Life on planet C-53 -- Earth to us -- isn't for the faint of heart. You might come to blows with the Kree or Skrulls, or even a cat named Goose. Carol Danvers and her crew (and adversaries, too) must always be ready for action.
"Captain Marvel" cast members Brie Larson (who plays Danvers, the lead role), Samuel L. Jackson, Gemma Chan, Jude Law and Lashana Lynch discussed with espnW how they physically prepared for their roles and stunts.
According to the actors, becoming "Marvel ready" meant a commitment to weight training, kickboxing or sniper school, depending on their character's assigned arsenal. Even then, some weren't ready for the unique challenges posed by their suits. The film, the first in the Marvel franchise to focus principally on a female superhero, will be released Friday.
The interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
How did you get your body prepared for the physical demands of a Marvel film?
Brie Larson: I did about nine months of training, which maybe was a little excessive, but I still feel like I could have done more. I trained for an hour and a half every day for six months -- a mixture of cardio and weights. I progressively lifted more and more as time went on.
Then three months before we started filming, I was [doing] two-a-days. I would do an hour and a half in the morning, go home, eat a lot of food, take a nap, change my clothes and then go to the stunt gym and do two hours of stunt training.
Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury): Brie used to send me workout videos, which were like crazy dope workout videos. The first one she sent me, she was lifting like a hundred pounds. She was doing this thing with the waist-lift, about a hundred pounds. The last one she sent me was 350 [pounds]. She does chin-ups. And she sent me a video of her pushing a Jeep up a hill. It's pretty amazing stuff.
I have an age limit. I'm done with all of that. I'm , I go to Pilates. I only push my body weight. I don't mess with any other weights.
Jude Law (Yon-Rogg): I've been Marvel ready for 20 years. I've just been on pause waiting for that green light. No, but seriously, there was a bunch of fight training that I did in preparation for one sequence.
Gemma Chan (Minn-Erva): I did a bunch of kickboxing and boxing training. I also did a bit of sniper school, which [trains you in marksmanship, sniper equipment and combat tactics].
Lashana Lynch (Maria Rambeau): Well, I like the gym anyway. And I do a lot of classes, so I just continued in that lane. My friends and I had a squat challenge going on. I did a hundred squats a day. It helped get my whole core together.
Did you do stunt training or pick up any specialized skills for your role?
Larson: There were certain things that I wasn't going to be able to do because I don't have a background in gymnastics. But my focus was more on doing the fight sequences. I wanted to hold on to the scenes longer and not have so many cut points (edited transitions in the film). The fight training was a mixture of stuff. It started with just footwork, learning how to move, like the simple steps. Then I got into hands and then learning other things like rolls -- shoulder rolls, side rolls and rolling over objects. All the things that you see in action movies that you like but don't realize that the actor has to learn.
I had to do some stance work, too. I had to learn how to stand powerfully. I had seen boxing matches where you see the fighters kind of, like, hold their fists up. I had to learn how to do things like that. And then there was [stunt-focused] wire work, which meant getting comfortable being in a harness, getting fitted for a harness, learning how to be comfortable 50 feet up in the air. Yeah, things like that.
Chan: I had to learn how to shoot. My character is an expert sniper. So, I had to learn how to hold the rifle and crawl with it. I had to get into different positions with the rifle.
We also had to train for the suit. The costume is like wearing a resistance suit. The suit keeps you in one position, so you have to lift your arm and work against it.
Law: Once you've had your costume fitted, you have to watch your weight because otherwise there's no getting back into the suit. If you put on any weight, you're going to feel it.
Chan: I was told I had to train for the suit.
Lynch: Flying an F-16 [aircraft] had to be the highlight of everything. And I really wanted to meet female fighter pilots who were in charge of their squadron and who were mothers and wives and had a household that they were holding down as well as running things at work. I spent two days with these amazing fighter pilots, and they literally trained me for a day.
And then the next day we flew the F-16, and it was the best experience of my life. I'm able to pull 6.9 Gs [gravitational force]. No matter what happens in the world and my life, I can tell my grandkids that.
Did you do any of your stunts?
Larson: Yes. There was a challenging sequence with Jude, and the only reason why I'd say it was the most challenging was that it was the first long fight sequence of the movie. And I wanted to get it right. We had to come out of the gate strong, so we spent quite a bit of time rehearsing that one. Once I got through that, I realized I could do 95 percent of that sequence. I could snap into it.
The stunts were some of my favorite parts of the movie.
Law: Yep, I did many of them. There's a sequence at the beginning, which took weeks and weeks to prep for. It's sort of a training sequence where my character is in the dojo with Brie's character. And the funny thing is as you get shown technique, you understand that you can handle it.
But then you put the suit on and you can barely get out of your chair. The effort is more trying to make it look comfortable in this suit that is very resistant. Gemma nearly took herself out with a rifle.
Chan: The rifle that we used in practice was shorter than the one that I had to use on set, which threw me [off] a little bit. But no injuries, luckily.
Benhameen of For All Nerds contributed to this report.