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An Unrecognizable Renée Zellweger in ‘The Thing About Pam’ and 28 Other Actor Transformations

Lily James, Jessica Chastain, and Jared Leto have all recently undergone dramatic transformations for roles.


“The Thing About Pam”

Skip Bolen / NBC

The thing about Renée Zellweger is that she can really transform into another person.

The “Bridget Jones’ Diary” star is taking on an alleged real-life murderer Pam Hupp for NBC’s “The Thing About Pam.” The true crime series centers on Midwestern suburban mom Pam, who is currently facing charges for multiple murders. Pam is currently in prison for a 2016 killing.

“It seems like she’s of generous character, that she’s thoughtful, and that she’s a good friend,” Zellweger told Vanity Fair of the role. “I guess that’s part of the deception, isn’t it? Because you might assume that that’s as far as it goes.”

Zellweger donned “head to toe” prosthetics and a padded suit to fully embody Pam. “It was the choice of clothing, it was the briskness in her step-step-step, her gait,” the Oscar winner said. “All of those things were really important because all those bits and pieces are what construct the person that we project our own conclusions and presumptions onto.”

And, it seems acting transformations are everywhere as of late.

Lily James nearly broke the internet when the first photos from Hulu’s upcoming limited series “Pam and Tommy” dropped and showed her unrecognizable transformation into Pamela Anderson (the “Baby Driver” and “Cinderella” actress looks more like Anderson than she does herself). Then Searchlight Pictures unveiled the trailer for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” which finds Jessica Chastain packing on prosthetics to play televangelist Tammy Faye Bakker. Last but not least, MGM had everyone talking with the trailer for “House of Gucci,” which showed off Jared Leto’s bonkers look as Paolo Gucci.

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 the most shocking transformations in the list below.

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