How the Star Wars Cast Got into Fighting Shape for The Last Jedi
f you are not one of the millions of people who have packed the theaters to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi, rest assured there is more than enough lightsaber twirling, blaster fire, and shots of actors running from one set piece to the next for one action movie. As for the stars themselves, it took more than CGI to turn Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, and Oscar Isaac into action heroes. (Or to put those pecs in that shirtless Kylo Ren scene.) For that, they had trainers on set. And getting there is all in the recovery.
To prepare their bodies for the combat style and rhythm of Jedi warriors, Ridley, Driver, and Hamill did martial arts training, says Christopher Vincent of Althus Health. Vincent was on set to work with actors during the filming of The Last Jedi, as well as Rogue One and The Force Awakens. He told the New York Post that Ridley, Driver, and Hamill also did plank-based exercises, pull-ups, and push-ups to work on their core muscles. The cast used plenty of medicine balls, resistance bands, and free weights to get how they looked, too.
Then, all the actors followed a higher-fat, higher-protein diet with fewer carbs, similar to that of a marathon runner. “Their diet was very high in vegetables and probiotics like kombucha—the gut really affects your recovery, your acuteness of the brain, your immune system," said Vincent.
And finally, Vincent gave the main actors—including Isaac—their best chance at muscle recovery with a cold and compression sleeve to reduce muscle swelling and pain. The sleeve—Vincent used one from Game Ready, which costs $300 and is only available with a prescription—circulates ice water as it compresses the muscle tissue, combining the recovery power of an ice pack or bath and a regular compression sleeve. That all makes for a speedier recovery time after a grueling day of stunts and workouts.
“Normally, we could train [actors] two times a week, but with this recovery technique, we can work with them five times a week, sometimes more,” Vincent said.
A little different than the swamps on Dagobah, but obviously, it worked. And it might just keep the cast in tip-top fighting shape well into their eighties for the inevitable trilogies to come.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.