4. Bronson (2008)
Hardy tried to get the look of a “brawny bare-knuckle brawler” to play Michael Gordon Peterson, aka Charles Bronson—the “most dangerous prisoner in Britain,” as Hardy put it in this video interview about the film. Hardy spent time visiting jail and speaking with the real Bronson, who spent most of his adult life in prison. Hardy only had five weeks to physically prepare for the role, and ended up gaining around 40lbs.
“It was a race against the clock: We didn’t have any time to waste, so I started eating and my arse very quickly got very fat,” Hardy said in an interview with Ask Men about the film. “For Bronson, I put on about 7lbs a week—with no steroids. In the end I’d put on about two and a half stone by eating chicken and rice, which was my staple diet throughout the day. Then I’d have a pizza, Häagen-Dazs, and Coca-Cola: So not good stuff, but I had to put weight on. I needed to put a layer of fat on my body, because Bronson when he was younger was a big guy, a brawler. My diet was lenient as we weren’t going for the Bruce Lee look, and we weren’t looking for the cut.
“My approach was to do a lot of repetitions in order to send messages to my muscles. This helps them start to grow in a way that you can’t make them in the gym. To achieve dense muscle, you need a specific kind of training,” Hardy said in the interview. “Also, to ‘become’ Charlie Bronson I had to quickly put a lot of weight quickly on my forearms, chest, and neck. By the time I’d finished, my legs looked like those of a stork in comparison to the top half of my body.”
Here’s a video of Hardy training for the film.
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