Actors are known to go to extreme lengths to get prepared for an upcoming role in a film. Heath Ledger only slept two hours a night to put himself in the deranged mindset of The Joker in Batman: The Dark Knight.
More recently, Shia LaBeouf pulled out a tooth and refused to shower for weeks at a time in order to more genuinely portray a combat soldier in 2014’s Fury.
While we can certainly appreciate the art/insanity that is method acting, we’re much more impressed by the Hollywood A-listers who have completely reinvented their bodies in order to look hulked out on the big screen – take a look at these twelve actors who went full-on beast mode!
- Gerard Butler
Gerard Butler in 300 is the reason why 99% of guys started lifting in high school. The 46-year-old actor embarked on a legendary muscle-building mission in the months leading up to filming, using marathon training sessions and ridiculous techniques to go from dad bod to Greek god in no time.
- Christian Bale
Christian Bale might not be the biggest guy on this list, but the way the 42-year-old has manipulated his body over the years is nothing short of amazing. He looks downright massive in Reign of Fire, anorexic in The Machinist, and jacked yet again in Batman Begins. He hasn’t been cast as an emaciated prisoner all that recently, so it’s safe to assume that the muscle-bound superstar is continuing to cultivate the mass that has made him one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars.
- Chris Pratt
Chris Pratt’s star is shining bright. The 36-year-old went from living in a van in Hawaii to starring in Jurassic World in a few short years– and he transitioned from chubby to chiseled along the way. Pratt first gained fame as chubby Andy Dwyer on Parks and Recreation, but really burst onto the acting scene when he was cast as the jacked up lead role in Guardians of the Galaxy. He looked the part and continues to stay fit, hitting the gym regularly and keeping his weight at a beastly 230ish pounds.
- Jason Statham
At 48 years of age, Jason Statham is an accomplished actor, martial arts practitioner, and a former member of Britain’s National Diving Squad. He is also extremely swoll, which probably explains why his movie roles frequently feature him beating up on lesser mortals. Statham was never in bad shape, but he took his physique to the next level by weight training relentlessly and adhering to a strict diet, helping him to land leading roles in blockbusters like The Transporter, The Italian Job, and The Expendables.
- Hugh Jackman
Known for his iconic portrayal of Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, the 47-year-old Aussie has maintained a phenomenal physique throughout his acting career. Jackman is a freak in the weight room with a reported 315+ lb. bench, and still manages to maintain some of the best abs on the planet. Some guys really do have it all.
- Daniel Craig
48-year-old Daniel Craig brought something new to the table when he became the latest actor to play James Bond in the 007 franchise: a whole lot of muscle. Craig dropped jaws when he premiered his chiseled body in 2006’s Casino Royale, and has maintained his impeccable abs all the way through the most recent Bond film, 2015’s Spectre. He follows a strict training regimen, lifting five days a week minimum in order to stay buffed up well into middle age.
- Bradley Cooper
At one point in time, the 41-year-old Cooper was best known for annihilating Vince Vaughn in a pickup football game in the movie Wedding Crashers. Nowadays, he’s a respected action star with a hulking body. Cooper went from blah to beast in order to portray Chris Kyle in the blockbuster hit American Sniper, packing 40 pounds onto his frame by eating in excess of 8,000 calories a day and working out like a demon.
- Chris Hemsworth
32-year-old Chris Hemsworth has one of the most impressive transformations on this list. The Australian-born actor was cast as the lead in 2011’s Thor, and trained with ferocity to sculpt a physique that would look at home on a bodybuilding stage. Having established himself as a macho man with his portrayal of the legendary hammer-wielder, we expect to see Hemsworth continue to grace the big screen with his monstrous body.
- Jake Gyllenhaal
35-year-old Jake Gyllenhaal has established himself as a talented actor over the years, but it was only recently that he transformed himself into a muscular behemoth to star in 2015’s Southpaw. Gyllenhaal was cast to play professional boxer Billy Hope, and he worked tirelessly to make sure he looked the part. He worked out for six hours a day at one point, boxing for three hours before hitting the weights for three more, sculpting his abs and creating rippling biceps in the process.
- Michael B. Jordan
It’s tough being named Michael Jordan and not being that Michael Jordan, but the 29-year-old from Santa Ana can take comfort in the fact that he’s more shredded than His Airness could ever dream of being. After appearing in numerous movies and TV shows, Jordan scored the lead role in the latest installation in the Rocky series, 2015’s Creed. Like Gyllenhaal, MBJ trained like a freak and reaped the benefits, bringing a monster physique into the ring and onto the big screen.
- Ryan Reynolds
Once the lovable Van Wilder, 39-year-old Ryan Reynolds has made the transition from goofy big screen collegiate to massive (figuratively and literally) superstar with ease. His shredded core has helped him score gorgeous women like Scarlett Johansson and Blake Lively, and million dollar paydays in films like Green Lantern and Deadpool .
- Dave Chappelle
Though not as big of a name as some of the others on this list, you have to respect Dave Chappelle’s physical transformation. The Comedy Central star best known for his impersonations of Prince and Lil John has taken his time away from the limelight to hit the gym relentlessly as this recent photograph shows – we definitely don’t remember Tyrone Biggums for having those kind of pipes.