When Alexander Skarsgard set out to transform into the title character in The Legend of Tarzan, he knew that he didn't want the character to "look like a bodybuilder." The 39-year-old has spoken candidly about his dramatic transformation and impressive muscular physique, which set pulses racing when the first trailer was released.
"I wanted to get bigger than I was," he told Men's Health, as he is revealed to be their August issue cover star. "But I didn't want to look like a bodybuilder."
The True Blood actor explained that he remained focused during his workouts and ensured not to hit the gym more than was necessary for getting in shape ahead of the role.
"It was important that every single fibre and every muscle was there for a reason," he said. "In the wild, everything has a purpose, otherwise nature gets rid of it."
Alexander will take on the leading role in The Legend of Tarzan, alongside a star-studded cast including Margot Robbie, Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz.
The action-packed film sees Tarzan living in London, but finding himself called back to his former jungle surroundings in order to investigate the suspicious activities of a mining company.
For Alexander, it wasn't just the script which attracted him to the project – he admitted that his father, Thor star Stellan Skarsgard, is a huge fan of the story.
"I just wanted to impress my dad – he was more excited than I was," he quipped. "My dad loved Tarzan. When he was a kid he’d go to the local cinema and watch the Johnny Weissmuller films. So my introduction to Tarzan was through my father. Tarzan was my hero; he was the coolest guy."
It's not the first time that Alexander has revealed the details of the training he underwent before filming. The Swedish heartthrob has previously opened up about the challenges he faced, admitting that he was "really nervous" about working hard to get the muscular physique.
"I obviously had a very, very good trainer," he told E! News. "I basically had him and a nutritionist."
Adding that his fitness regime included "a lot of chicken cutlets and crunches", Alexander explained that this was the first time he had undertaken such a drastic physical change for a role.
"I've never done anything like this before, this extreme," he confessed. "I was just really nervous. It was a big challenge and I didn't know how my body would respond to the training and diet."