Brad Pitt in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood: To play Hollywood stuntman Cliff Booth, Pitt had to train for a number of fight scenes, including a head-to-head one with Mike Moh’s Bruce Lee character. The training was done without the use of stunt doubles, so Pitt worked with Hollywood stunt supervisor Zoë Bell and fight coordinator Rob Alonzo. Pitt used a dynamic warmup called “yoga for combat” and also trained in Filipino martial arts, boxing, and traditional mitt work. Read more about his training here:
Joaquin Phoenix in Joker: To get into character to play Arthur Fleck/Joker, Phoenix went deep, losing weight and studying about mental illness for his character. “[I lost a] little bit of weight,” Phoenix said while talking about his prep with Jimmy Kimmel. “It’s difficult at times, but there’s something empowering about it as well. Having that level of control over yourself, in the beginning you’re exhausted, but once you reach your target weight, you’re energized and excited.” Phoenix also worked with a choreographer for multiple dancing sequences in the film.
Christian Bale in Ford v. Ferrari: While Bale himself wasn’t nominated for his role, the film is nominated for Best Picture, along with three other technical awards. Bale, who is no stranger to transforming for a role, took his preparation very seriously to play driver Ken Miles. Along with actually getting in the car to drive, Bale also did a major weight change, as he was coming off of Vice where he gained 40 pounds to play former Vice President Dick Cheney. For Ford, Bale went the other way and lost 70 pounds for the role.
“I had to get in the car,” Bale told Variety at the Ford v Ferrari premiere. “I could not bloody – these things are not made for comfort, these cars. They’re tight. So, I couldn’t bloody get in them. That would have been a whole different film. These cars are not made for large men.”
As Matt Damon told Men’s Journal last year: “[Christian] was coming off Vice, and from the time we decided to do the movie to the time we started shooting, he dropped 70 pounds,” Damon said. “The first day on the set, I asked him: ‘How did you do that?’ I’ve lost weight and gained weight for parts, and there are lots of theories on how to do it. And he just looked at me and said: ‘I didn’t eat.’ That guy is cut from a different cloth. He has a monk-like discipline that’s just really impressive to see.”
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