Mike Colter stars as Agent Jameson Locke in the five-part series Halo: Nightfall, which bridges the gap between Halo 4 and the upcoming Halo 5: Guardians. MF catches up with him to talk training, stunt work and what carrying 14kg for 15 hours a day feels like.
Do you tweak your training from role to role?
You know I guess you could say so. Normally I walk around at about [93kg] and when I was working on Halo: Nightfall I didn’t feel like I needed to really bulk up because I was playing a character who is a normal soldier before he becomes an enhanced Spartan solider. He has this suit of armour on that allows him to do all these otherworldly things.
I was able to get pretty fit while filming with the armour on, which weighs about 14kg. It’s really demanding on the body when you’re sprinting or climbing with that kind of stuff on. It turns out that it was a great workout when you're filming for 15 hours a day.
How much of your own stunt work do you do?
I’m not one of those actors that runs on set going ‘please let me do my own stunts. Let me get in there,’ but I’m able to do them and I’m getting better and more comfortable because it’s a technique and it’s something you learn with time. You start to catch on a bit. I do like to do it if I can because when you do it it’s you. There’s none of this, ‘oh they got a dude that looks like him,’ It’s also not actually that easy to find someone that’s my size who looks like me.
How important do you think being in good shape is for getting cast in roles?
I never thought about it really. I didn’t really want to build muscle too much. You have to be in the shape where you could go one way or the other. The director has a vision and if you walk in too big then they might not be able to picture you smaller. You want to be someone that can mould to the role. Unless you’re only looking for that one type of role.
What’s your favourite move in the gym?
I’d probably say the full barbell lunge. I’ve done lunges for a long time and I think it’s something that no matter how big or how strong you are, if you don’t do lunges you can make things really difficult. The motion uses your balance, your core and your hips or you’d just fall over. It’s an overall leg workout.
My least favourite I guess is the bench press. I’m just bored with it! I’ve been doing it for so long that I try and find other ways to work out the chest. I think flyes are more interesting.
What’s the most important thing for people looking to get fit?
Diet. People always overlook their diet. You build muscle outside of the gym. Whether you’re loosing weight or trying to gain muscle, you’re changing your body and 80% of that is done outside of the gym. If you’re eating right you’re not going to have to do as much as you think you’ll have to.
Halo: Nightfall will appeal to both long-time fans and newcomers to the Halo Universe and is available to rent or buy from March 17, 2015.
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Matt joined Men’s Fitness in April 2014 as features writer after spending several years writing for a luxury lifestyle magazine, swapping champagne and canapés for cardio and leg days.
Matt is a keen Thai boxer and his interest in fitness took off when he made the decision to compete semi-professionally and had to get in shape. Training aside, he says the worst thing about fighting is resisting the urge to apologise all the time.
Oh, and he’s still on the look out for a decent fight nickname after being told ‘The Best’ was reaching a little bit…
Favourite move: Any kind of squat variation
Favourite sport: MMA and Muay Thai kickboxing
Personal best: Competing in a semi-pro K1 bout
Targets: Sub-1hr 40m half marathon and winning a fight by KO
Scariest MF moment: Writing about myself in the third-person for this profile
Favourite MF website story: Spider-Man workout
Favourite trainer quote: ‘Hands up, chin down’ – every striking coach ever
Biggest gym crime: Avoiding the weights and sticking to the treadmill