Belfast Telegraph

Monday 20 October 2014

Theo James beefs up

Theo James

Theo James spent a month in the gym to hone his body for his role in Divergent.

The British hunk plays Four in the movie version of the popular book trilogy, aimed at young adults.

Prior to shooting, Theo had considered himself relatively fit. It wasn't until he got into wardrobe for a costume fitting that he realised director Neil Burger wanted him to up his work outs.

"It was quite funny because I can kind of consider myself fairly in shape. I've done some martial arts and boxing before," Theo explained to Total Film magazine.

"But when we were doing the costume fitting, I was in a T-shirt and we were trying on jackets, I was like, 'So you know, probably kind of in my shape, right?' Neil was like, 'Nah, it's going to be much more powerful'. I said, 'Oh sh*t...' I literally ran to the gym and spent a month there."

The actor impressed co-star Shailene Woodley from his first audition, and the chemistry between the pair was instantly evident.

"He was that perfect balance of feminine/masculine, which Four has in the book. Most other guys were either way too feminine - because a lot of actors are - or pretending to be masculine and tough; but it was all gym muscles rather than actual muscles," Shailene remembered.

Neil was equally impressed with Theo's presence, and after seeing countless actors that weren't physically right for the part he was relieved to find someone who fit the mould.

"We saw everybody. Shailene's a very strong actress - a strong person, naturally, and she's also very tall, powerful... so we needed someone who could intimidate her, make her take a step back," Neil commented.

The director found that in Theo, who at 6ft. 1in. proved to be both masterful and commanding on screen.

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