Star Wars‘ Darth Vader was responsible for giving us Christopher Reeve’s iconic depiction of Superman. Well, in terms of physique at least.
In an interview from The Hollywood Reporter’s archives, the man who was under the Darth Vader costume, David Prowse, revealed that Superman director Richard Donner left him in charge of bulking up a scrawny Reeve for the 1978 movie. Donner labeled Reeve, at the time 6 feet, 5 inches and 170 pounds, a “skinny little kid” and proceed to enlist the help of Prowse, who appeared as the towering Vader just a year before in Star Wars: A New Hope.
“I get a call from Dick Donner and he says, ‘Can you get down to the studio as quick as you can, we’ve got a Superman,'” Prowse, who was also a bodybuilder and weight-training instructor, said. “He was fantastic. He was a very lovely person. We were like brothers, we got along so well together. And during the course of the period I had him, I took him from 170 pounds when we started and he was 212 [pounds] when he went into the suit.”
Under Prowse’s daily guidance, Reeve ate four meals while on a high protein diet with vitamins, en route to becoming the Man of Steel and what many deem the quintessential representation of Superman onscreen.
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