When Hulu debuted the first photos of Lily James as Pamela Anderson in the streamer’s upcoming limited series “Pam and Tommy,” no one could believe their eyes. James, best known for roles in “Cinderella” and “Mamma Mia 2,” appeared completely transformed, so much so that she looked more like Anderson than herself. James’ “Pam and Tommy” look is the latest in a long tradition of actor transformations. Whether achieved through natural methods (weight loss, weight gain) and/or boosted by makeup and prosthetics, actor transformations have been shocking TV and film viewers for as long as the mediums have existed.
Some actors have made a career out of buzzy physical transformations, none more so than Christian Bale. Many times, physical transformations have led to Oscars, as it did for Bale (“The Fighter”), Charlize Theron (“Monster”), Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club”), and Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), among others. But a transformation is nothing without the performance underneath it, as many of the actors below will stress. Check out 20 of the most shocking transformations in the list below.