Charlize Theron is no stranger to completely sacrificing her body and appearance for a role. When the use of makeup and prosthetics transformed her into serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the 2003 film Monster, she won an Oscar. When she trained to become a lean, mean, (faux) killing machine for the 2017 hit thriller Atomic Blonde, she sustained tons of cuts, bruises and even lost a tooth. Theron throws herself into just about every role she tackles, which makes her transformation for her upcoming dramedy, Tully, just as jaw-dropping as her previous ones — and potentially even more nightmarish.
While speaking with Entertainment Tonight about the film, Theron opened up about gaining weight to do justice to her character, Marlo, a mom of three who is dealing with the exhausting balancing act of parenting a newborn and two elementary school-age kids. “I gained close to 50 pounds for this film,” Theron explained. “I just I wanted to feel what this woman felt, and I think that was a way for me to get closer to her and get into that mindset.”
That level of weight gain, even for a film role, had a serious emotional impact on Theron. “You know, it was a huge surprise to me. I got hit in the face pretty hard with depression. Yeah, for the first time in my life I was eating so much processed foods and I drank way too much sugar. I was not that fun to be around on this film.”
— Skinny vs Curvy (@skinnyvscurvy) October 28, 2016
Photos of Theron’s weight gain emerged in 2016 while filming Tully. While the plot details were kept under wraps at the time, Theron’s commitment to the role was evident even back then, when outlets like People magazine were reporting she’d only gained about 35 pounds.
Putting the weight on was a true test of Theron’s mettle as well. She detailed the highs and lows: “The first three weeks are always fun because you’re just like a kid in a candy store,” she recalled. “So it was fun to go and have breakfast at In-N-Out and have two milkshakes. And then after three weeks, it’s not fun anymore. Like, all of a sudden you’re just done eating that amount and then it becomes a job. I remember having to set my alarm in the middle of the night in order to just maintain [the weight].”
You can see the effects of all those late-night binge sessions best in the official trailer for Tully. On top of the added pounds, you can also feel the stress of Theron’s Marlo coming through the screen; this is a transformation on all levels.
Shedding the weight was yet another hurdle for Theron. Unlike other transformations, which could be easily removed with a little makeup remover or some stitches or even the benefits of a high metabolism because she was younger, the Tully weight wanted to stick around. But Theron is back to her healthy weight, promoting the heck out of yet another role that fans will surely appreciate her putting all this effort into.