Actors often refer to their bodies and voices as "their instrument," and go to great lengths to completely transform themselves to more accurately portray a character. Sometimes that transformation involves heavy use of prosthetics, while other times, actors will completely rebuild their bodies to play a role. These extreme bodily transformations are continued subjects of debate, with actors like Brendan Fraser admitting that the extremes he went through to achieve his chiseled appearance in "George of the Jungle" legitimately messed with his brain chemistry, while Kumail Nanjiani was very candid about the way the public responded to his superhero transformation before Marvel's "Eternals."
There are so many intersections to consider when analyzing the ethics of an actor's physical overhaul, but if there's one thing to take solace in, it's that actors are being far more transparent about what their process is like than ever before. It is unrealistic for us average Joes to think that because the goofy star of a TV comedy got shredded into a superhero physique in record time that we can replicate those results because we don't have the same access to resources or time that they do.
"The Bear" and "Shameless" star Jeremy Allen White underwent a pretty intense transformation for his role as Kerry Von Erich in the upcoming A24 sports biopic, "The Iron Claw," and recently disclosed to The Hollywood Reporter how "gross" his diet made him feel while bulking up. The upcoming film follows the tragic life of the Von Erich wrestling family, all of whom are built like, forgive the expression, brick s***houses.
Unless you're also spending 24/7 in the wrestling ring, resembling one of the Von Erichs is no easy task.
'You Don't Feel Great'
Jeremy Allen White told THR that in order to beef up for "The Iron Claw," he was consuming calories non-stop. "Eating all the time — like, never stopping," he described. "In the morning, I would have waffles, almond butter. In the middle of the day, I was eating turkey patties and avocado all the time. It's really just gross." Overwhelming the body with protein can lead to feelings of exhaustion, and if you're not someone who has trained your body to handle such a high caloric intake, the adjustment can be brutal.
"You're trying to consume as much as you possibly can, and, to be honest, you don't feel great," he said. "I was training as well, but, I don't know, trying to get that big, it's no way to live." That last statement is so important because, for White, this is all temporary. Professional wrestlers completely retrain their bodies to live this way, and it's unsustainable for anyone else not in the field. Zac Efron is also starring in "The Iron Claw" as Kevin Von Erich, the sole surviving member of the family. According to White, Efron completely threw himself into the transformation.
"Zac's a maniac," White said. "He's so focused and knowledgeable on training, diet, all that. In terms of a physical transformation, I think he kind of blew us all out of the water. He looks really amazing in this thing." Here's hoping Efron's physical transformation was done safely.
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