On Charlize Theron’s 50 Pound Weight Gain For ‘Tully,’ And Why Celebrity Weight Gain For Roles Is A Big Risk

Experts and others weigh in on why celebrities such as Charlize Theron are taking huge heath risks by gaining and losing weight for roles -- health risks they might not recover so easily from.

Charlize Theron, August 2017
Christian Petersen / Getty Images

Experts and others weigh in on why celebrities such as Charlize Theron are taking huge heath risks by gaining and losing weight for roles -- health risks they might not recover so easily from.

Oscar-winning actress Charlize Theron recently completed an extreme physical transformation for her latest film, Tully, due out May 4. For the film, Theron gained 50 pounds for the role of a mom-of-three that suffers from post-partum depression.

Looking back at some of her other films, she’s gained and lost 130 pounds just for Monster and Tully. However, the weight gain and subsequent weight loss may be gaining more than acclaim, and she might, in fact, be doing serious damage to her health. Even worse, this damage may be irreversible, according to some.

Other actors are known for taking on roles that require their weight to totter back and forth. Tom Hanks has long been famous for this practice, packing on 30 pounds for his role in the 1992 movie A League of Their Own, and later dropping from 225 pounds to 170 pounds for the 2000 survival movie, Castaway. The serious fluctuations in weight started some tongues wagging, beginning with CBS News, which reported that the dramatic weight loss and gain that Hanks went through predisposed him to high blood sugar numbers.

Dr. Holly Phillips, a medical contributor for CBS, indicated there could be problems for Hanks and others.

“He’ll have to watch what he eats very closely, he’ll need to exercise regularly but there’s no reason he can’t live a perfectly normal life,” she said. “In dramatic weight gain and dramatic weight loss, the equilibrium of the body is just completely off. So that might predispose him to developing type 2 diabetes later.”

Charlize Theron spoke candidly to Entertainment Tonight about the difficult process of gaining, and then losing the 50 pounds for Tully. She suspects that part of the reason it was so much harder this time around is that she’s over the age of 40. Per NBC News, her age was definitely a contributing factor. That’s because metabolism naturally slows down by each woman’s 40th birthday. As a result, it took her 18 months to shed the extra weight.

Homer Simpson famously showed the world how to gain weight quickly in a seventh season episode of The Simpsons, entitled “King-Size Homer.” It turns out that Homer’s method was pretty much spot-on for Charlize Theron. She enjoyed multiple milkshakes and other indulgences at first, but the allure soon wore off.

“After three weeks, it’s not fun anymore… it becomes a job. I remember having to set an alarm in the middle of the night to maintain [the weight gain]. I would literally wake up at two in the morning and I’d have a cold cup of macaroni and cheese… I would just, like, shove it in my throat.”

This risky behavior could catch up with Theron in the form of heart disease or type 2 diabetes, both of which are associated with rapid weight gain. Hopefully, repeatedly bulking up and slimming down for her art doesn’t harm Charlize Theron, or any other actors, in the long run.