The difference between the global movie and TV success for Chris Pratt was about 60 pounds. He had to lose this amount of weight and display his muscle so that he could play a role in the Marvel superhero movie called Guardians of the Galaxy. He also appeared in the second part of the popular franchise, but all he did during the press tour was talking about his weight-loss regime.
However, it wasn’t always like that. Indiana Jones, Mel Gibson in all the Lethal Weapons or Tobey Maguire in the first Spider-Man – they were fit, but that was not so important. The other example is Hugh Jackman who marked the role of Wolverine and who always tried to improve his body to match the comic-book Wolverine.
In a 2015 interview Jackman said: “With the first three X-Men films, I never had Wolverine exactly how I wanted him to look, to be honest. Now I want Logan to look animalistic, savage, carnal, veins popping out, and coiled like a spring. I wanted audiences to say, ‘O.K., this guy could quite easily rip someone’s head off.’”
The first X-Men movies were made before the explosion of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Jackman set the bar high with his appearance and every other superhero after him, such as Captain America, Thor, and Superman, had to look just perfect.
Hugh Jackman’s double Davenport says that his superhero’s posture influenced others. He said: “Everybody just looks to upgrade everything. They want a bigger house, they want a faster car, they want a better version of their iPhones. That mentality just kind of skimmed over to people’s bodies. Somebody always seems to raise the bar and that just becomes the new normal.” This is true – just think about the movie 300.
According to the trainer Jason Walsh, films and social media have inspired “a new evolution in training. It’s bigger now than it ever has been.” He worked with Matt Damon and John Krasinski. There are several ways of building your muscles – you can either be like Dwayne Johnson or Arnold Schwarzenegger, or lost most of your fat so that you look as defined as possible. Davenport declared: “What helps that is if you just stay on the leaner side. The more shredded you are, the more massive you look.” He cites Daniel Craig in Casino Royale, as an example: “He looks massive when he’s walking out of the water in the beach, but he’s just shredded.”
This isn’t just the trend with men, it is also with women and Walsh is the guy who wants to help “empower women” who are side-lined in the world of superheroes. Walsh trained Emma Stone for one of her upcoming films, and she earned a bicep even men would be jealous of. He said: “If I told you how strong this girl is, it would blow your mind. She ate it up.” The required body standards are for women too and if you don’t believe us, just check out Halle Berry in Catwoman or Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow.
Sometimes, the actors turn to the illegal substances, and according to Walsh, that is usually because they do not have enough time to build all that muscle. However, he says that he doesn’t tolerate those methods and that you won’t find it around his stars. According to a 2014 Men’s Journal, stuntmen are usually those who use these substances. They have no trainers, nutritionists, but they need to look perfect.
Davenport said: “You’re never on a break. You are training 365 days a year. When we get a call, it’s normally a week or two before filming starts . . . if you don’t look like Wolverine right now, they’re just gonna call and find somebody who does.” However, they still need to practice, a lot. “I can put the most amazing, high-performance, nonsense-from-space gasoline in my car. But unless I turn on the ignition and hit the gas pedal, it’s not gonna go anywhere,” he continued.
When he was called to be the double, Davenport was told: “There’s a clone [in the film]. The clone is Wolverine in his prime—and that’s gonna be you . . . we need you to be big.”
He gained 18 pounds in under 60 days, and he recalls: “I didn’t see nine P.M. for I don’t even know how long. I was up by three o’clock, four o’clock in the gym, lifting as heavy as I could. My first meal—this will make you want to vomit—after I got back from the gym would be 10 hard boiled eggs, two cups of oatmeal, two cups of blueberries, two bananas, and a protein shake. That’s meal one of eight. I would literally need time after I ate to stop sweating and just not move. If I get up, I may throw up.”
He did it though. He looked like Wolverine. But when did we set such high standards and why do superheroes need to have a perfect body?