Watching an actor go through a physical transformation can be inspiring. Sure, the big stars are being paid a lot of money to do what they do, but simultaneously it's incredibly easy to appreciate the determination and hard work. Case in point, Academy Award winner Brie Larson actually became so strong while filming Captain Marvel that she was actually able to push a full sized Jeep up a steep hill. In Larson's own words,
It was a joke with the trainer, with my trainer, Jason Walsh, that I wanted to be able to ... we were joking about it, that like, 'Well, if I'm gonna go for it...' Because I spent nine months training with him ahead of time, and I was getting super strong. And I was like, 'Well, she can move planets, the least I could do is move a car.'
When Captain Marvel was in production in Los Angeles earlier this year I had the immense pleasure of visiting the set along with a small group of other journalists, and it was during that trip that I learned of Brie Larson's impressive feat. There had been plenty of stories swirling around at the time about the work the actress was putting in for the part, but the full scope of the amazing effort became fully realized when we had the chance to sit down with Samuel L. Jackson and talk about his work on the film alongside his co-star.
Toward the end of interview Jackson was asked about his time with Brie Larson (with whom he had previously collaborated on the blockbuster Kong: Skull Island and Larson's directorial debut, Unicorn Store), and he had the biggest smile on his face while discussing the actresses' specialized training. He revealed that she had actually sent him videos of her personal workout during Captain Marvel's pre-production, and one of those clips included her positioned behind a Jeep in neutral gear pushing it up a hill. Said Jackson,
She's like five percent body fat now. She 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. She does chin-ups. And she sent me a video of her pushing a Jeep up a hill. It's pretty amazing stuff. She's made a distinct transformation that I don't think a lot of people would be willing to do. It's a huge commitment to do stuff like that.
More than just telling us about the video, Sam Jackson actually showed it to us on his phone -- and it was legitimately remarkable to watch. Brie Larson may not be able to fly or harness cosmic energy, but in the making of Captain Marvel she did start to border on something close to super strength.
What makes this story perhaps even more impressive is that apparently pushing the Jeep wasn't even that big of a deal for Brie Larson. During her on-set interview, she was asked about the video Sam Jackson's showed us, and one thing she made a note of is that it wasn't actually the extreme challenge she thought it would be -- even with the added weight of a person sitting in the driver's seat. The actress explained,
I just showed up in the gym one day and he was like, 'All right, let's do it.' And I pushed the car. And it wasn't has hard as I thought, which was kind of crazy. There was someone in the front seat in case for some reason, the car is in neutral, but it's going uphill. And I pushed it for a minute. Someone was in the car in case I, like, crapped out, so it wouldn't run me over. There was someone waiting there to put their foot on the brake.
Fortunately, everything worked out exactly as planned -- though she also stressed that absolutely nobody should try and perform a similar feat at home by themselves.
So why did she do it? It wasn't for a particular sequence or even a personal goal, but instead, weirdly, because she didn't know that she didn't need to. Apparently he didn't fully realize that she could have opted out of everything and just relied on a stunt person, but at the end of the day that's not what she wanted to do anyway. Said Larson,
It really all came out of ignorance, to be honest. I didn't realize that you don't actually do your own... most people don't do their own stunts in these movies. I thought you did, and I've never been a particularly elegant or athletic person. I'm just an introvert with asthma, and felt like I needed to be able to do that. I just thought, 'I don't wanna be on set, and they ask me to do things, and I don't know how to do it.' So I started training as soon as I could.
All in all, Brie Larson put in nine months of strength training, plus three months of stunt training -- two hours a day, five days a week. And at the end of all of it came the big revelation around the start of production:
It wasn't until we started shooting, and I started doing all my own wire work stunts, and flips and stuff that people were like, 'You know nobody, now we'll tell you, nobody actually does this. We just didn't want you to stop. But now that you've kind of accomplished this thing, we don't normally do this.' And I was like, 'Huh?' But I love it.
And as you can see from the Captain Marvel trailer that debuted worldwide last night, all of that hard work definitely looks like it has paid off.
Hopefully either Brie Larson or Samuel L. Jackson will eventually publically release the Jeep pushing video, as it is really something to behold. Even if that doesn't happen, though, hopefully knowing about all of this extra hard work on behalf of the star will give you some extra appreciation for Captain Marvel when it arrives in theaters early next year on March 8, 2019.