Superhero movies have been insanely popular over the last few years, and one of the biggest names in Comic book movies is Marvel Comics. The Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU started out with Iron Man in 2008, and has produced 16 films since then and has grossed over $12.5 billion at the global box office which makes it the most successful and highest-grossing film franchise of all time. So playing one of the most iconic characters in comic book history and being a Marvel superhero is a pretty big deal.
You’d be filling very big shoes or costumes. You need to have the acting skills to portray the character just right, and also the body to make you look like a superhero. Who would believe that a scrawny guy is a superhero, right? Here are a list of Marvel actors before and after landing their iconic roles.
Chris Evans – Captain America
Chris Evans has already played a Marvel superhero before landing the iconic role of Captain America. The two Fantastic Four movies that Evans played in wasn’t part of the MCU. During his role as the Human Torch, he was already pretty buff and in all of his past role he always had an athletic body, but when we first saw him shirtless for Captain America: The First Avenger back in 2011, we were all surprised how muscular he’s gotten.
In the movies, the skinny Steve Rogers underwent an experimental dose of super-soldier serum that turned him into a peak human specimen, but in real life, Chris Evans had to do months of intense training and strict diets. He was paired with Hollywood personal trainer Simon Waterson. Evans’ training regimen consisted of high-weight/low-rep sets of the classic compound lifts, such as deadlifts, incline bench presses, squats and weighted dips and chin-ups, in order for him to add lean mass very quickly.
Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man
Before landing the role of the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist, Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr. had a skinny frame. He weighed at around 150 pounds when he first started training for his role as Iron Man. His personal trainer Brad Bose had him train in alternating periods of heavy weight/low reps with lighter weight/high reps workouts. He had to train for at least four days a week with sessions lasting from 40 minutes to 90 minutes.
The length of the training sessions varied in order to keep Downey on his toes, and always give it everything he’s got. “We really focused on the old-school heavy lifting. Military presses, dips, and bench presses. Keep him ripped but maintain the muscle mass” says Bose. Downey was put on a strict, clean, calorie-dense diet, which consisted of 30% protein, 30% fat, and 40% carbohydrates. He had to eat every three hours and was taking in about 5,000 calories a day for around nine months. By the time end of the training and the start of the filming, Downey already added 25 pounds of lean muscle.
Chris Hemsworth – Thor
Out of all the Marvel superhero transformations, Chris Hemsworth maybe the most impressive. Before playing the Asgardian Prince, Chris already had an athletic body, but he needed to gain a lot of lean mass to play the god of thunder on screen. He gained 20 pounds of lean mass for his role as Thor in 2011.
He was trained by celebrity personal trainer Duffy Gaver. He had to do a lot of weight lifting workouts with 5-day per week 90-minute workouts. His workout regimen were heavy compound exercises such as bench presses, deadlifts, and squats. In order to gain the needed lean muscle mass, he had to eat a lot. They adjusted his protein intake and had to eat around 4000 calories a day at the beginning. He even got too big to fit in his Thor costume, so they decided that he needed to lose a little mass and developed a more lean body. After filming The Avengers, Chris even had to lose 30 pounds in just 4 months for his role in the movie Rush, then gain back the lost weight and muscles for Thor 2. Now that’s some pretty impressive body transformations.