With “Fight Club” and “Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood”, “Troy” is the other Brad Pitt film where he proves that he is an incomparable “plastic” actor. To embody the demigod Achilles, hero of the Trojan War, the actor thus went through intense physical preparation, to which his coach returned.
When Brad Pitt becomes the mythological hero Achilles
In 2004, Wolfgang Petersen presented his ambitious peplum Troy. As its title suggests, it tells the Troy war, from the arrival of the Greek expedition at Troy until the death of Achilles. A legendary conflict between Greeks and Trojans whose historical reality is disputed, and which is especially famous for the story that Homer makes of it in The Illiad, one of the great sources of Greek mythology.
In Troythe main character is Achilles, Greek hero and demigod, physically invincible since being completely submerged by his mother in the Styx, except for his heel and foot, his only physical weakness. Great warrior and “champion” of Menelaus, king of Sparta and unifier of the Greek forces against Troy, Achilles is one of the most famous demigods of Greek mythology. To embody him, therefore, an actor capable of embodying such a character was needed, a true Hollywood “demi-god”: brad pitt.
Endowed with herculean strength and the physique of Apollo, Achille is above all a body made for combat, a beast of war. Thus, to prepare for it, Brad Pitt engaged in intense physical preparation with former Navy Seal and sports coach Duffy Gaver. This detailed in Esquire magazine the principles and program followed by the actor.
Objective: to obtain a historically authentic physique
Before taking on the role of Achille in Troy, Brad Pitt had slimmed down for a role in a film that never went into production. But he promised Wolfgang Petersen that he would succeed in gaining the muscles and the necessary look, in six months time. This didn’t necessarily mean gaining as much muscle as possible, but rather sticking to the reality of what was the body of an athletic warrior in ancient Greek times. Thus, Duffy Gaver explains:
We talked about what was aesthetically good for a male body. If you look at Greco-Roman wrestlers, they don’t go to the gym. They just do their job and are naturally amazing. You don’t want the audience to be like, “Wow, I’m sure he does a lot of bench press.” Because it has nothing to do with the movie.
To stick to this historical truth, the decision was thus to do not over-develop the pecs. Firstly because it would have visually reduced his arms and shoulders, and also because, “unless you’re an NFL player and need to weigh more, there isn’t much “athleticism” that comes from a very developed chest.”
The instruction was therefore to focus on the muscles of the back, shoulders and arms. Simple but long repeated exercises of push-ups, pull-ups, squats and “bend rows” with dumbbells. And, since nutrition is also key to such preparation, the menu was always the same: chicken, broccoli, brown rice.
It had become a joke: “Chicken, broccoli, brown rice”. So much so that, months later, Brad was talking with people, and my name came up in conversation. They said “Chicken?” and Brad continued: “Yeah, broccoli, brown rice”.
A fascinating result, even for Brad Pitt’s partners
Result of the races, the physical performance of Brad Pitt is impressive. She is, with her performances in fight club and Once Upon a Time in… Hollywoodone of three plastic “masterpieces” of his filmography. So much so that her playmates raved about her beauty and male physical perfection which he then represented. This was for example the case of Brian Cox, who plays Agamemnon in Troyand who told it in his memoirs.
He had never been in costumes like that. (…) Brad came forward and I was speechless as he was magnificent. I mean, I’m heterosexual, but I thought, “Wow, my God, this guy is really great! Who’s lucky enough to be on screen with this gorgeous, gorgeous man?”
And if a sorrowful mind thinks this is all puffiness and delusion, he would be seriously mistaken. For the epic duel between Achilles and Hector (video above), Eric Bana and Brad Pitt shot it themselves, without stunt doubles. They had agreed on a system of fines in case the blows were too strong. Results : Brad Pitt had to pay Eric Bana $750. And he owed him nothing…
We wish to give thanks to the writer of this article for this incredible material
Troy: how Brad Pitt built himself a body of a demi-god – CinéSéries