Celebrity trainer Corey Calliet put Michael B. Jordan through a gruelling weightlifting regimen to make him look like a convincing superhero bad guy in "Black Panther." The two worked out six days a week in the months leading up to production. Jordan would eat six meals a day.
He gained 15 pounds of muscle for the role. Calliet also worked with Jordan to get him into incredible shape for the movie "Creed." Michael B. Jordan was in the best shape of his life when he played the title character in the hit movie "Creed," but to play a superhero villain in "Black Panther," he knew he had to be superhero big. And there was only one guy who could get him there.
Celebrity trainer Corey Calliet has been working with Jordan since they connected on the set of 2015's "Fantastic Four." At that time Calliet said Jordan could barely lift 25 pounds, but by the end of filming one of the movie's producers asked Calliet to slow down the training because Jordan could barely fit into his Johnny Storm suit.
Calliet said when Jordan contacted him about playing Erik Killmonger in "Black Panther" the actor only sent him a picture of the character from the comic book. "He told me, 'I need to look like this,' and it's a picture of Killmonger fighting Black Panther," Calliet told Business Insider. "He was very big, so I knew I had to make Mike look like a free safety or a Marine. If you want to be a villain you have to have that savage type of demeanour. To get Jordan to that kind of body type, Calliet would put him through a very different kind of regimen compared to "Creed."
As Calliet did a lot of cardio work to get Jordan into a boxer look to play Adonis Creed, for Killmonger he needed the actor to put on muscle. That meant doing a weightlifting program to give him intense muscle training. It was nothing fancy, just basic weight training: bench press, lat pull-downs, and deadlifts — all while eating six meals a day. They went on for six days a week for a few months leading up to production.
The work then intensified to interval training closer to the shooting. Dumbbell curls to lat pull-downs; dips to pull-ups to push-ups; incline bench press to fly presses. At one point, Jordan was lifting 115-pound dumbbells. Calliet said Jordan added 15 pounds of muscle from "Creed" to "Black Panther." The trainer said none of it was fun for Jordan, and that's just what Calliet intended.
"The way I train, the person never gets used to it," Calliet said. "I would have him do squats and then move right to burpees — that's not a good feeling. It was nothing that was enjoyable." But it's the finished product that both men strived for, and they can't be happier with the result. Calliet said he got chills seeing Jordan on-screen.
"When I was bodybuilding competing the saying always was, 'Shows are won from the back,' so that scene where Killmonger and Black Panther fight, you can see Mike's back and the definition and the lat spread, all the work we put in is highlighted in that one scene." Yet the work continues today. With shooting for "Creed 2" beginning in April, Calliet and Jordan have been training getting the actor back to looking like a boxer.