Straight male here, but one of the only men who ever struck me as having an impressive male body was the guy who played Richard Cypher on Legend of the Seeker. I can’t find any great image, but here is one that sort of captures him fairly well.
Oh, I wouldn’t say that.
Well, it’s a fun show and worth a watch for him and really just in general. The Confessor is also very beautiful and the whole show looks great!
Isn’t he kind of the opposite of what the OP is referring to?
Eh…there are gym rats and there are gym rats.
Pitt no doubt worked diligently on that body but I don’t think it is beyond normal. Nothing wrong with working out.
Schwarzenegger and the like went above and beyond and made themselves musclebound. On a whole other level.
I’d be surprised if Paul Newman just naturally looked like he did without any effort put in to it. He’s a naturally handsome guy but really good bodies are almost never without some effort.
Oh, absolutely. I wouldn’t be surprised if Newman started every day with fifty pushups or something like that. And he certainly hit the genetic lottery.
But there’s a world of difference between the way he looks and the way today’s action-movie stars (or at least the comic-book movie stars) look. Even if they’re not using some kind of juice, they’re working with a trainer for hours every day, and eating meals designed by a dietician . Or at least they’re living like that for some months before they start shooting a movie.
Newman (and others cited in this thread) are in a state of fitness that the OP describes as “achievable by a normal (non-juiced), active man.” Chris Hemsworth isn’t.
I think they likely worked as hard to achieve their body types as the Chris Hemsworth’s do today, albeit not with juicing, but with professionally guided exercise plans and more significant calorie restriction than most are able to maintain for any length of time. Washboard abs just don’t pop like that even in the genetically gifted until body fat percent is pretty dang low.
They not only set the standards for ideal male body types, they reflected and achieved what the extant standards were.
When did the standards start to shift to the juiced up muscle mass level?
Was it Arnold in Conan? A Tarzan movie?
I saw a chat show on which one of the guests was an an action film star. I think he said that he plans for the days when he’s going to be photographed shirtless, so he can achieve the washboard abs. So even at that extreme level of fitness, washboard abs are not an everyday thing.
From what I understand, it was Brad Pitt in Fight Club. His look in the film unintentionally set a new standard for what male stars could look like.
FC wasn’t until 1999.
Sylvester Stallone had a body like a real heavyweight boxer in Rocky I and II, but by Rocky III (1982), he had transformed into an extremely muscular/cut bodybuilder physique. In Rocky IV, Dolph Lundgren had the same bodybuilder physique going on.
Conan the Barbarian (with Schwarzenegger) also came out in 1982, and Arnold followed it up with a string of other '80s movies that showcased his extreme bulk. (He had first starred in Hercules in New York in 1970, but nobody watched that.)
Coming back down to more earthly levels of muscle mass, I think Patrick Swayze’s stuff from the late '80s and early '90s (Dirty Dancing, Roadhouse, Ghost, Point Break) probably set the trend for "lean and achievably muscular) well before Brad Pitt showed up in Thelma and Louise.
Kumail Nanjiani famously transformed his body a couple of years ago, and made it a point to acknowledge that it required a ridiculous level of dedication and professional assistance that’s not possible for most folks.
I think that until Fight Club, Hollywood distinguished - on an unofficial level - between male “actors” and “bodies” (terms I just made up). The “bodies” were the bodybuilders, the martial artists, the athletes; or in other words, the Schwarzeneggers, the Van Damms, and the Weissmullers. They weren’t supposed to look like normal human beings, but they weren’t expected to know how to act, either. “Actors”, OTOH, were supposed to have relatively normal bodies (actresses, of course, were expected to be both “actors” and “bodies”, because show business sucks). And then comes Brad Pitt, a bona-fide, Oscar-nominated Actor - and also a gym rat who won the genetic lottery - with a body like a professional Body. That made Hollywood realize that hey, we can force male actors to look really fit, just like we force female ones! And thus the film industry was changed forever.
I’ve never thought of Pitt as … embodying … that juiced up look that is now more commonly seen. The absurdly low body fat percent with muscles - sure, but still more in the range of the stars of this op than of the Hemsworths and the ilk.
I suspect somewhere there is an academic analysis looking at male images in ads and movies which traces the evolution of what body type is put out there as the standard to aspire to and how that has changed similarly to how female standards changed from Monroe and Mansfield to Twiggy and then curvier again.
Pitt doesn’t look juiced up in FC. Today he’d be considered too skinny. He, as stated above, just has extremely low body fat. He looks somewhat similar Robert Downey Jr in Sherlock Holmes, a look that was unacceptable to play Iron Man. Marvel has really changed things.
An article supporting my claim:
To my read it contradicts the thesis. Maybe we are misunderstanding each other.
It starts out with the statement that by the 80s the “Hulk Hogan” massive build (Arnold and today’s Hemsworth et al) was the preference. Pitt moved the bar to less mass but absurdly low body fat percentage … really more a move back to some of the pictures above, like the shirtless Paul Newman, and past the mark of others.
FWIW re what Newman’s routine reportedly was:
There was gym rat level effort there, sounds like 2 to 3 hours of work out per day, and a plan aimed at abs and low body fat.
Miles O’keeffe as Tarzan
It’s not a body that anyone would ever really call “the best” or even close to it, but I was somewhat more impressed by Dragline (George Kennedy) in Cool Hand Luke because he really did look like a dude who was hardened by manual labor and not deliberate exercise. He clearly did not “work” on his body so much as that he just worked, period, for his whole life, really hard. The name “Dragline” implies that he’s a human excavator. Kennedy was the same age as Newman - 42 - as of the movie, but looked at least a decade older. Newman looked like what he was, a movie star. Kennedy looked like an honest-to-God manual-labor lifer.
I was going to post something else, but alas, the cartoon girl dog with popping eyeballs and jaw dropping to the floor gif was nowhere to be found.
Anybody - How is “gif” pronounced?
And LJ - Did you flip your avatar?
Nitpick, because, hey, SDMB - it’s Heughan.
And, for what it’s worth, Sean Connery (another Scotsman) was a bodybuilder before he got into acting.