Jamie Bell is unrecognisable as former neo-Nazi Bryon Widner in Skin

Jamie Bell looks unrecognisable as ink-covered reformed neo-Nazi Bryon Widner in Skin… as actor says he went ‘full Raging Bull’ for the role by eating ‘a bunch of s***’ and putting on 20lbs

He rose to fame when he starred as Billy Elliot in the Oscar-nominated dance drama almost 20 years ago.

But Jamie Bell was unrecognisable as he transformed into conflicted, ink-covered neo-Nazi Bryon Widner in a new still from his upcoming biopic, Skin.

The 33-year-old actor, who put on 20lbs for the role, looked far from his usual self as he was covered head-to-toe in tattoos and sported a shaved head. 

Intense transformation: Jamie Bell looked unrecognisable as ink-covered reformed neo-Nazi Bryon Widner in Skin, which is set to be released later this month

Speaking to Variety in July, the actor revealed that he went ‘full Raging Bull’ for the challenging role, and would eat ‘a bunch of s***’ to put on 20 pounds.

Explaining his unusual diet, which consisted of ‘peanut butter and ice cream and whatever I wanted’, he said: ‘But it was hard because we made this movie for literally no money. 

‘And it was exhausting because we shot so much material in a day that I was shedding the weight as we were filming. At times I was like, “Why am I doing this?”‘


Ink: The 33-year-old actor, who put on 20lbs for the role, looked far from his usual self as he was covered head-to-toe in tattoos and sported a shaved head (pictured right in April)

Transformation: In July, the actor said he went ‘full Raging Bull’ by eating ‘a bunch of s***’ to gain weight, but would struggle to maintain the weight because of their busy filming schedule

Danielle Macdonald, who plays his wife in the drama, added that he would be ‘chugging Ben & Jerry’s every day’ just to maintain his weight.

‘It was at a point where I felt sick and he was still losing weight. I was like, “Your metabolism is insane,” she joked.  

Skin, which was directed by Guy Nattiv, follows the real-life story of Bryon Widner – a skinhead who was taken in by white supremacists after a troubled childhood. 

As an adult, the reformed neo-Nazi tries to turn his life around with the help of his partner and activist Daryle Jenkins (Luke Cage star Mike Colter). 

Dedication: Danielle Macdonald, who plays his wife in the drama, added that Jaime would be ‘chugging Ben & Jerry’s every day’ just to maintain his weight

Trials: Explaining his struggle, he said: ‘We shot so much material in a day that I was shedding the weight as we were filming. At times I was like, “Why am I doing this?”‘ (pictured in April) 

The film, which also stars Vera Farmiga as Shareen Krager and Bill Camp as Fred Krager, had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2018. 

Israeli director Guy, 45, met the real-life Bryon in preparation for the movie. 

The filmmaker said the world ‘seemed crazy now’ so he thought it was worth telling stories about hope, redemption and forgiveness like Bryon’s. 

‘My grandfathers and mothers are Holocaust survivors and it was really important for me to show that in this darkness there’s one light and person who’s making the change to become a better person,’ he said. 

Biopic: Skin, which was directed by Guy Nattiv, follows the real-life story of Bryon Widner – a skinhead who was taken in by white supremacists after a troubled childhood

 Trying to change: As an adult, the reformed neo-Nazi tries to turn his life around with the help of his partner and activist Daryle Jenkins (Luke Cage star Mike Colter)

 Inspiration: The filmmaker said the world ‘seemed crazy now’ so he thought it was worth telling stories about hope, redemption and forgiveness like Bryon’s

Jamie said the film posed a question, namely: ‘If you have hatred in your heart but go through two years of treatment to remove the hateful ink from your skin ‘are you changed, and can you ever be changed fully?’

He said: ‘I hope the answer is that love defeats hate.’  

Danielle added: ‘If there is even one person that can see this and think: “Oh, there is another option, there is a way out even though it seems impossible,” then that is worth it.’

Skin is set to be released in UK cinemas on September 27.

Out soon: Skin is set to be released in UK cinemas on September 27

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