Tom Hanks made international headlines earlier this week after revealing he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
Hanks said his dramatic weight fluctuations for film roles over the years contributed to his condition, but noted he was genetically predisposed to type 2 diabetes (see video, starting at 1:50).
“Gaining and losing of weight may have had something to do with this, because you eat so much bad food and you don’t get any exercise when you’re heavy,” Hanks told the BBC Oct. 9. “But I think I was genetically inclined to get it, and I think it actually goes back to a lifestyle I’ve been leading ever since I was seven years old, as opposed to 36.”
Tom, who has gained and lost as much as 55 pounds for his roles in “Philadelphia” and “Castaway,” said he will no longer gain weight for work, because gaining and losing dramatic amounts of weight is hard on the body.
“I’ve talked to a number of actors who have gained weight for roles and — just out of the sheer physical toll on one’s knees and shoulders — no one wants to do it again,” said Hanks. “I think that’s more or less a young man’s game. I’m 57 and I don’t think I’m going to take on any job or go on any vacation again and see to it that I can gain 30 pounds.”
Tom said he manages his type 2 diabetes now with diet, exercise and medication, and is doing well. “I get regular exercise and I eat right — which everybody should do — and I take certain meds,” he said.
Hanks isn’t the only actor who has transformed his body for film roles. Last year, Matthew McConaughey lost 47 pounds on an extremely low-calorie diet to play an HIV patient in the “Dallas Buyers Club.” The 6-foot-tall McConaughey slimmed down from a strapping 181 pounds to an anemic 134 pounds by eating two small meals a day and doing intense cardio workouts.
Similarly, McConaughey’s co-star, Jared Leto, lost 30 pounds in four weeks by going on a month-long fast. The 5-foot-9 Leto starved himself down to 116 pounds from his usual 146 pounds to look the part of a transsexual AIDs patient.
In 2011, “Parks and Recreation” star Chris Pratt lost 30 pounds for “Moneyball” and then, shortly afterward, regained 50 to 60 pounds for “Ten Year.”
In 2012, the 6-foot-2 Pratt got super-buff to play a Navy SEAL for “Zero Dark Thirty.” Shortly after that film wrapped, Chris gained 60 pounds in four months to play an obese lawyer in the comedy “Delivery Man.”
More recently, actor Hugh Jackman lost 15 pounds, then regained 30 pounds for the role of Jean Valjean in the drama “Les Misérables.” Jackman then followed a 6,000-calorie-a-day diet and did intermittent fasting to buff up for the 2013 film “The Wolverine.”
Jackman, 44, said it gets harder each year to achieve his rippling Wolverine body. “Over the past three or four years it’s gotten a lot tougher,” he said. “I have to eat a stricter diet. I have to train even harder. I can’t get away with what I used to.”