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."
RELATED: Inside Hollywood's Muscle Factory
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.
Anyone familiar with the video game Prince of Persia knows that Dastan's most important physical attribute is agility, not strength. The guy spends a lot of time jumping, rolling, and generally bouncing off of things before swinging the occasional scimitar. No surprise then that Hanton prepared to double Jake Gyllenhaal with dynamic gym sessions during which he refused to stand still. Rather than lifting big weights and standing around between reps, the stuntman sprinted up inclines, lifted light weights, and kept moving.
"You're still sweating and you're still working your muscle groups," says Hanton. "I just took that from my days in gymnastics. That's what we used to do in the gym."
Stretching was a key component of this workout, which was designed to create a more athletic body – think soccer player instead of football player (or receiver instead of running back). The Prince was never going to defeat Zolm with strength alone.