By Madison Crawford

We know that a lot of movie magic is made these days through computer generated images and in editing bays. And in this day of big-budget super hero blockbusters, it’s all the more amazing when you look at the complete transformations the following actors made in order to bring their unforgettable characters to life. This type of complete commitment to their craft is rare and deserves all the accolades we can give.

ANGELA BASSETT in WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT – It’s been over 20 years since Angela Bassett portrayed iconic singer Tina Turner and we’re still scratching our heads about how she got so insanely ripped for that role. What’s even more insane? She still looks utterly amazing!

CHARLIZE THERON in MONSTER – The South African beauty transformed into a total beast for her Oscar-winning performance of real-life female serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 drama Monster.

CHRISTIAN BALE in THE FIGHTER – After watching this film for 2 minutes I knew Christian Bale would win an Oscar for his performance. From his emaciated appearance to his spot-on Massachusetts accent, the British thespian deftly and completely transports audience members into his dark drug-infested world.

DENZEL WASHINGTON in MALCOLM X – Proving that a transformation doesn’t always require tons of makeup, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who, donning red hair and glasses, didn’t completely believe Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington was completely transformed into the slain Muslim leader in Spike Lee’s 1992 biopic Malcolm X.

ELIZABETH TAYLOR in WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF – when a woman loses her looks in Hollywood, it’s usually a bad thing. So imagine it’s 1966 and you’re considered to be one of the most beautiful women in the world? Not only did she pack 30 pounds onto her petite frame, but the sensual, demure future “Dame Elizabeth” adopted an unsightly, obnoxious persona for her turn as “Martha” in the film. It proved to be a winning move, as Taylor went on to win her second Academy Award for her performance.

JOHN LEGUIZAMO in TO WONG FOO, THANKS FOR EVERYTHING JULIE NEWMAR- Normally it takes more than a man putting on a dress to move me, and that’s definitely the case here, as well. John Leguizamo’s performance as drag queen “Miss Chi Chi” was one of the most amazing and authentic I‘ve ever seen either on screen or in person!

ROBERT DE NIRO in RAGING BULL – The man often called the “greatest actor of our time” formerly held the World Record for Most Weight Gained for a Movie when he  gained over 60 pounds for his role as troubled boxer Jake LaMotta in Martin Scorcese’s 1980 film Raging Bull.

RUSSELL CROWE in THE INSIDER – The strong and sexy Russell Crowe we’ve come to know and love in movies like Gladiator and Proof of Life is nowhere to be found in Michael Mann’s 1999 film. However, Crowe is no less heroic in this role as he portrays a courageous whistleblower in the tobacco industry.

SEAN PENN in CARLITO’S WAY – It’s hard to believe that this two-time Best Actor Oscar winner was once known as the “most underrated actor in Hollywood.” But after he became nearly unrecognizable as a shyster lawyer in this classic street flick, doubters of his talent were instantly converted into true believers.

HONORABLE MENTION – TOM CRUISE in BORN ON THE 4TH OF JULY – Prior to taking on the role of disabled Vietnam vet Ron Kovic in this Oliver Stone biopic, Tom Cruise was known for starring in pretty boy fluff flicks like Top Gun and Cocktail. Had he not pulled off this painful and compelling performance, it could have been career suicide. But, fortunately for us and him, he did, and went on to become one of the biggest stars in the universe.

HONORABLE, HONORABLE MENTION – GERARD BUTLER in 300 – Um, ladies, have you seen this movie? If you have, then you know why Mr. Butler made this list. If not, you owe it to yourself to at least try and sit through the blood and gore. Trust me, one peak at Mr. Butler’s chiseled abs and chest will be more than worth it!

Did we miss a Hollywood transformation that you think was totally amazing? If so, head over to Facebook and let us know.  We’d love to hear from you!

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