Stars’ Extreme Diet and Fitness Routines to Fit the Role

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how do actors prepare for roles

Jake Gyllenhaal’s ripped physique in Southpaw, Anne Hathaway’s slimmed down build in Les Miserables; stars have always taken their exercise and diet routines to extreme limits in order to play the part in films, but how do they do it?

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in “Black Swan”

Portman and Kunis have always had slender physiques, but in order to play cut-throat, obsessive ballerinas, the stars both had to drop 20 pounds. Kunis spent seven months training four hours per day, every day of the week, and drastically cutting back on calories, eating very small portions of a balanced diet. Portman, who was already a vegan, continued to eat many of the same foods, although in smaller portions. For nearly a year she trained with a former professional ballerina, spending up to eight hours, six days per week, doing swimming, cross-training, and ballet classes in order to get the ballerina physique.

Chris Hemsworth in “Thor”

When Hemsworth took on the role of “Thor”, he gained 30 pounds of muscle to transform his body into the God-like physique needed. To do this Hemsworth stuck to a strict eating schedule, packing away huge amounts of protein, rice and vegetables every three hours, even when he wasn’t hungry. It also meant spending at least two hours a day doing an intense work-out regimen of not just weight-lifting in his home gym but also aspects of Crossfit, martial arts and boxing. One surprising aspect of his get-fit routine? Sleeping, which he says was an important part of the equation.

Anne Hathaway in “Les Miserables”

Portraying a starving prostitute meant Hathaway had to drop 25 pounds through an initial two-week cleanse, followed by two weeks of a diet of two dried oatmeal paste squares each day. Why such a harsh diet? The actress needed to look near death, her character was dying from tuberculosis after all, so exercising was off the table.

Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”

Cooper took on the role of the Navy SEAL with just ten weeks to gain 40 pounds of muscle. In order to pull of this near impossibility he turned to a professional trainer and began working out twice a day. Starting with basic exercises like deadlifts and squats he then moved on to traditional weightlifting techniques. To top it all off, Cooper ate a whopping 5,000 calories each day which included 5 meals, protein drinks and energy bars.

Beyonce in “Dream Girls”

Beyonce needed to trim down her usually curvaceous body in order to play the slim 16-year old in the film. In order to lose 20 pounds in two short weeks, the star turned to the Master Cleanse Diet, which meant eating no solid food and drinking daily 6-12 glasses of water mixed with lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. She does admit to cheating a bit by drinking protein drinks and eating fish and vegetables.

Jake Gyllenhaal in “South Paw”

Aiming for authenticity, as well as a seriously ripped physique, Gyllenhaal worked with a professional boxing coach to prepare for the role. Starting at just 147 pounds, Gyllenhaal gained 28 pounds of hard muscle through running, jump roping, boxing drills, and weight training. All of that training had one benefit, an unrestricted diet with only one edict; lots of protein.

Don’t think you could get the same results as your favorite star? You’re probably right, but with good reason. While the stars worked with nutritionists and personal trainers almost round the clock to obtain these extreme results, they are nearly universally considered unhealthy.

Also read: Acting in the Theatre can be Very Intense, do Actors Get Enough Sleep?

Categories: Theatre Thoughts

Acting in the Theatre can be Very Intense, do Actors Get Enough Sleep?

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Acting in the Theatre can be Very Intense, do Actors Get Enough SleepCelebrities lead fairly fabulous lives but they are often hectic as well. They frequently have to travel across the country at a moment’s notice, attend parties at late night hot spots for publicity, follow rigorous and demanding schedules, etc.

So, it comes as no surprise that sleep is not always their number one priority. In fact, prescription medication and insomnia have often been the culprits in a number of high-profile celebrity deaths — this paints a vivid picture of how dangerous sleep problems can be if not treated responsibly.

Theatre Actors are the Gladiators of the Acting World

But, did you know that the lives of theatre actors are even more hectic? This particular profession is not for the lazy and requires a lot of passion, dedication, and a number of other hardy traits. Some of these include:

  1. Tons of stamina: Theatre actors generally work for hours at a time, rather than minutes like screen actors.
  2. Discipline: This trait helps these hardworking artists to get through rehearsal and memorize long sections of movement and dialogue.

Also, during a performance theatre actors must handle a number of responsibilities simultaneously:

  • Project their voices in a large space without straining or sounding like they are yelling
  • Act with their whole body rather than just their faces
  • Somehow deliver the same performance day in and day out, always ensuring that the portrayal seems new every single time.
  • Deliver believable performances in front of a live audience – there are no second takes.

There are some theatre actors who love live shows as they provide instant feedback. Still, there are others who dread it because the presence of the audience is a constant reminder that they’re acting — something that can be distracting if you lack the discipline and focus needed to stay in the moment while audience members react, answer telephone calls, smoke, take pictures, etc.

Theatre Actors and Sleep

Even though all actors make a lot sacrifices, sleep seems to be the hardest hit. Theatre actors, in particular, have to get up early for their day jobs and stay up late to get the chance to follow their passion. They also have to squeeze in time to memorize lines and run errands. When you finally take a minute to see how much time all these activities take, it’s easy to see why many theatre actors don’t get the 7 hours needed for quality rest.

Tips to Help Actors Get Better Sleep

Most actors seem to be handling their hectic lives well but, the truth is, they aren’t immune to the sleep-related health problems that plague us. But when you consistently miss out on sleep, it can lead to a wide variety of serious health issues like heart problems, diabetes, obesity, and more.

