Action flicks are Hollywood’s bread and butter, but it’s not enough for these female heroines to be talented and beautiful they also have to kick ass.
From soldiers and spies to psychotic ballerinas, these women put in maximum hustle before the cameras ever started rolling.
Gal Gadot already had the face to play Wonder Woman in Batman versus Superman: Dawn of Justice — but it took some serious working-out to turn her runway model-body into an Amazonian temple of power for Wonder Woman’s stand-alone flick.
Gadot, who was unable to do a single pullup at the start of her training, spent nine months bulking up for the role. “They cast me when I was super skinny and I never knew how it feels to be built and to be really strong and it felt really good.” By the time she was in front of the cameras, she’d gained seventeen pounds of muscle, while learning to ride horseback and sword fight.
She told Glamour, “When you feel strong, it changes everything — your posture, the way you walk. I look at photos from five years ago and think, Whoa, I was too skinny.”
Between playing Black Widow in the Marvel Universe, and a cyborg assassin in Ghost in the Shell, Scarlett Johansson has had to stay in constant peak physical condition since 2010. But for the latter, she had to wield a wide variety of lethal objects, too. Johansson described her training regimen for Ghost in the Shell as, “…A lot of tactical training, which I’d never done before — with room clearing and all that stuff, to just be as efficient with the weapons as possible.” “I can pick up fight choreography with much more ease now than I could 10 years ago.” “I try to train self-defense on my own.” “I can tell I’m scared of you.”
Until recently, Alison Brie was best known for playing the delicate Trudy on Mad Men. So when she landed a starring role in Netflix’s GLOW, she had to train like a madwoman to get in literal fighting shape. “I feel just much stronger than I ever have.” Brie’s knockout workout involved hurling weighted objects onto the gym floor; or lugging 3 times her body-weight across the room. Trainer Jason Walsh said his goal was to turn Brie into someone who could both dish out and take a hit, saying, “Alison would be jumping off ropes and landing on people and flipping. I wanted to get her resilient so she didn’t run the risk of injury.” “There’s a lot of crotch to face!”
Even though she never appeared onscreen as herself, Zoe Saldana endured a killer training regimen for her performance as Neytiri in Avatar. Not only did the actress need to learn archery, martial arts, and how to ride a horse bareback, she also had to learn Na’vi, the fictional language featured in the movie. And then she had to do it all, while wearing a motion capture suit and head camera. All together, Saldana spent a whopping eighteen months preparing for the role.
Daisy Ridley In the years since Star Wars:
The Force Awakens made Daisy Ridley a mega-star, nasty internet trolls chased the actress off Instagram, where she used to diligently document the workout program that helped her get into Jedi condition. But thankfully, Ridley’s newer training clips are popping up everywhere — and her awe-inspiring training sessions are even more intense than before.