Taylor Kitsch is no stranger to suffering for his art.
The 36-year-old actor stopped by the Ellen DeGeneres Show where he discussed his latest role, playing David Koresh in the upcoming miniseries Waco — and the physical transformation he underwent for the project.
“I lost 30 — just around 30 lbs.,” he said, with host DeGeneres noting that he looked just like Koresh. “It was uncanny.”
DeGeneres, 59, pointed out the 14-hour work days Kitsch endured during his strict diet.
“Yeah, it sucks,” Kitsch said. “Be careful what you wish for.”
The star said he had four months to go from Kitsch to Koresh, and lost six or seven lbs. a month.
“I’d get 500 calories at breakfast and then it would go from like veggies in the mid-afternoon to chicken broth after 4 o’ clock. And then you go run,” he said. Kitsch added sarcastically: “Which is awesome!”
Now, Kitsch’s diet days are in the past and the star said he’s working to gain the weight back.
“I haven’t yet so I’m literally eating anything and everything in sight, which is great,” he said.
The Friday Night Lights fan-favorite looks eerily similar to the cult leader in the new miniseries.
The limited series, set to air in January 2018 in six parts on the Paramount Network, will follow the 51-day standoff between the fanatical leader, his followers the Branch Davidians and the FBI and ATF — which ended in tragedy and the death of 75 Branch Davidians, including Koresh and 25 children, on April 19, 1993.
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Kitsch previously opened up to PEOPLE about the weight loss, and other preparations he made for the role.
“It was four-plus months of prep for me,” he said. “From losing just around 30 lbs., to listening to hundreds of hours of phone calls of the tapes with [FBI negotiator] Gary Noesner and the FBI and the ATF to Child Protective Services, to reading David Thibodeau’s book a few times.”