Charles Melton Reveals the Diet That Helped Him Gain 40 Pounds for May December Role

Charles Melton detailed the sweet treats he turned to in order to gain weight for his role in Netflix’s May December, which he starred in alongside Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman.

By Olivia Evans Jan 04, 2024 2:25 PMTags
Watch: Charles Melton Plays "One Word Reaction" Game

Charles Melton's Riverdale days may be behind him, but he still likes an after-school snack. 

The May December star recently shared how he achieved his 40-pound weight gain for the role of Joe Yoo in the Netflix hit. 

"I ate a lot of favorite childhood snacks like Gushers, Fruit Roll-Ups, ice cream, pizza with popcorn on it," the 33-year-old told W magazine in an article published on Jan. 3. "It was great."

As for why he opted for snacks you may find in a lunch box? The actor seems to have thought it just felt right for the character. 

"Joe has this softness to him," the star added. "The director, Todd Haynes, and I talked about what Joe would feel like, and it gave me an open opportunity to eat whatever I wanted."

A diet fit for a tween may come from the nature behind the Joe character—whose relationship with Gracie Atherton-Yoo (Julianne Moore) becomes the subject of a tabloid frenzy given their age gap and controversial beginnings.

Camila Mendes & Charles Melton: Romance Rewind

May December follows the fictional couple 20 years after they start an affair when Joe is just 13 years old, and Gracie is 36 years old. The film picks up with Natalie Portman's character, Elizabeth Berry, visiting the family after Gracie has served a prison sentence, they are married and have three grown children to study the pair for an upcoming film role. 

Despite starring alongside award-winning actresses Moore and Portman, Melton—whose only big role up to this point was the Archie Comics-inspired soap—held his own playing the groomed 36-year-old character.

Unique Nicole / Stringer (Getty Images)

The Alaska native has received critical acclaim for his May December performance. In fact, the Riverdale alum has already earned a Gotham Award for his recent role, and nominations from the upcoming Critics' Choice Awards and Golden Globes

But Melton is not the only actor who's undergone a body transformation for a character. Read on for more stars who have gained or lost weight for a project.

Mark Wahlberg

Wahlberg shared a side-by-side photo of his previous toned physique alongside his look, which he achieved by gaining 20 pounds for his film, Stu. "From this 3 weeks ago, to this, now," he wrote, shouting out his chef, Lawrence Duran. "Thanks to @chef_lawrence_d cooking."

Cillian Murphy


To play scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer, the Irish actor "had to lose quite a bit of weight," he shared. "He was very slim, almost emaciated, existed on martinis and cigarettes." His diet? According to costar Emily Blunt, "He had such a monumental undertaking.And he could only eat, like, an almond every day."


Joaquin Phoenix

For his Joker role, the Oscar winner opened up about his 52-pound weight loss, telling the Associated Press, "Once you reach the target weight, everything changes. Like so much of what's difficult is waking up every day and being obsessed over like 0.3 pounds. Right? And you really develop like a disorder."

Chris Pratt

The Parks & Recreation alum transformed into a fit superhero for Guardians of the Galaxy and never looked back.

J.K. Simmons

The Spider-Man alum shocked fans when he debuted his bulging biceps, which were displayed in Justice League.

Jake Gyllenhaal

"I'd say my mother was worried," he previously told E! News after losing 30 pounds for Nightcrawler. "I would say she just wanted me to be careful. But she also knew and knows how seriously I take what I do and she respects that."

Miles Teller

The actor bulked up for his roles in Whiplash and the Divergent franchise.

Michael B. Jordan

The Black Panther star gained nearly 30 pounds of muscle to transform into a rookie-turned-professional boxer in Creed.

Jared Leto

The actor and musician nabbed an Oscar for his riveting role in The Dallas Buyers Club. He lost 40 pounds for the role.

Chris Messina

The Mindy Project alum had to gain 40 pounds for his role in Live by Night.

Renée Zellweger

The Bridget Jones's Diary actress gained weight to portray the lovable character in the franchise's first and second films.

Chad Michael Murray

The actor lost 25 pounds for his role as a heroin addict in Other People's Children.

Matthew McConaughey

The Magic Mike hunk dropped 30 pounds to star in The Dallas Buyer's Club—which centered on the real-life story about a man dying from AIDS in the 1980s who treated himself with alternative remedies he smuggled into the United States from Mexico.

Taylor Lautner

The teen heartthrob went from cute kid to beefy babe as werewolf Jacob Black in the Twilight sequel. "The day I finished Twilight, I came home and started bulking up," he told Interview magazine. "For New Moon, I'm 30 pounds heavier than I was in Twilight."

Rooney Mara

The actress looked lean and strong for her starring role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Anne Hathaway

The Les Misérables star took home an Oscar for her role in the musical.

Christian Bale

He's no stranger to morphing for movie roles. In 2004, he lost more than 60 pounds for his role in The Machinist, and he did it again for the film The Fighter, opposite Mark Wahlberg. He also gained 40 pounds for American Hustle—and lost 70 pounds for Ford v Ferrari.

Jake Gyllenhaal (Again

The actor looked more like a god than a prince for his role in 2010's Prince of Persia. Gyllenhaal said he studied Parkour, the French art of street running, in order to bulk up for the film.

Tom Hanks

"All it is is time and discipline," the Oscar winner told Time magazine of his role in 2000's Cast Away, for which he lost over 50 pounds to play a man stranded on an uninhabited island.

50 Cent

The ripped rapper shocked fans with a photo of himself looking slender. He reportedly went from 214 to 160 pounds in just nine weeks to play a football player diagnosed with cancer in Things Fall Apart.

Robert De Niro

Shaping up for movie roles is nothing new. The legendary actor earned an Oscar nom for his role as terrifying tattooed rapist Max Cady in the 1991 thriller Cape Fear.

Christian Bale (Again)

In order to portray former Vice President Dick Cheney in the 2018 biopic Vice, the star sported a fuller figure