Here's how Michael B. Jordan got absolutely ripped for his role in 'Black Panther'
I can imagine that one of the hardest parts of being an actor is the dramatic body transformations that you have to undertake in order to get into your role. There are several noticeable cases of this transformation, with Christian Bale in The Machinist being one of the most jaw-dropping and shocking examples in living memory.
Another actor who knows all too well about the rigmarole of physically getting into character is Michael B. Jordan. Jordan was in the best shape of his life when he appeared in the hit movie "Creed," but in order to get into character to become a superhero villain in "Black Panther", Jordan had to become superhero big.
Luckily for the actor, celebrity trainer Corey Calliet was on hand to help him bulk up for the role. The pair had worked together on the 2015 movie 'Fantastic Four' and have remained in contact ever since. According to Calliet, Jordan could barely lift 25 pounds when they started training, but by the end of the filming, producers asked Calliet to slow down the training as the actor could barely fit inside of his Johnny Storm suit.
Calliet said that Jordan contacted him about playing Erik Killmonger in "Black Panther," with the actor sending him a picture of the character from a comic book.
"He told me, 'I need to look like this,' and it's a picture of Killmonger fighting Black Panther," Calliet told Business Insider. "He was very big, so I knew I had to make Mike look like a free safety or a Marine. If you want to be a villain you have to have that savage type of demeanor."
In order to get Jordan into the type of shape that was required, Calliet put him through a different type of workout compared to that of 'Creed'. Instead of focusing on the cardio work that gave Jordan his boxer physique, the pair focused on a weightlifting program that quickly bulked the actor up.
The training was nothing fancy, with it just being basic weight training: bench press, lat pull-downs, and deadlifts — all while eating six meals a day. The training went on for numerous months, with Jordan hitting the gym six days a week. Such was the sudden increase in strength, Jordan began lifting 115-pound dumbbells.
Calliet said Jordan added 15 pounds of muscle in the build-up to Black Panther. The trainer claims that none of it was enjoyable for the actor.
"The way I train, the person never gets used to it," Calliet said. "I would have him do squats and then move right to burpees — that's not a good feeling. It was nothing that was enjoyable."
However, both men couldn't be happier with the final result. Calliet said that when he saw Jordan on-screen he got chills.
"When I was bodybuilding competing the saying always was, 'Shows are won from the back,' so that scene where Killmonger and Black Panther fight, you can see Mike's back and the definition and the lat spread, all the work we put in is highlighted in that one scene."
But, despite the gruelling regime, the work continues. The shooting for "Creed 2" begins in April and Calliet and Jordan have been back in the gym, training the actor to look like a boxer once more.
"We were in New York City working out at 3 a.m. the other day," Calliet said. "I promise you, the body I'm bringing to the screen for 'Creed 2' is going to be better than any of the work I've ever done."
It's a pretty incredible transformation for Jordan, who was lifting close to four times what he used to be able to. While it's easy to think actors have it easy, the fitness regimes that they have to carry out are both gruelling and extreme.