Michael B. Jordan stepped up his fitness regimen when he landed the role of Adonis "Donnie" Johnson Creed in 2015's "Creed." "I felt muscles I never knew I had," the actor told Men's Journal of his transformation into a boxer. In honor of the release of sequel "Creed II" on Nov. 21, 2018, Wonderwall.com rounded up several stars — from Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Wahlberg to Hilary Swank and Michelle Rodriguez — who got seriously fit to play fighters. Keep reading to take a look back at their major onscreen transformations…
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Miles Teller lost 20 pounds and dropped a lot of body fat for his role as boxer Vinny Paz in "Bleed for This." "When I got the part in March, I had 19 percent body fat and weighed 188 pounds," he told Deadline. "I got a nutritionist and a trainer over the next eight months and I had two other films in between. For those eight months, it was a strict diet and working out. When I got to Los Angeles, I got a boxing trainer, and that's when the days got intense over the next five or six weeks. Four hours a day boxing, two hours lifting weights and two hours with a dialect coach. By the time we went into production, I was 168 pounds with 6 percent body fat."
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"I was motivated by fear," Jake Gyllenhaal told Wonderwall.com of how he got in shape to play boxer Billy Hope in 2015's "Southpaw." The A-list actor trained twice a day for five months before shooting started on the film.
Hilary Swank really worked for the Oscar she won for her performance as boxer Maggie Fitzgerald in 2004's "Million Dollar Baby." "My training was two and a half hours of boxing and approximately an hour and a half to two hours [of] lifting weights every day, six days a week," she told MovieWeb of how she prepared for her role in the film.
According to Men's Health, Will Smith boxed twice a week and ran at least five miles a day, six days a week, to transform into boxing legend Muhammad Ali for 2001's "Ali." It was worth the hard work: Will earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in the film.
"We hired real boxers and really went in there and hit each other," Mark Wahlberg told Men's Health of how he trained for his role as real-life boxer Micky Ward in 2010's "The Fighter," for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination. "I was in better shape than the fighters I was shooting with," added the A-list actor.
According to Vanity Fair, Robert De Niro gained 20 pounds of muscle while training to become Jake LaMotta for 1980's "Raging Bull." The actor also trained directly with the real-life boxer, reportedly boxing some 1,000 rounds before cameras started rolling. The hard work paid off: Robert won an Oscar for his work in the film.
According to Hollywood.com, Michelle Rodriguez worked out for two to six hours a day for four and a half months and gained 7 pounds of muscle while preparing for her role as boxer Diana Guzman in 2000's "Girlfight." "I looked like I'm on steroids; I looked like a dude," the actress joked to the website.
"I had the training in six months that would normally take years, so I needed to crank everything up," Edgar Ramírez told Men's Fitness of how he prepared to play real-life boxer Roberto Durán opposite Usher's Sugar Ray Leonard in 2016's "Hands of Stone." Added the actor, "There were moments when I was doing the speed bag, just trying to learn how to move my shoulders, and I said, 'F—, I'm never going to learn this!'"
Meanwhile, Usher worked out three times a day to become Sugar Ray Leonard for 2016's "Hands of Stone." He also got in the ring with amateur fighters. "Here's the deal, you can play golf, you can play basketball, you can play baseball, you can play any sport you want. But you can't play boxing. You gotta do it," he told Howard Stern.
Brad Pitt has never looked better than he did in 2000's "Snatch." He trained with a former professional boxer to get in shape for his role as Mickey O'Neil in the film.
Denzel Washington reportedly lost 40 pounds to portray real-life boxer Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter in 1999's "The Hurricane," for which he earned an Oscar nomination. "I told him he was never again going to look this good [again]," director Norman Jewison joked to People magazine of his star's transformation.
Russell Crowe reportedly spent almost a year training for his role as real-life 1930s boxer James J. Braddock in 2005's "Cinderella Man." According to AMC, he even set up a boxing ring and training facilities on his farm in Australia. Russell earned a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the film.
Daniel Day-Lewis reportedly worked out twice a day, every day, and spent 18 months training with former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan to prepare for his role as boxer Danny Flynn in 1997's "The Boxer." He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his work in the film.
Sylvester Stallone trained with Jimmy Gambina, who went on to become one of Hollywood's most in-demand boxing choreographers, for five months before shooting 1976's "Rocky."
For 2013's "Grudge Match," Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone both beefed up to get back into the ring after decades away. The Hollywood veterans worked out with boxing trainer Bob Sale and Sly went on a 95-percent protein/no carbs diet. He dropped to 168 pounds, his lowest weight since 1981. "For me it was an excuse to get back into training and boxing," Bob told The Independent. "Bob Sale trained me in New York and Sylvester in California. He gave me the choreography that Sylvester had created. We did it separately and then met in New Orleans and worked on it."
Omar Epps pushed himself to the max to star in 2004's "Against the Ropes." "It was tough. We had two workouts a day. We got into a boxing gym and went to work. As a big boxing fan, I had a lot of fun," he told ESPN. "They would bring guys in to spar with me. The director and co-star Charles Dutton brought in ex-boxers and amateurs and told them not to take it easy on me. He told them I could handle it. I said, 'Are you crazy?' We chopped it up in there a few times."
James Franco reportedly trained in boxing for eight months for his role as Naval Academy boxer Jake Huard in 2008's "Annapolis."
Director Ron Shelton really put Antonio Banderas and Woody Harrelson through the ringer for their roles as boxers in his 1999 film "Play It to the Bone." The actors trained with Darrell Foster, who trained Sugar Ray Leonard throughout most of his career. "Woody and Antonio were really committed to it," Ron told Filmmaker magazine. "I think Woody broke his nose and Antonio broke a couple ribs. They watched miles of footage of boxers who [their characters] were modeled after… whose technique they studied obsessively."
Cuba Gooding Jr. got seriously ripped to play Abraham Lincoln Haines in 1992's "Gladiator."