Most Hollywood action movies starring male leads require their star actors to look more ripped than a gym rat about to head to stereosonic. After all, the mecca of movies insists on pushing the narrative that to be heroic, you need to have huge arms and a set of chiselled abs. The only movie series that immediately comes to mind that doesn’t portray such an image is Keanu Reeves’ John Wick, but, given the hitman’s set of skills, we’re not going to say that to his face.
Look anywhere else, however, and you’ll be inundated with male actors who have undergone rigorous workout regimes to prepare themselves for their roles. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Marvel series of superhero movies. Of course, we can get on board with the idea that to be a super-strong superhero, you need to have muscular strength. But when the actors we now associate with the superhero franchise signed their contracts, they weren’t necessarily the absolute units we know them as today (except for maybe Chris Hemsworth).
Instagram account @films_24h shows this with a series of images showing select Marvel stars before they became superheroes. Admittedly, many of the ‘before’ images are from many years before they joined the Marvel cast, and so naturally, they’re going to be a lot skinnier.
Regardless, there is no denying the amount of training they’ve had to undergo to fill out their respective superhero outfits. Perhaps the two most incredible body transformations are those of Chris Pratt and Kumail Nanjiani, who portray Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy and Kingo in Eternals, respectively.
This is because Chris is well-known for his rather rotund character Andy Dwyer in the hit sitcom Parks and Recreation. The show ran from 2009 to 2015, with filming for Guardians taking place in 2013. Chris previously had to get ripped for his role in 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty, before putting weight back on to resume his role in Parks. But when Marvel came calling, he had to hit the gym once again to turn himself into a believable defender of the galaxy.
Kumail was similarly known for his character presence; not necessarily a skinny guy, but someone who didn’t appear too bothered about going to the gym and looking ripped. For his role as Kingo in Eternals, he had to pack on some muscle and followed a rigorous workout program, which saw him hit the gym more than five times a week.
Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr., Tom Holland and Chris Hemsworth have all also committed themselves to the gym – we’ve discussed Chris’ workouts in great depth already – to look just as buff for their roles as Captain America, Iron Man, Spiderman and Thor, respectively.
Many of the comments on the aforementioned Instagram post claim the actors have all taken steroids to achieve their certified unit status. But as we’ve seen previously from German bodybuilder Jo Lindner, taking supplements such as steroids can have disastrous effects, so we’d be surprised if the movie stars would be willing to risk their careers (and health).
Instead, they have the luxury of having the time to dedicate to working out, as well as access to some of the best personal trainers and chefs, to give them foolproof workout and meal plans.
The takeaway from all this? If you’re struggling to get ripped, try your hand at auditioning for a Marvel movie.