Whether you know her from House of Cards, The Martian, or American Horror Story, one thing’s for certain: Kate Mara always plays a character with backbone. And her lead role in the just-released sci-fi thriller Morgan is her most badass yet.
“This is the most physically demanding role I’ve ever done,” Mara tells Refinery29 in a recent interview. “There was lots of training, before and during the shoot, and I did almost every one of my own stunts…in heels.”
Just how did the star prepare for such a strenuous role?
“Luke [the director] is a boxer, and [it’s] sort of his life. I’m pretty sure he considers it a hobby, but he’s very passionate about it,” says Mara. “He suggested that I take up boxing for this character, to get into that athlete mentality. And then he also wanted me to be able to do ballet and Pilates. It was to balance the sort of feminine and masculine sides of the character.”
But the ballet-Pilates hybrid Mara undertook for the role was not your everyday barre or Reformer class. “It’s the hardest workout I’ve ever done, and I still do it. Any time I’m in [Los Angeles], I drag myself to see her, and she makes me cry almost every time.”
A workout that’s so intense it makes you cry? Been there, Kate. And don’t forget: Intensity isn’t everything.
Actress Blake Lively knows a thing or two about tough training as well—here’s how she got into action-star shape. And stars have wellness secrets in the kitchen as well. Case in point? Sophia Bush’s bone broth hack.