EXCLUSIVE: Few actors will have put their bodies through as much for a role as Tim Realbuto who lost a record 154 lbs for movie Bobcat Moretti.
In the recently wrapped U.S. indie feature, Realbuto plays an obese MS patient who takes up his late father’s sport of boxing to overcome personal tragedy help find inner peace. Vivica A.Fox (Kill Bill), Taryn Manning (Orange Is The New Black), Matt Peters (Orange Is The New Black), Matt McCoy (Jack Ryan), Mindy Sterling (Austin Powers), rapper Coolio and Oscar-nominee Sally Kirkland (Anna) also star in the feature, whose first trailer is above.
When filming began in late 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Realbuto weighed close to 400 lbs. After finishing part one of the film, the production took almost a year off to give the actor time to lose the weight needed for part two. When cast and crew reconvened in mid-2021, Realbuto had lost 154 lbs, seemingly breaking the world record for most weight lost for a movie role. That mark was previously attributed to Christian Bale, who reportedly lost around 60 lbs for 2004 pic The Machinist.
Realbuto did lapband surgery to help get him in better shape, but he also underwent a strenuous training and dietary regime.
“I was really unhealthy,” the Brooklyn native told us. “I noticed a change in my energy and internal health too, not just the external. This movie changed my life, not just career wise. It also saved my life, I truly believe that. Now I have so much more energy and drive.”
To date, Realbuto has largely acted in theater. More than 20 years ago he had a fleetingly appearance in one episode of The Sopranos and had a small role in Kevin Kline film The Emperor’s Club.
On Bobcat, his coach was essential, Realbuto told us. “I owe a lot to my incredible coach Erik Potempa, who is also an executive producer on the film and plays my dad in flashback scenes. He’s a beast who refused to let me give up no matter how I was feeling. I recommend that everyone gets a coach like him, one that is always on your side no matter what.
“We worked out six times a weeks. Any time we worked on boxing training, I loved it. It really helped me get into character. My advice to those who want to lose weight, even on the hardest days, those days when you are most exhausted, is to work out. Talk to your trainer if you’re feeling down, don’t go down the rabbit hole of bad foods. Though, of course, it’s much easier said than done.”
The actor took on a mantra during the shoot: “I am Bobcat Moretti. I am making this movie. I’m going to look good. And I can accomplish the impossible.”
He also adopted a fierce diet. “Everything tasty was cut out. No soda, no sugars, no cake. Everything was grilled or salads. It took a lot of work. So much cardio. Lots of jumping jacks, sit ups, pushups, boxing training, you name it. I really wanted to lose 100 pounds, but luckily, I far exceeded that goal. I’m still pinching myself.”
The Different Duck Films project was directed by Rob Margolies (She Wants Me) who also produces alongside Lindsay Mushett (Immortal), Kristen Vaganos (I Am Lisa), and Nick Young (All You Can Eat). Realbuto (Yes) penned the script with Margolies. Fox and Manning are executive producers alongside Sheila Legette (Choices). Louis Mustillo (Mike & Molly) and Sheria Irving (Twenties) are also among cast.