The long-awaited Hellboy reboot is now out in theaters, but production on the film was almost derailed by star David Harbour’s epic body transformation. Speaking to TMZ, Harbour’s personal trainer Don Saladino said that the actor underwent such a physical change that his demonic bodysuit almost didn’t fit. (If you’re curious how exactly Harbour packed on his Hellboy muscles, we’ve got his routine, which combines everything from bear crawls and medicine ball slams to weighted carries.)
“We got a call from the production company, they were actually a little upset, they said he’s losing too much weight, and I said he’s not, he weighed in at 250 lbs, he’s 249 lbs today, he hasn’t lost any weight,” said Saladino. “But they said his body’s changing so much, we’re going to have to redo the suit.” He joked that he immediately called Harbour and told him to go have some ice cream.
Saladino, a member of the Men’s Health Advisory Board, has worked with the likes of Ryan Reynolds and is used to helping actors get blockbuster ready. But unlike other big screen superheroes, the goal wasn’t to make Hellboy look “lean” or “like an Abercrombie model,” but “vicious.”
Based on a character from Dark Horse Comics, Hellboy is a giant red half-demon. And while the makeup and devilish prosthetics went a long way in convincingly transforming David Harbour from the Stranger Things dad bod cop to a hulking infernal monster, the intense nine week training schedule also helped Harbour get into character.
“Those abs, those shoulders, those arms, that was not him, that was the prosthetic suit,” said Saladino, adding that the Herculean regime of loaded carries enabled Harbour to tap into the “fierceness” of Hellboy. The program focused on improving functional movement and athleticism, which would allow Harbour to do everything he needed to while wearing the bodysuit.
“I wanted to develop mainly power and strength,” Harbour said in an Instagram video, “so you believe that when [Hellboy] hits you, it hits you like a truck.”