Jared Leto fasted for an entire month to achieve the emaciated, sickly appearance of a transsexual AIDs patient in the film "Dallas Buyers Club."
“I stopped eating,” Leto told TheWrap Sept. 8. "It wasn’t an easy thing to do. It was 30 or 40 pounds [I lost]. After a while, I stopped counting.”
The 5-foot-9 Leto, who starved himself down to 116 pounds from his usual 146 pounds, says the drastic weight loss not only changed how he looked, but how he felt and carried himself. “It changes the way you walk, the way you sit, the way you think,” he said.
This isn't the first time Jared, 41, has dramatically changed his appearance for a film role. In 2007, the naturally lanky Leto gained 67 pounds to play John Lennon assassin Mark David Chapman for the drama "Chapter 27."
Leto piled on the weight by gorging on pints of ice cream spiked with olive oil and soy sauce. By 2008, Jared had lost the weight, but vowed to never again gain weight for a role because carrying the excess weight on his slender frame had damaged his health.
Leto, a longtime vegan who hikes, cycles and does yoga to stay fit, experienced lingering foot and joint pain as a result of the dramatic, sudden weight gain.
"I'd never do it again; it definitely gave me some problems," he said. "Towards the end of the shoot, one of the glaring issues was the pain I had with my feet. I couldn't walk for long distances. I had a wheelchair because it was so painful. My body was in shock from the amount of weight I gained. It took about a year to get back to a place that felt semi-normal."
Meanwhile, Leto's co-star, Matthew McConaughey, lost 47 pounds on a near-starvation diet to play an HIV-infected electrician in the "Dallas Buyers Club." The athletic 6-foot-tall McConaughey slimmed down from a strapping 181 pounds to a scrawny 134 pounds by eating very little and doing intense cardio workouts.
One thing McConaughey learned during his shocking transformation was that diet trumps exercise when it comes to weight loss. "It's 90% diet," he said. "It's 90% amount and what you're eating."