Thankfully, there is some good news to be had — it’s relatively easy to start getting better sleep. Some general rules of thumb include:

  • Shut down all electronic devices an hour or so before it’s time to bed go to bed. The bright light from the screens can negatively impact influence the ability to fall sleep.
  • Bedrooms should be quiet, cool, and dark. Also, they should only be used for adult activities and sleep.
  • Don’t exercise or have coffee when it’s close to bedtime.
  • Investing in a good quality mattress is highly recommended as there is nothing worse than lying on lumpy bed.

Previous post: Ten Things to Learn from the Royal Court Theatre Building Tour

Categories: Theatre Thoughts

Three Badly Behaved Audience Activities At Theatre

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texting-624-1381858080Lately, there were incidences of the audience members at a theatre who did not behave brilliantly. Some of these annoying and bad experiences are given here.

The noisy headphones: A person at the Lyttleton was wearing either to using headphones to listen to music or hadn’t turned off the MP3 player. No one could find where the music and singing came from but it was audible during the quieter scenes. On hearing these irritating sounds, there were a lot of puzzled looks that the audience started passing among one another. In the end, many people complained to the escort at the interval and an announcement was made in the general direction of where the noise came from and the music went off during the second half.

web_theatre_audiences_victorjuhaszThe giggling teenagers: One of the tiny studios is Trafalgar Studios 2 and the actors are usually within the reachable distance in this theatre. It was a play Dickens with a Difference, a Dickens themed double bill. James Swanton, the performer, took on the characters for the second show and warping himself into each one in what is said to be a gripping and skilled performance. Two teenager girls were sitting in the mid of the front row that is virtually under the nose of Swanton. They were not too gripped to the play and they decided to giggle, whisper, and snort all their way through the play. Swanton soldiered on the waiting till the curtain call to end the play thanking all for attending the play. He did not forget to point out to the girls by saying he had made the two of them laugh and stated that he hopes that he did not spoil their enjoyment.

Disturbances during play: At the Park Theatre during the Jonah and Otta play, three irritating audience incidents were reported. First, a woman with a ring tone of a child laughing decided to leave to answer the call. Later, someone wandered in the auditorium having gone through a wrong door and apologised loudly before leaving. Finally, a woman with a bad cold was coughing and sneezing for some time. She later sighed and muttered as well.

Categories: Theatre Thoughts

Most Exciting Theatre Casting News

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6a0133ec96767e970b01b8d19c7a0a970cWithin the first three months of this year, we have the most exciting theatre casting news already. Well, it is the cast of Andrew Garfield in Angles in America. The grin is that Garfield is one of the actors that many people love to see on stage. In fact, many people consider that he is one of the best actors of that generation. He has given many fantastic performances in his work that these cannot be mentioned individually. However, here are some highlights of his performance that cannot be missed.

First is a TV Drama, Kid A in which he played the role of Jack, who is trying to reconstruct his life after he is released from the prison for a crime that he committed when he was a child.

bb60a174-dcdd-45cb-9be4-412a6d6dd868The next one is Never Let Me Go, a film in which his character finds out he has been striving towards for thing one for almost years and it is a myth. He just screams revealing all his disappointment and hurt that will break the fans’ hearts.

The other work of Garfield that should not be missed is The Social Network. Also, 99 Homes should not be missed. The one thing that is worth mentioning is Spiderman that seemed to be the most human Spiderman forever. He gave the story a Spandex wearing comic book depth.

The fans of Andrew Garfield would surely be interested and excited to see him on the stage, but they have to wait. The Angles in America is not scheduled to start till next May.

Categories: Theatre Thoughts

Should Star Ratings Be Used Or Not?

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5-star-ratings-188-2_LRifiqQShould star ratings be used in the reviews is something that many people would be wrestling for a long time. When contributing reviews on any website, it is a common sight to star ratings that restrict the review to a number within five. People take a look at the star ratings to make a snap judgement. Sometimes, people do not read the review but just take a look at the ratings. With just a glance, a rating of three out of five means average or good based on the person. The star ratings say as much about the play as they can about the reviewer.

The star ratings are similar to a double edged sword, but a very useful marketing tool. If the star ratings help champion a great piece of fringe theatre, it has to be a good thing, consider many. This is an element of ego. Many people are leaving the star ratings when they write about plays.

Categories: Theatre Thoughts

Wishlist Of Actors To Perform On Stage

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the-oc-season-1-cast-foxMany people will like to see several actors playing on stage at the theatres. Here is a list of actors who might bring a lot of excitement among their fans if they perform on stage.

Paul Dano is no stranger to tread the boards on Broadway and it will be lovely to see him perform. Alicia Vikander has given a regular silver screen presence. In fact, she gave three different films in just a month. Her fans are longing to see her presence on the stage.

Domhnall Gleeson who started with Alicia Vikander in the Ex Machina last year made many people enjoy the performance and grew his career from playing small roles to major ones lately. He trod the boards in Broadway and Dublin and he is preferred to put up a comedy play on the stage.

Marion Cotillard is similar to Alicia Vikander in rendering an amazing screen presence. She has many fans and she put up a major show in the 2006’s La Vie En Rose. She played as Lady Macbeth along with Michael Fassbender on the big screen lately. She is expected to take up a classic stage role and bring the same performance as the screen on the stage.

Leonardo DiCaprio has proved his abilities on the big screen. Many of his fans wonder if he will translate the screen performance on the stage. It is quite a curiosity for his fans. He went through tough conditions for The Revenant, but is he really brave enough for a stage play?

Categories: Theatre Thoughts