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.
A lot was made of Daniel Craig’s beefed-up Bond when the British spy exchanged quips for parkour and face punching, but Craig was not actually a bruiser. To the contrary, his superspy was strong and lean. For Hanton, who stepped into the tailored suit on Quantum of Solace, that meant swimming to prepare for the role (big shoulders, small waist, powerful, but not ripped core) and spending a lot of time on a treadmill.
"I did a lot of swimming and a lot of circuits," says Hanton, "but it wasn’t as intense as preparing to be a superhero."
Still, the circuits weren't exactly a cakewalk. Hanton would do 12 chin-ups, 12 dips, 12 press-ups, then squats, calf raises, and curls before getting in a run. At his peak, he was going through the cycle a half dozen times an afternoon then slipping in a little chest work at the end of the day. The silver lining? Getting to put away the big weights. "Low weight and more sets – that's how I kept lean while still looking like I had size," he explains.