From Jessica Simpson in those Daisy Dukes to Ryan Gosling's basically Photoshopped chest, let's look at 10 actors who attained peak hotness for a role
Credit: Everett; Rex USA

Unless they’re trying to win awards, being hot is a 24/7 mandate for today’s stars. But what happens when one of them takes a role that requires them to stand out from the pack? How do they raise the stakes? The answer is easy, even if getting there isn’t: They need to achieve superhuman levels of babe-itude.

In honor of our Hottest Bodies issue, let’s look at 10 actors who attained peak hotness for a role. If Oscar were a little more ripped, these are the roles they’d give him out for.

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper

The American Hustle star has certainly had sexy moments in the past, but new paparazzi pics from the set of his upcoming American Sniper show a brand-new, bulked-up Bradley.

Jessica Simpson, The Dukes of Hazzard

To play the namesake of that iconic pair of Daisy Dukes, the first-time actress spent two months getting in shape for the role. As she revealed in a 2005 PEOPLE story, Simpson tried her hand at a modified version of the South Beach diet and worked out six days a week – mostly squats and lunges. “She realized her butt was going to be plastered on 50-ft. screens everywhere, trainer Michael Alexander said. “That motivated her.”

Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid, Love

The moment Ryan Gosling took off his shirt to reveal a body that Emma Stone can’t believe isn’t Photoshopped, the Canadian actor became an instant fitness icon. Still, though, he seemed uncomfortable with the amount – and the kind – of attention the scene brought him. “It’s embarrassing. And it’s silly,” Gosling told AskMen. “That’s why they cast me in the part – because it was never meant to be serious.”

Instead of revealing his workout secrets, Gosling preferred to joke that his muscles were CGI. “James Cameron has a program called ‘Ab-atar,'” he cracked. “All you have to do is wear a motion-capture suit, and it gives you abs.”

Demi Moore, G.I. Jane

In the ’90s, Demi Moore practically invented the “talk about your workout” method of movie promotion. To get buff for her role as a Navy trainee in G. I. Jane, the actress underwent a grueling workout process borrowed from the military, under the tutelage of a former Navy SEAL She also shaved her head, a physical transformation that’s slightly easier for the average person to emulate.

Channing Tatum, Magic Mike

Tatum drew on his own history while producing Magic Mike, but that doesn’t mean the actor enjoyed re-living the experience when it came time to film the male-stripper drama. Tatum worked out three hours a day and went gluten-free for the role, but the most painful part was the personal grooming – specifically, waxing his legs. “It was the most painful thing I’ll ever do,” he told PEOPLE in 2012. “And it’s something I’ll never do again.”

Jennifer Garner, Elektra

Garner already kept fit for her role as a spy on Alias, but she took it to another level for 2005’s Elektra. To get the streamlined body of a professional assassin, Garner’s trainer Valerie Waters led her client on a regimen of yoga, light weightlifting and cardio.

Chris Evans, Captain America

In Captain America, Steve Rogers’ musclebound physique is the result of an advanced super-soldier serum. In real-life, he had to get it the old-fashioned way: through protein shakes and lots of weights. Things got a little sillier for the sequel. As Evans joked with Jimmy Fallon, “We tried to do a little bit more gymnastics. Balance beams I had a whole ribbon routine.”

Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises

Transforming into Catwoman wasn’t easy for Anne Hathaway. The character’s iconic catsuit became “a psychological terrorist” for the actress; as she told Allure, “Changing my life so I would fit into the suit it dominated my year.” The effort took five days of training a week, including an hour and a half of dance a day to give her the lithe flexibility of a cat. When it was all over, she didn’t get to hit the Doritos; Hathaway next went on a severe diet to get gaunt for her role in Les Miserables.

Ryan Reynolds, Blade: Trinity

Ryan Reynolds has played numerous action heroes in his career, but it was his role in 2004’s Blade: Trinity that first had him leaving that pizza place in the rearview mirror. For his role in the vampire flick, Reynolds trained for three months, exercising six days a week and eating 3,200 calories a day. He credits the transformation for changing his life: “It taught me you can do things that were previously impossible,” he told Men’s Fitness.

Renée Zellweger, Chicago

Getting in shape for a musical is tough for anyone, but Zellweger was coming from Bridget Jones’s Diary, which required her to pack on the pounds to play a dowdy Londoner. To take the role of the devious housewife Roxie Hart, Zellweger went on the then-trendy Atkins diet and worked out every day, both in the gym and in dance class. The hard work paid off, and all that abs.

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