Is it real or magic? Barring all special effects and master editing, it has become the norm for celebrities to do whatever it takes to fit into the role in a movie. Losing and gaining weight is a true test of skill, an art form and a challenge many have attained. The artificial fat suits and make-up have given way to real results and magical movies. The mind and talent of today’s celebrities has grown beyond the old Hollywood tricks of the trade.
Changing oneself can require diligent discipline of diet and working out. Stars these days do as much work as costume and design when it comes to looking like the character. Squeezing into girdles or being bound with duct-tape is passé; the fat suit just does not make the cut. Noted fat suit wearers include Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal, Tim Allen in The Santa Claus, Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor and who could forget Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire? Many others such as Martin Short, Tyler Perry and Martin Lawrence have put the thingamajigup and padding have had many actors suffering for their craft. Use it or lose it is the name of the game.Leading the pack with both a wig and a fat suit was John Travolta in Hairspray.
The real thing to bestow the magic is the new Hollywood trick of the trade. As actors monitor the scale and prepare for the first day of shooting, their bodies and health pay the price. Earning the big bucks in Hollywood can be good, as many stars later encounter unforeseen factors in their up and down weights of glory.
Clothing and hair-styles are minimal and pale in comparison to extreme fluctuations in normal weight. The yo-yo dieting can be long term as Tom Hanks can attest. The well known actor was recently diagnosed with Type II Diabetes and attributes it to the possible effects of losing and gaining weight for major film roles. He lost a massive amount of weight for the part of an HIV positive lawyer in the movie Philadelphia Story and regained most or more of it for his role in Cast Away. Looking gaunt and sickly proved to be believable and regaining for later roles may have had lasting effects on Hanks’ health.
Christian Bale has surely gone the extra mile with his major weight loss of 65 pounds for The Machinist and his real or magic comb-over in the new movie American Hustle is quite believable and scary. Going from a size 4 to 14 meant packing on the pounds for Renee Zellweger in Bridget Jones, but she slimmed down in no time. Up and down on the scale is not the always the best way to measure success.
Matthew McConaughey should win major kudos for losing weight and stepping into the role of a diseased, drug dealing wanderer in The Dallas Buyer’s Club. Today’s Hollywood stars are rising above their ancestors in great style and form, true to the mystique of real and magic illusions. The consequences are still unfolding as aging stars recount their roles.
Political and news anchor icons are not immune. Many have transformed their bodies over the years with gastric-bypass surgery, eye surgery and more. Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor and presidential hopeful, and Al Roker, of the Today Show have both lost weight through gastric bypass surgery and have gained attention for their efforts. Julie Chen of The Talk recently admitted to having plastic surgery on her eyes to make her appear more western. The ones in front of us are changing in the real or magic realm of life.
Transfigurations of real or magic seem to help make the audience more accepting and keep on clapping. The tricks of the trade in Hollywood and beyond seem to lend a hand to the bottom line. The actors that we love may well be laughing to the bank, as their feats may one day be met with medical woes. The masters of disguise will continue to entertain and inform us. Their skill, real or magic, will remain more than meets the eye.
An Editorial by Roanne H. FitzGibbon