10 DC And Marvel Actors Who Made Amazing Physical Transformations For Superhero Roles

Comic book superheroes are often depicted with incredibly unrealistic proportions and muscle structure. But that didn't stop these 10 actors and actresses from achieving something pretty close.

Our recent post on Zachary Levi's newfound muscle for his role in Shazam! got us thinking about the numerous otherworldy transformations several Hollywood actresses and actors have undertaken to portray superheroes.  Not everyone can be a Jason Momoa, who starts out as a Baywatch lifeguard and then progresses to barbarian warlord roles on Game of Thrones and Conan before ultimately suiting up as Aquaman in Justice League

No, for a lot of these actors, it seems as if they've never even picked up a dumbbell before being cast as a musclebound superhero that's capable of crushing diamonds just by flexing their biceps. 

The little glimpses we've seen of Levi's gym gains are impressive but where does it stack up against some of the other established actors and actresses in the MCU and DCEU?  Click through the list below to see our rankings. 

10. Zachary Levi


Recently, social media posts for Zachary Levi revealed that the actor is in the midst of one phenomenal transformation.  Gone is the skinny sales rep from Chuck.  But will Levi pack on enough muscle to convincingly portray the Superman-esque Shazam?  Filming has already begun but Levi still has plenty of weeks to put on a few more pounds of lean, protein-packed brawn. 

9. Karen Gillan


This one's less of a muscle-based transformation and more of an unimaginable complete metamorphosis.  Heading into her role as Nebula in the first Guardians of the Galaxy film, Karen Gillan was best known for playing Amy Pond on Doctor Who. As you can see above, these characters couldn't be any more different.
 

8. Chris Evans


It should be obvious that Marvel's 3 Chrises would be on the list as Evans, Pratt and Hemsworth all hit the gym incredibly hard for their roles as Captain America, Star-Lord and Thor.  However, Evans had a bit of a leg up on his peers, having previously gotten into superhero shape for Fox's first two Fantastic Four movies.

7. Henry Cavill


Cavill was already in pretty good shape having just starred in the mythological fantasy action flick, Immortals.  But his physique went from runner to bodybuilder thanks to trainer Mark Twight, who prepared Cavill for his role as Superman in Man of Steel.  In the years since that film's release, Cavill has slimmed down a bit but still retained the majority of the muscle he packed on for the role.

6. Gal Gadot


As any longtime CBM reader knows, the #1 comment when Gal Gadot was first announced as WB's choice to play Wonder Woman was that she was too skinny.  While she definitely didn't achieve the traditional muscular-athleticism the comic book Amazon princess possesses, Gadot certainly made a significant transformation from her Fast & Furious days.

5. Aaron Taylor-Johnson


As previously mentioned, Chris Evans was already in stellar shape when he was cast as Captain America due to his previous role as the Human Torch in two Fantastic Four films.  In Aaron Taylor-Johnson's case, having played Kick-Ass didn't necessarily provide him with a headstart on bulking up to play Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron.  But in looking at the two costumes (if you can call Quicksilver's look a costume) Johnson clearly made significant "gains" to play the deceased Maximoff twin.

 4. Paul Rudd


Many comic book fans were skeptical of Marvel's casting of comedic actor Paul Rudd as Ant-Man.  Rudd was under even more scrutiny when fans found out he'd be playing the Scott Lang version of the character instead of Henry Pym.  All it took was one traditional Marvel shirtless scene to quiet the critics and doubters.

3. Antje Traue


Arguably, the second breakout character in the first DCEU film (behind Henry Cavill's Superman) was Antje Traue's Faora. Zod's henchwoman was a character that even the most derisive critic of the film agreed that they wanted to see more of in future films.  For some inexplicable reason, WB has yet to find a way to get her out of the Phantom Zone.

2. Chris Pratt


Chris Pratt went from a chubby, lovable goofball on Parks & Recreation to a kickass, six-pack having space pirate in Guardians of the Galaxy. In a Men's Fitness issue featuring Pratt on the cover, the Jurassic World actor revealed that he trained for five months before filming on the first Guardians film began- working out 4-6 times a week with trainer Duffy Gaver while completing even more workouts on his own.  

1. Chris Hemsworth


Hemsworth was a young soap opera actor in Australia when he beat Tom Hiddleston and his younger brother Liam for the role of Thor Odinson.  While some MCU fans view the first Thor film as the weakest installment of Marvel Phase 1, there's no denying that Hemsworth made an absolutely incredible physical transformation to bring the Asgardian God of Thunder to life.

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