CREED III Star Jonathan Majors for Men’s Health Magazine

Posted on October 11, 2022

Jonathan Majors stands out in a world short on new, exciting movie stars. Rising from indie standout to blockbuster villain, he has proved himself as a multifaceted leading man. He’s about to level up with consecutive roles that combine his physical and mental strengths. None of it came easy, which is exactly how he likes it. For Men’s Health’s November issue cover story, Majors speaks with journalist Clover Hope about his intense ambition, his dedication to transformation, and shepherding Marvel through a crucial phase as the next big villain while pursuing indie projects, dealing with great expectations while still making savvy art. Plus, in his Men’s Health Train Like video, Majors shares his Creed III back and core workout.

 

 

On training for his roles and lifting real weights during filming, because anything less is “like putting fake tears in your eyes”: “If I’m going to bench-press 250 in a film, I need to be able to bench-press 275 a few times,” [correcting himself] “305 a few times…. I will do this all day. We are not putting fake weights on. I haven’t been training for the past three months to get here and use Styrofoam. Put these f*cking weights on so we can lift it, so you can shoot it, so I can tell the story.”

On doing his own stunts and convincing the audience that his characters are real: “People have been following this character for two hours sometimes. I’ve been trying so hard to tell the truth, which is not easy. A part of you will know. That’s Kang, but that’s not my Kang. That’s Kang adjacent. That’s a stunt guy. In The Harder They Fall, I ride a horse in a very particular way. You put a stunty on that, and they go, ‘He don’t got the swag. His head ain’t bopping.’ You should never once think it’s not him. You know it’s him. So you trust in him.”

On the challenge, with physical acting, of quieting your body’s natural reflexes with physical: “When you express that much discomfort, rage, or loss, that is a physical reaction. Your body doesn’t say ‘Cut!’ and you’re over it. You can’t turn it off, because it’s not acting.”

On resisting the temptation to overdo it when physical transformation is part of the job—especially when playing a chiseled superhero: “I look at Kang and I go, Okay, cool. It’s a certain IP where people expect this at a bare minimum. No one should put themselves or their families in a place where they’re hurting, but your own discomfort is not necessarily a bad thing. That’s growth. It’s not comfortable, but you’re here to save the world, aren’t you? Or take over the world.”

On how the past year of preparation for physically demanding roles has tested the limits of his mind and body: “I’ve always been athletic, but these are body roles—where the body is part of the given circumstances. Creed taught me things about my craft, my body, and the marriage of the two. There’s levels to this sh*t.”

On music: “Music is an integral part of my life. I play it often to keep some spirits away, but often to invite them. It stays with me and plays the yang to yin of silence, which I also yearn for very often.”

On how he reacted when a photo of him shirtless on set leaked online: “Now I kind of step away from that part. There’s nothing wrong with that. I embrace it. I also mostly wear hoodies when I’m out. I stay covered up. I think that’s part of being sexy. I’m not conscious of it. My brother was the pretty boy. I was never the cute boy growing up. I was just J.”

On finding romance in his work: “It’s an occupation. It actually is what occupies my mind all the time, outside of my intimate relationships. I’m lucky in that way. I just really like it. Some days it is a job. But that’s the athlete in me, where it’s like, Okay, that’s another rep; it’s the last round. There’s something romantic about that. You get off work at 4:30 in the morning, drive home in Los Angeles through Topanga Canyon, and nobody’s on the road. I bring my dogs to work. So I got my dogs in the truck. I got my windows down. Got my Radiohead playing. I’m just gunning it. That’s the best, man.”

 

[Photo Credit: AB+DM for Men’s Health Magazine]

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