Did you know there are these things called stunt doubles that do all the dangerous things in movies that you like to pretend your favorite actor is doing because your mancrush often feels as heavy as the weight of the world? Well, there are, and we recently had the opportunity to talk to one of the best in the game, Bobby "The Body" Holland Hanton (nickname made up). Bobby has doubled for the likes of Christian Bale, Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Craig, meaning he's the real, actual badass behind Batman, Thor and James Bond, even though a lot of people are paid a lot of money to make sure you never, ever see his face. Because Bobby's job calls for him to do radical shit as well as be decidedly ripped, we spoke to him about how he trains and how he keeps his skin looking smooth as hell amidst literal shit storms of fire, dust and glass and a whole lot of other things that scare the shit out of us because all we do is wear cool clothes and complain on the Internet.
What's the most dangerous stunt you've ever done?
Well, it depends whether you're going through a breakaway wall or breakaway glass, or if there's fires or explosions. We obviously take many precautions and use a fire gel to protect the skin. It really just depends. I just did Thor 2 and we did need a massive fight scene in Greenwich where there's explosions going off and there's columns falling and things are crashing into cars so we had to take a lot of precautions so that no one was seriously injured.
Mimicking the physique of the stars you are doubling for is also a large part of your job, correct? Can you talk about how you go about training?
Well it starts with analyzing the person who I will be working with and understanding where I will have to make improvements and such so that when I show up for shooting, I look as much like the actors as I possibly can. So a lot of it is of course the diet and the training, but it's also watching the actors and seeing how they move and walk.
Can you speak about one of the more challenging instances of that? An instance where you knew it was going to be challenging to match the physique of the star because of their unique build or something?
I'm with Chris Hemsworth now and we just recently worked on Thor 2, and we also worked on Snow White before that, right after I finished Batman. I'm 6'1" and he's 6'4", but it was a real challenge to match him because he's got one of those freak physiques. He's kind of built like a robot, he's huge, lean and built. So really I just had to stay on top of it to get the results I wanted, you know, training basically anytime we weren't shooting. After shooting though I use Dove Men+Care which I need to use because for me I've got tattoos that need to be covered up which means a lot of make-up and prosthetics on my skin. That stuff can be quite irritating on the skin, so for me it's hard to find a product that will minimize irritation and I've found the Dove products do it quite well. On Thor I also had pins in my hair for 14 hours a day which doesn't really give it much chance to breath, so I use a thickening shampoo which helps rejuvenate it.
You worked with Christian Bale on Batman, but has there ever been someone you were particularly excited to work with?
Yeah, well like you said I stunt doubled for Christian on The Dark Knight Rises, and I was always a big fan of his and the Batman movies. It was always something I've wanted to do if the opportunity ever came up, and it turned out to be one of the best jobs I've ever done because there was a ton of actors I got to work with who I absolutely adore including Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman. To work on that movie was a dream come true. I'm also currently working with Ron Howard on Heart Of The Sea and I'm a huge fan of his.
Can you talk about the best stunt you did on The Dark Knight Rises? Was it maybe fighting Tom Hardy, his stunt double? I don't know how that works haha.
Well yeah I really enjoyed filming those iconic fight scenes in Bane's lair, but the most exciting one for me was a 100 foot drop I did when I was doubling Bruce Wayne when he's climbing out of the pit and jumps and misses it. That was a 100 foot high fall for me on a descender rig, so that was definitely something else for me check off the list. It ended up being a stunt that worked out fantastically well.
Are there any projects your working on in the future where you know there's a big stunt you're excited to do?
Well like I said right now I'm working with Chris Hemsworth again on Heart Of The Sea, so I really hope that I would be able to work on the next Avengers considering the success of the first one and my work on Thor. There's also the new Star Wars franchise that is starting up and the new Bond, you know the 4th Daniel Craig James Bond movie. There's a lot going on right now, so hopefully if I'm in the right place at the right time I'll be able to get a few of those gigs.
Going back to matching the physiques of the actors you work with, what exactly is your plan for achieving your fitness goals? What are some general tips you have for guys who maybe aspire to achieve a specific physique?
I would really say, and most people don't realize it, but really 85% of achieving your goals are sticking to a strict diet to achieve those goals. The diet is very, very important to what I do, it's also very difficult. On Thor I was sticking to a very strict diet where I basically took salt and sugar out of everything, and that's very difficult. People don't realize how much sugar there is in just regular carbs like bread, which a big no-no. It's a very complex diet to maintain, but the training is also important. I'm very lucky anyway because my background is gymnastics, which I was doing from the time I was 4 until I gave up competition at age 17. My muscle memory has always been fairly good so I can kind sort of shape my body pretty well. But a lot of what I do is body weight stuff because that's what I used to do that gym, so chin ups, press ups, dips. My advice to anyone looking to achieve a specific physique is really to get the diet in place and then adapt the training around that.