Rooney Mara's Transformation for 'Dragon Tattoo' -- Plus Other Stars with Chameleon-Like Powers

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26-year-old New York native Rooney Mara was asked to go through some pretty drastic physical changes in order to play the lead role in the much-anticipated film adaptation of the best-selling novel, "The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo." Director David Fincher chose her over Scarlett Johannson, and in doing so, asked her to completely make herself over in the image of the story's central character, Lisbeth Salander. The novel, written by the late Stieg Larsson, describes a young woman with striking style and physicality.

So when it came time to pierce her nipples for the role, Mara didn't hesitate. She told Allure that she's "...naked quite a lot in the movie, and I thought, she has it in the book, and she should have it [in the film." She went on, " Because of all the tattoos and the makeup and the piercings, and the physical transformations my body has to go through, it would always feel sort of like I was in costume..." Clearly she was committed to transforming herself in whatever way was necessary for the audience to believe she was Lisbeth.

Hollywood has a long-standing tradition of taking an actor and shaping them into someone completely different role. Here are a few of the more amazing examples of a physical transformation an actor has endured for a role.

Charlize Theron in "Monster" - Her portrayal of a prostitute who became a vicious serial killer named Aileen Wuornos got her an Oscar for Best Actress, and she earned it. The gorgeous star gained 30 pounds, and underwent prosthetic makeup that drastically changed her facial features. Adding to the difficulty of the role was the fact that the film was based on a real woman's life.

Tom Hanks in "Cast Away" - The story of a sole survivor of a plane crash, this role demanded that Hanks let himself go for a little while, then he needed to lose 50 pounds, grow out his hair, and grow a massive beard in order to realistically portray the changes someone who is stranded on a deserted island would undergo. Hanks became almost unrecognizable once the bulk of the changes were complete, and his performance got him a Best Actor nomination from the Academy.

Renee Zellweger in "Bridget Jones's Diary" - The central character in the film is overweight, and as part of the story, she tries to get healthy and change her life as part of an existential crisis. Instead of using makeup and a fat suit, Zellweger actually put on quite a bit of weight for the role, and she did it again for the movie's sequel three years later.

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