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.
“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.”