James McAvoy is in unbelievable shape for his new film Glass, a sequel to 2017 sleeper hit Split, both directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
The 39-year-old Scot says getting into the best shape of his life was essential for the extremely physical role of Dissociative Identity Disorder sufferer Kevin Wendell Crumb, or more precisely his most sinister personality: The Beast, as he spends most of the film stripped to the waist.
“I didn’t wanna just be in good shape just for the sake of being in good shape,” McAvoy tells Yahoo Movies UK.
“But there wasn’t any costume. There was no muscle suit, there’s no costume that has a six-pack built in it, you know what I mean? You can get all that.”
Some superheroes in the past have been able to cheat being in great shape by hiding their bodies under rippling supersuits (Verhoeven era-Batman for example), and more recently Zachary Levi’s Shazam has been called into question for reportedly wearing a muscle-suit underneath his costume.
McAvoy’s Beast had no such luxury.
“I had to have my shirt off all the time,” adds the X-Men: Dark Phoenix star, “plus I had to be this animal guy, who doesn’t just stand there like ‘I’m going to come beat you up’, he’s like seething and drooling, and pumped the whole time. So I was very aware that I couldn’t get away with that unless I backed it up with a little bit of that superhero, supervillain aesthetic.”
The usually-slight actor got stacked for 2017’s Split, but he’s even bigger in Glass, which sees his character on the run from the law, and Unbreakable’s David Dunn (Bruce Willis) in hot pursuit.
In 2017 McAvoy set the record straight about his fitness regime after headlines circulated that suggested he was eating 6,000 calories a day to pack on the pounds.
On Instagram, McAvoy rebuked: “The interview was done at the beginning of the year and me saying ‘I ate 6000 calories a day’ is inaccurate, was meant as a joke and is being widely used out of context.”
He credits his personal trainer Magnus Lygdback for the gains, saying they never counted “a single calorie” during his transformation.
“He’s very, very clever,” McAvoy explains to us, “He’s very, very good at getting people bigger and musclier, quickly, in the most comfortable way possible. He managed to save me a bit of pain, because I’m pretty sure I would have hurt myself otherwise.”
Glass is in cinemas now.
Watch a new clip below, featuring James McAvoy and Samuel L. Jackson as Mr. Glass.