God bless the beautiful vampire that is Paul Rudd.
At 53 years old, the actor and perpetual goofball has not only held onto his handsome mug—he’s also in better shape than ever. Rudd can, at least, partly thank his Ant-Man role for helping him develop his peak physique.
At the recent Australian premiere for his new Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (out February 17), he revealed that he trained non-stop for a full year to get ready for his Marvel superhero debut in 2015, getting his body fat down to seven percent for a lean, muscular figure.
When (oddly) asked at the premiere why he hadn’t disrobed in a previous Ant-Man film, he explained that such a scene showing off his body had indeed been shot for the original movie.
Then it got cut in the edit.
“I was shredded [for Ant-Man] and no one knows,” he laughed.
Rudd’s training for the latest Ant-Man entry was much more grueling than getting back into shape for the second film, 2018’s Ant-Man and the Wasp. “I had fallen off more than I had in the past,” he told Men’s Health. “All of a sudden my clothes fit tight. And I thought, God, this sucks. I can’t even wear these pants.”
No one would ever say Rudd looks unfit, even in his more casual Clueless and Wet Hot American Summer days. But action stars are required to do all kinds of ridiculous things to sculpt their body for the character they’re playing on the screen, and he’s certainly not the only star who’s dropped his body fat down to a single-digit percentage.
A caveat here, before you think we’re glorifying single-digit body fat: Yes, it’s super impressive to achieve it for a role or a bodybuilding competition or the like, but it’s quite unrealistic to maintain for a lifetime.
The average male’s body fat is about 15-20 percent, according to Men’s Journal, and a body-fat percentage below five percent is generally considered a sign of poor health. You should always err on the side of caution and safety when training or losing weight.
Still, Rudd’s impressive feat is reminiscent of some other startling physical transformations that male actors have undergone over the years. From an iconically svelte Brad Pitt in the ‘90s to Miles Teller hitting the beach for last year’s Top Gun: Maverick, here are more stars who memorably hit a single-digit body-fat percentage for roles:
Top Gun: Maverick had a high bar to clear in living up to the notorious ‘80s movie’s beach volleyball scene featuring a shirtless Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. Luckily, the long-awaited 2022 sequel had an ace up its sleeve in Miles Teller, always game to get cut for a role.
The golden-hued, glistening abs on Teller’s Rooster in that beach football scene became their own internet meme for good reason. Teller said he bulked up to 210 pounds with 9 percent body fat to play Rooster. But when it came time for throwing pigskin in the sand, “I cut down to 183 and about 7 percent body fat.”
FIT AFTER 40
You may not realize it, but Deadpool was not actually Ryan Reynolds’s comic book movie breakout. He had a standout funnyman role in the third Blade movie, 2004’s sorely underrated Blade: Trinity, in which he is left bleeding and bare-chested for a good bit of running time.
The sweat at the gym showed. Reynolds started training three months before shooting, and was doing 500 to 1,000 sit-ups a day, along with heavy lifting. According to trainer Bobby Strom, for both Blade: Trinity and his other pre-Deadpool superhero movie, 2011’s (disappointing) Green Lantern, Reynolds hit about 200 pounds and 8 percent body fat.
Christian Bale’s skeletal turn as The Machinist aside, there’s no more iconic physical transformation by a male actor than Brad Pitt’s stunningly grimy and brutally fit Tyler Durden in 1999’s Fight Club.
Hell, his wiry, abs-popping torso in the classic David Fincher movie has inspired its own TikTok fitness trend. Not that we can necessarily endorse it, as Pitt reportedly whittled down to a very low five percent body fat to achieve Durden’s special brand of shredded assholishness.
John Krasinski was always enjoyable, if physically unremarkable, as Jim Halpert on The Office. Then the comic actor was surprisingly cast as the lead in the 2016 Michael Bay-directed film 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.
And he turned out to be totally credible as an action leading man. Krasinski reportedly shifted from 25 percent body fat to less than 10 percent to get into Navy SEAL shape, employing metabolic movements like the sled to shed pounds while growing muscle.
You’ve likely heard some of the jaw-dropping stories about making weight, the sometimes agonizing process by which boxers, wrestlers, and fighters drop pounds while retaining muscle in order to compete.
Jonathan Majors may not be a professional in the ring, but the on-the-rise badass actor makes Michael B. Jordan look downright soft on the posters for Creed III (out February 27), which pits their boxer characters against each other.
While the 33-year-old only gained five pounds for the role, he flexed nearly all muscle. He told Men’s Health that he lowered his body fat to a scarce five percent for the role. Meanwhile, his Marvel arc as supervillain Kang is only getting started.