Damon - The Informant

If you've ever seen Steven Sodebergh's dark comedy The Informant!, you may wonder why Matt Damon is pudgy. What happened to that sleek muscle he had in every Bourne movie in which he starred? Relax, Damon still has it; he packed on the pounds to star as Mark Whitacre, a corporate vice president who becomes a government informant.

For the role, Damon had to wear a nose appendage, cheek plumpers and a comb-over. Oh, and about that weight gain? He gained 30 pounds by eating the worst food in the world: fast food.

The goal was for Damon  to look kind of ugly and very doughy, like the Pillsbury Dough Boy, since corporate culture whistle blowers aren't known for hitting the gym five days a week and eating a nutritious diet. As for Damon binge-eating junk food, he told Access Hollywood, "I just basically ate everything I could see for a few months. It was probably the funnest time I had working, because I didn't have to go to the gym after work and I just ate everything I could see."

Jared Leto - Chapter 27 And Dallas Buyers Club

In Chapter 27, Jared Leto played John Lennon's assassin, and spent many months putting on weight to acuretly portray Mark David Chapman.  While the film was panned, many in Hollywood took notice of how Leto could transform his body to fit a role. They also took notice when Leto was required to lose a lot of pounds for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. He played a sick tr*ns woman, and was nearly unrecognizable because of his weight loss.

While we're not trying to diminish his transforming performance in Dallas Buyers Club, we do have to note once again that Hollywood does love it when you get all ugly, which is why he earned an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Supporting Actor. Leto, a method actor, is considered to be very selective in the roles he plays, and the more he metamorphoses, altering his body even if it affects his health.

Toni Collette - Muriel's Wedding

Toni Collette is famous for playing a suburban housewife who is trying to live a life with dissociative identity disorder. But it was her scene-stealing role in Muriel's Wedding that Collette showed her dedication to the craft of acting.

She was only 20 when she packed on 40 pounds over a period of seven weeks in order to play the lead.

When she was cast for the film, she had to convince the directors that she was not too thin to play the role, and that she could gain the pounds that they needed.  The multi-talented actress proved she could fit into any part, even if that meant her losing or gaining weight. In fact, Collette had to do the same again in the movie In Her Shoes way back in 2004. But here's the hard part. She was required to lose the weight she put on during the middle of filming. We'd be annoyed, having to do both, but her physical transformation was integral for the film, as she was becoming more independent and focused on her well-being. Losing the weight showed the passage of time as Rose, Collette's character, begins her self-discovery.

Emma Thompson - Nanny McPhee

Emma Thompson is one of Britain's most acclaimed actresses. She is known for her matronly and poised characters, often in period pieces or literary adaptations. She always looks as if she has stepped out of a Merchant-Ivory film. She did once, in fact, for Howard's End and that led her to win an Academy Award for Best Actress. She won another for her role in another period piece, the Remains of the Day, based on the book of the same name.
These days, Thompson has the ability to pick any role she wants, which is perhaps why she chose to go playful as Nanny McPhee in the original and in the sequel, a lighthearted and comic fantasy for children.

Thompson, who's also a screenwriter, scripted the film, which is adapted from Christianna Brand's Nurse Matilda books.

To play the character, Thompson drastically changed her look, going from stately to ugly thanks to prosthetics. The make-up artist team made her brows bushy and unruly and gave her false teeth. They had to attach enlarged prosthetic ears and nose with a heavy layer of face paint every day before shooting, and the finishing touch was giving Thompson some warts and frizzy grey hair.

Nicole Kidman - The Hours

The Hours is a haunting literary novel and homage to Virginia Woolf. The book centers on three women who live in different times and areas and who don't know each other. In the movie version, Australian Nicole Kidman played Woolf and looked unrecognizable by slimming down so that her face was elongated and, of course, putting on a heavy prosthetic nose on her face to match Woolf's features. 

In the process, the beautiful Kidman became ugly, and you know what that means. Hollywood adores actors who undergo a physical transformation, and the more different they become, the more altered they look, the more they have a chance at winning an Oscar. But you have to be handsome or pretty first to really show off your transformation. Kidman fits the bill. She is ethereal and ravishing, and played ugly and then won an Academy Award for Best Actress in 2002. We smell a pattern.

Jennifer Aniston - Cake

Jennifer Aniston is still America's Sweetheart, and is famous for her comedies where she looks like, well, Jennifer Aniston: toned and beautiful. But for her role in Cake, she had to stop being part of Friends and instead had to look gritty, the face of a woman who has given up on life. Aniston plays Claire, a woman who has some substance issues, which she uses to stymie her chronic pain, as well as some deep emotional wounds.

To fit the part, Aniston turned ugly, wearing caked-up foundation, and thanks to make-up artists, sports many puffy scars around her chin, cheek, and forehead. 

Aniston prepared for the role by spending time with people who suffer from chronic pain or are experts about this issue. She also learned how to walk for someone who's in pain and said,  "The physicality was the hardest thing for me." This led her to wear a brace every day so she could never slouch.

Brad Pitt - 12 Monkeys

A-list leading man Brad Pitt has always been unpredictable in choosing his roles, and the movie 12 Monkeys, which premiered in 1995 and was directed by Terry Gilliam, is one of them. For Pitt to play Jeffrey Goines, a mental patient, he went nuts, becoming a wonky, cross-eyed, spastic institutionalized animal activist who's filled with a boundless energy as if he had just taken a mouthful of Adderall.

He perfected someone who was mentally unstable with his clown grin and his laughing all the time in a scary way, and then took it to another level by making his left eye dance, which we guess he knew he could do. Pitt used to smoke back then, but for the role, the director Gilliam made him stop so that his character could become a manic, frenetic lunatic. Gilliam wasn't Pitt's first choice because of his good looks, so Pitt became a patient in a psych ward at Temple University, which is why his acting seems so authentic.

Christian Bale - The Machinist

Christian Bale is the ultimate chameleon. He's been able to alter his body for a role, and can go fat without a fat suit, and sickly thin that exposes his ribs. And then he can return to his normal weight and become as muscular and toned as he was in the movie American Pyscho, where he showed off his cut body. For the Machinist, Bale lost so much weight that he became unrecognizable, as well as ugly.

His actual weight was around 173 pounds, and he slimmed down to 100 pounds to make the movie.

The truth was, Bale wanted to lose more, dropping below the 100 pounds. But the producers of The Machinist were worried about his health, and insisted that he could not go below 120. His weight loss--63 pounds--set the record for actors who morph down to a lower weight class. He's so good at manipulating his body that he regained his original weight and packed in muscle for his 2005 turn in Batman Begins. And then, in 2013 for American Hustle, Bale had to gain a lot of weight to look like a middle-aged puff ball who was balding, the perfect look for a con man. To prepare for this role, Bale told People:"I ate lots of doughnuts, a whole lot of cheeseburgers and whatever I could get my hands on. I literally ate anything that came my way. I was about 185 and went up to 228. I'm still working it off."

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