He’s got a blockbuster career, leading-man looks, a fast car—and an even faster starship. So why isn’t Chris Pine the typical A-list jerk? As we found out, there’s a lot more to Captain Kirk than just swagger.
YOU’VE NEVER DONE A WORKOUT LIKE CHRIS PINE’S.
Well, unless you’d describe your own routine as a martial-arts sequence from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon crossed with a big-league cleanup hitter’s on-deck routine, with a few moves from The Nutcracker thrown in for good measure. It turns out that Pine—yes, Captain Kirk in the smash-hit Star Trek films, a fit, sharp-jawed leading man if ever there was one—maintains his physique not by hitting the weights like every other ripped big-name actor in Hollywood, but by swinging “Clubbells,” giant, heavy, metal bats. It’s a workout so throwback that his trainer, Mark Wildman, describes it as “Cain kills Abel.”
“These movements,” Wildman says, pausing to hoist a club bell that looks like a kid’s Fisher-Price bat—only made of steel—“are why woolly mammoths went extinct.”
It’s a Friday morning in Glendale, CA, and I’ve joined Pine at Wildman’s studio, a brightly lit space with exercise mats and floor- to-ceiling windows, where we swing Clubbells with varying degrees of success. In fitness terms, the workout’s closest analogue is a kettlebell session—you grip a weight and perform lunges, squats, presses, and lifts; but with Clubbells there’s a greater emphasis on grace and flow. Only I’m not so graceful, and more than once I pound my club into the wall by accident.
Pine, meanwhile, looks firmly at ease wielding his giant Bamm-Bamm weapons, and drives them elegantly through some invisible strike zone (or, if you’d prefer, mastodon’s skull) with crushing power, all the while managing to keep himself perfectly balanced.
“Before this,” he says, “I was doing pretty traditional weightlifting. It was so static, so controlled. You know, bench presses…it was so stiff. I started getting into this idea of movement and it led me to Mark, whose philosophy is about moving the body in different directions. This is more functional.”
Unlike most actors in Hollywood, Pine’s goal isn’t to build enormous muscle. Rather, he says, he wants “contiguous muscles, more natural.”
It shows. He’s tall—6’1″—with a lean, muscular, ectomorphic physique he attributes to this exact routine. “With this workout, all of a sudden you start to float more,” he says. “Even my friends used to make fun of the way I walked. I was walking in this rigid way, and it had a lot to do with having been an insecure kid trying to move protectively. Now, my body is moving in a more healthful way. It’s because of Mark’s process.”
Workout aside, it’s obvious there’s something different about Chris Pine. He’s staggeringly un-dickish, and he carries himself with a level of humility that, in this town, makes him about as off- the-beaten-path as they come.
Before I can ask about his childhood, our 50 minutes of bashing Abel are up. Pine takes a swig of water from one of the empty bourbon bottles that Wildman keeps around, and we head for the exit. Tonight Pine needs to catch a plane for Cannes, where he’s premiering his new western, Hell or High Water, co-starring Jeff Bridges.
But before that, the man now known for commanding the most famous starship in the world needs to refuel.
This is a preview-only version of Chris Pine’s cover story in the July/August 2016 issue of Men’s Fitness. For the full story, including exclusive content, download the issue on FRIDAY, JUNE 24 or pick up a copy on newsstands on MONDAY, JUNE 27.
I’ve added Blu-ray captures of Chris from The Finest Hours which is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray on Amazon.com. You’ll also find captures from the special features in the gallery as well.