Sophie Turner is currently promoting X-Men: Apocalypse, where she plays the young Jean Grey. I never really think of Sophie as the kind of actress up for physical roles, and as it turns out, she never thought of herself that way either. But she still got in shape for X-Men, and that’s why she covers the June issue of Self Magazine – you can see the full interview here. Some highlights:
Getting in shape for X-Men: “I needed to get in shape—and quick! I never think of my days as long. I’d be in makeup from 5 a.m. until 7 a.m. But it was much crazier for the people who were blue!”
Jean, Sophie & Sansa Stark: “Both Jean and Sansa are strong characters with such great arcs. Neither starts out strong, but they find that power within them, whether literally or metaphorically. I found a lot of parallels between Jean and myself psychologically. Her journey is trying to figure out who she is, surviving the hormones and the boys, which are loaded on top of the fact that she’s a superpowerful mutant. I haven’t had that last bit to deal with! But I’ve had the challenge of growing up and having horrible skin and all the things that make you feel uncomfortable as a teenager, and knowing that everyone can see it—because 50 percent of them point it out to you.”
Social media criticism: “Even if you get 100 positive comments and one negative, you focus on the negative, so I try not to read them.”
Her friendship with Maisie Williams: “Maisie and I would have little hand signals that we’d make at each other like, ‘Oop, that’s cheeky.’ If we scratched our chins, it meant we were finding something hilarious, but we couldn’t laugh, because we were trying to be grown-up about it. None of our other friends understood what we were going through. It was difficult having everyone treat me like an adult and having my business head on, then going back to school. But Maisie and I had had the exact same journey. So we helped and supported each other.”
How she got in shape: “That costume is pretty unforgiving. During the shoot I went hard. And that hasn’t stopped… [in the beginning] I was like, ‘Guys, Jean is telekinetic. She doesn’t really run around.’” Her 13-hour workdays included up to 60 minutes of exercise six times a week. She and her trainer did full-body workouts for three months. Her varied routine included hill sprints, kettlebells, resistance bands and burpees. “It was all outside, around London, which was more fun than being cooped up in a gym. I need to do fun stuff that takes my mind off the fact that I’m working out.”
Her diet: Farmer also revamped Turner’s diet, guiding her toward a low-carb, Paleo-style plan. “When I met Sophie, she didn’t eat breakfast, which is a common mistake,” he says. “And I didn’t think she was eating enough of the right foods. So I made sure she had a good source of protein and healthy fats with every meal, plus lots of fibrous vegetables like spinach and cauliflower.” Now and then, she’d add a starchy veg such as sweet potatoes. For Turner, the experience was transformative. “I’ve really embraced healthy eating. It makes you feel a lot better and more energetic. I’m inspired to get up and out. Exercise has made me feel more positive about my body, less self-conscious. I don’t know if I look any different, but I feel stronger, and I can do more, which is such a good feeling. It’s so liberating.”
Any mention of Paleo diets usually makes me sad, but it sounds like this was less about a “diet” and more about just getting her to change some bad eating habits. I remember when I got to an age where I could no longer get away with not having breakfast too, and even if you’re not particularly hungry or awake, you’ll definitely feel better throughout the day if you take a moment to eat a banana or something wholesome in the morning. But I will kill anyone who tries to make me do a burpee. NEVER!
Photos courtesy of Self.