Bobby Holland Hanton is a strong dude with a great body – it just isn't his body. Well, not exactly. With over a dozen summer blockbusters to his name over the last three years, Hanton is arguably Hollywood's top stunt double. That means the Australian ex-gymnast has to be agile and tough, but also capable of morphing himself into the shape of the leading man he's doubling.
"It's up to you to get into the shape as close as possible of the actor you're doubling or you will lose the job," he explains. "That's how simple it is. If you're not matching up or the director doesn't believe that you’re a good double for him, they will just replace you."
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The easiest element of Hanton's job turns out to be the part where he falls off buildings and jumps through plate glass windows. The real work happens in the gym, where he focuses his efforts on different muscles depending on whether he's playing a Norse god, a British superspy, or an alien soldier with wolf DNA. Hanton walked Men's Journal through the various workouts he uses to take the form of the world's most famous leading men.
Batman – Christopher Nolan's version anyway – is an unusual superhero. He’s a martial arts master with a very large garage, a technologically impressive fanny pack, and a suit that, rather than showcase muscle, comes with definition built in. The challenge for Hanton when he went to work on 2012's The Dark Knight Rises was shedding weight so he could play a more agile version of the broken Caped Crusader trying to escape from a jail pit in nowhere-in-particular, India.
In order to accomplish this, Hanton changed his diet dramatically. He ingested just 500 calories a day, most of which was tuna and apples, while continuing to work out. In order to save energy, Hanton spent a lot of time sleeping. When he was awake, he was in the gym. When he was asleep, he was probably dreaming about food.
"Sleep is important," says Hanton. "So is the occasional indulgence. I would have a two-hour window when I could eat whatever I wanted. That was my favorite day of the week."