Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis' characters from "Unbreakable" meet James McAvoy's from "Split" in the M. Night Shyamalan thriller "Glass."
Hugh Jackman’s the guy who usually gets muscular to play Wolverine for the “X-Men” movies. But if you notice James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier is a little buffer than usual in the upcoming “Dark Phoenix,” it isn’t so he looks better in his wheelchair.
McAvoy spent a good chunk of that superhero movie (out June 7) working out in his downtime to look super for M. Night Shyamalan’s comic-book thriller “Glass.” In the “Unbreakable” trilogy finale closer, McAvoy plays antagonist Kevin Wendell Crumb, who has 24 distinct personalities – including the primal, muscular Beast.
The Beast did show up at the end of Shyamalan’s 2017 thriller “Split,” where McAvoy ran around for two minutes in the dark and was decently jacked. But the Scottish actor found out that he’d spend much of “Glass” in the daylight, which meant he needed next-level Beast mode.
James McAvoy upped his workout regimen to look the part as Kevin Wendell Crumb's Beast personality in "Glass." (Photo: UNIVERSAL PICTURES)
“I was like, ‘OK. I’m going to have my shirt off, aren’t I?’ And (Shyamalan) was like, ‘Yep,’” McAvoy says. “I knew I had to get down in the gym and kind of back up his name. I had to give a little bit of aesthetic credibility to that fear that he’s supposed to inspire in people.”
McAvoy hired Swedish personal trainer Magnus Lygdback – who had Alicia Vikander looking fit for “Tomb Raider” and oversaw Gal Gadot’s regimen for the sequel “Wonder Woman 1984” – and he made McAvoy work out five to six times a week and eat five meals a day all the way through “Dark Phoenix” filming. “Professor X is probably bigger than he’s ever been as well; you’ll see,” McAvoy says, laughing.
And doing “Glass,” McAvoy adds, “you’re in every day working your socks off (acting), and you’re also in the gym at 5 in the morning and then pretty much working out on set whenever you are the Beast to get you all pumped up and get your veins popping and get the relevant muscles swollen for the shot.”
At the London premiere of much anticipated superhero film "Glass," James McAvoy talks getting fit, Samuel L Jackson muses on reprising his "Unbreakable" role and director M. Night Shyamalan reveals what drove him to make the movie. (Jan. 10)
But having oversized traps is only part of being the Beast.
“Look, he’s not like a supervillain in most movies who’s like, ‘I look like I’ve got a six pack and I’m going to destroy the world!’ ” McAvoy says. “He is not a megalomaniacal, despotic human. He is alien. He is animal. He is other than human.” And he’s also very exhausting: Playing this creature was “knackering, man,” the actor says. “Just standing still as the Beast was tiring in a way that no other character is.”
McAvoy admits that he’s always enjoyed the physical aspects of acting and “this was a real massive, extreme example of that for me in a way that I’ve never done before.” It’s also made him more impressed with other actors “like The Rock and Hugh Jackman and Chris Hemsworth – the guys who keep themselves in that condition every day. That dedication is incredible.”
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