Good Will Hunting actor Matt Damon has been spotted sporting some packed-on pounds while filming the movie The Informant. His character is, I guess, supposed to be just a "regular guy," meaning his abs aren't toned and washboarded and he maybe eats a cheeseburger every now and then. As actresses tend to ugly up their faces and put on prosthetic noses and teeth to get serious acting cred, it seems that actors often have to let themselves go in the waistline. I'm sure that says something about standards of beauty for men vs. women, but that's a whole exhausting topic that ends with yelling and a lot of Betty Friedan quotes. So instead we'll take a look, after the jump, at seven other guys who bulked-up for movie roles, with some mixed results.
Russell Crowe for The Insider
Also playing some sort of regular schlub whistle-blower, Crowe went up to 220lbs to look more convincingly close to his real-life character's age. Crowe was praised to the high heavens for his "brave transformation" and an Oscar nomination followed.
Ryan Gosling for The Lovely Bones
The talented young actor perhaps wanted to a look a bit older for his role as an angelic young murdered girl's father. So he bulked up a couple pants sizes and then... well, then he left the movie over creative differences. Oops! At least he got to eat doughnuts or whatever for a while.
Jared Leto in Chapter 27
The My So-Called Life actor gained a staggering 60 pounds to play John Lennon assassin Mark David Chapman, developing gout (the disease of kings of old!) during the process. Sadly, the film was not well received and fizzled quickly. At least he has a great gout story now. It beats my rickets tale to all hell.
George Clooney in Syriana
Our modern-day Frank Sinatra gained 30 pounds to play a disillusioned CIA operative in Stephen Gaghan's Traffic-like portrait of the oil trade. Clooney won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for the performance, many critics citing the way he completely "disappeared into the role."
Sylvester Stallone in Copland
Rocky Balboa gained about 40lbs to play a sad-sack New Jersey policeman in this quiet thriller that was meant to revive his acting career. While Stallone and the movie were both quite good, they went mostly unnoticed and disappeared into film history. Stallone since bulked back up and recently played a 60-year-old John Rambo.
Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
To play the aged Jake LaMotta, the famously intense actor gained a whopping sixty pounds. Obviously the movie was met with resounding critical laudits and set De Niro on the course for super stardom, his intense Method-y persona intact.
Vincent D'Onofrio in Full Metal Jacket and The Salton Sea
The intense and weird Law & Order: Criminal Intent gained a mind-boggling 80 pounds to play an overweight private in Stanley Kubrick's Vietnam nightmare Full Metal Jacket, then, years later, fattened himself up to play a gross drug dealer in the recent depress-o-fest Salton Sea. D'Onofrio got a big break with Metal Jacket and now works steadily, weight gain or not.
[Damon image via Splash]