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How Liam Hemsworth Trained For His Intense Most Dangerous Game Role

This content was paid for by Quibi and created by Looper.

First published nearly a century ago in January 1924, Richard Connell's short story The Most Dangerous Game (also published as The Hounds of Zaroff) tells the tale of prolific big-game hunter Sanger Rainsford becoming the hunted after falling off his ship and swimming to an island inhabited by Russian nobleman General Zaroff, who's taken to killing humans for sport. Since its publication, the story has been adapted countless times and influenced everything from Spider-Man (Kraven the Hunter clearly owes a debt of inspiration to General Zaroff) to The Hunger Games to episodes of the anime Psycho-Pass and a quest in an Elder Scrolls game.

In 2020 alone, we've seen films like The Hunt and Tremors: Island Fury present twists on Connell's story. And in the world of streaming, Quibi recently released its own 15-part take starring Liam Hemsworth and Christoph Waltz.

The 2020 incarnation of Most Dangerous Game (sans definite article in its title) sees Hemsworth in the role of Dodge Tynes, a young man with a terminal brain cancer diagnosis and not long to live. Enter Waltz as Miles Sellars, a charming businessman who offers Tynes the chance to provide permanent financial security for his family. All Tynes has to do, of course, is be prey to a host of bloodthirsty hunters who get their thrills hunting humans. If he evades them, Tynes will win $24.5 million. 

Under normal circumstances, most people's response to the prospect of getting murdered for fun would be "nah, I'm good," but these aren't normal circumstances. Not only is Tynes sick with theoretically only weeks to live, but he also has a baby on the way, his business is in collapse, and he's in a hole of debt bigger than the Grand Canyon.

If all this were real, the first question we'd probably ask would be, "Shouldn't Tynes get a second opinion?" There's a lot of money on the line, but we're talking about 24 hours of trying to outrun and outsmart crazy rich people with guns. Wouldn't people like that be capable of infinite treachery? What if Sellars and his huntsmen paid off Tynes' doctor to say he was dying? What if they paid off his wife? If you've got enough money to buy someone's willingness to die, you've probably got enough money to buy off anyone for anything.

Fortunately, Most Dangerous Game is just a story, and Liam Hemsworth is only acting like he's going to be hunted by a homicidal elite. Given that, the big question for Hemsworth himself is this: How do you physically prepare yourself to be hunted?

How Liam Hemsworth exercised for Most Dangerous Game

As with every production that's ever been made, Most Dangerous Game isn't comprised of nothing but perfect first takes. Hemsworth and the rest of the cast had to film multiple takes of every single scene — that's just the nature of the biz. For Hemsworth, that translated to a lot of real-life running, as he spends the majority of Most Dangerous Game escaping the pursuit of those who want to kill him and win the "game."

"It's been a tough, exhausting physical shoot," said Hemsworth in a May 2020 Q&A session for Quibi's YouTube channel. "We've had some days where I've spent almost 12 hours running. I've never done so much running in my life."

How did Hemsworth prepare for all that sprinting and scurrying? Well, with more running. "Pretty much for the last three or four months, I've slowly worked myself up to long-distance running — which, for me, is about ten kilometers, about six miles," the actor revealed. He added, "I'm so thankful that I did spend a few months before this shoot getting my cardio up ... now, I love it."

After all that running, maybe Hemsworth should try a marathon next. 

How else does Liam Hemsworth stay in shape?

It shouldn't come as a surprise that anyone with the last name Hemsworth is dedicated to staying fit. Much like his brother, