After watching Hercules" in theaters on July 25, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson wants you to come away with one thing on your mind: that you've just witnessed the biggest, meanest, baddest and, more importantly, most definitive version of Hercules ever seen on the big screen.
For the majority of Hollywood's action stars, the task of realistically portraying an ancient Greek demigod would be more challenging than combining all 12 labors the mythical son of Zeus had to undertake. Many have tried in the past, and many have failed. Even for Johnson, with 260 pounds of muscle already clinging to his massive 6-foot-5 frame, it would prove no mean feat.
But after spending the majority of his life in the gym training to be a professional football player, world-renowned pro wrestler, and one of Hollywood's highest-ever grossing movie stars, it was a labor he had all the weapons to overcome.
Here, in his own words, Johnson reveals how he obtained the skin-stretching muscle he needed for his starring role as Hercules, and explains why nutrition is the most important facet of getting big.
When you're an athlete-turned-actor who already has a physique idolized by millions around the world, you might think it would be easy to rest on your laurels. Not so with Dwayne Johnson. That's why he was Hollywood's highest-grossing movie star of 2013, with his four films pulling in $1.3 billion at the box office.
If there's one thing life has taught the former national championship-winning footballer, it's that you only get what you're willing to put in. That's why he dedicates so much of his time and energy to making sure he's at his physical peak when he steps onto the movie set.
"For different roles my condition and training and diet does alter, " Johnson states. "Depending on the role, it will really dictate the type of training I do. For 'Hercules, ' it was a 22-week diet, while for 'G.I. Joe: Retaliation' it was about a 14-week diet, and for 'Pain & Gain' I wanted to come out looking bulky, big, and dangerous, so we adjusted accordingly.