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10 Extreme Diets Celebrities Have Followed To Prepare For Movie Roles

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Natalie Portman, Matthew McConaughey, Beyoncé

It's normal for actors to go the extra mile when preparing to play a role in a film.

Usually, people think it's going to great lengths to memorize their lines, or researching information about their respective role or the plot of the movie they are starring in.

However, there are actors who choose to go the extra mile to make sure they are staying true to the character they are playing, which sometimes requires losing or gaining a ridiculous amount of weight.

Resorting to extreme diet restrictions and venturing into malnourishment is something that some actors can say they have done, especially at the risk of a role they are extremely passionate about.

Take a look at some of the most extreme diets celebs have followed to prepare for their movie roles (that you probably should never try).

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Joaquin Phoenix – 'Joker'

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extreme celeb diets Joaquin Phoenix

For Joaquin Phoenix's unforgettable role in the 2019 film 'Joker,' Phoenix apparently lost over 48 pounds.

He went on a diet of asparagus, lettuce, and apples.

In an interview, Phoenix opened up about the task of losing weight for the role, saying it "was a horrible diet."

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Anne Hathaway – 'Les Misérables'

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extreme celeb diets Anne Hathaway

To play the role of dying Fantine, Hathaway went on a starvation diet that caused her to lose 25 pounds.

Hathaway told Vogue that she first lost ten pounds to begin filming and then later lost an additional 15 pounds by eating nothing but two thin pieces of oatmeal paste a day.

“Looking back on the whole experience - and I don’t judge it in any way - it was definitely a little nuts,” said the actress.

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Chris Hemsworth – 'In the Heart of the Sea'

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extreme celeb diets Chris Hemsworth

For his 2015 film, 'In the Heart of the Sea,' Chris Hemsworth had to have to a leaner physique to play a shipwrecked man at sea.

For three or four weeks, Hemsworth had to drop 500-700 calories a day.

The actor had even shared a photo of himself on Twitter, captioning it, "Just tried a new diet/training program called "Lost At Sea". Wouldn't recommend it..."

Hemsworth apparently lost an additional 15 pounds after having to slim down for his role in 'Black Hat.'

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Natalie Portman – 'Black Swan'

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extreme celeb diets Natalie Portman

For her role as a dedicated ballerina, already-thin Natalie Portman reportedly lost 20 pounds.

Director Darren Aronofsky was so worried about how thin Portman was getting, he made sure her trailer was consistently stocked with food.

The actress shared that when the movie was eventually finished shooting, she went back to her normal way of eating. 

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Christian Bale – 'The Machinist'

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extreme celeb diets Christian Bale

For his role as a chronic insomniac in the film 'The Machinist,' Christian Bale reportedly lost 63 pounds, which is a third of his body weight.

Bale used vitamins, a sparse diet, and loss of exercise to drop the weight.

In an interview with People magazine in 2005 Bale spoke about his decision to lose weight for movie roles.

"I will adjust to what is needed,” he explained, “but only if I have quite an obsession for the role.”

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50 Cent – 'All Things Fall Apart'

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extreme celeb diets 50 Cent

For his 2012 film 'All Things Fall Apart' rapper 50 Cent dropped from 214 pounds to 160 pounds in just nine weeks.

He went on a liquid diet and started running on a treadmill three hours a day.

50 Cent revealed that when keeping the weight off started to get difficult, he did research on other actors who had lost weight for movie roles.

“I actually got on the computer,” he said. “When it started getting difficult, I was looking to see what their experience was like."

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Matthew McConaughey – 'Dallas Buyers Club'

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extreme celeb diets Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey had to lose over 47 pounds for his role as an AIDS patient in the film 'Dallas Buyers Club.'

McConaughey followed a rigorous workout routine that required him to burn 1,800 calories in a single day, and a crazy diet of only eating fish and a cup of vegetables.

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Lily James – 'Cinderella'

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extreme celeb diets Lily James

Actress Lily James reportedly opted to go on a cleanse to fit into a corset for her role as Cinderella.

Although, her choice wasn't exactly to lose weight, but rather to feel comfortable on set.

"When [the corset] was on, we would be on continuous days, so we wouldn't stop for lunch … you'd be sort of eating on the move. In that case, I couldn't untie the corset," the actress told E! News. 

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Beyoncé – 'Dreamgirls'

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extreme celeb diets Beyoncé

During a 14-day fast, Beyoncé apparently lost 20 pounds for her role in 'Dreamgirls.'

In an interview with Oprah, the singer revealed that she wanted to lose the weight and make a physical transformation.

"It was difficult because I love food. I love to eat. I did a fast — a master cleanser for 14 days," she said. "Everybody was eating Krispy Kremes around me. I was grouchy, but I did it and I lost the weight."

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Renée Zellweger – 'Bridget Jones' Diary'

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extreme celeb diets Renée Zellweger

Renée Zellweger apparently had to gain 20 pounds for her role as Bridget Jones in 2001, jumping to a size 14 from her usual size four.

After the film, Zellweger had lost the weight she had gained and even continued to lose weight after.

The public scrutiny of her weight gain made the actress feel violated.

"I realized the influence of living in a society that focuses so much on physicality has affected me," Zellweger told Vogue in 2013. 

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.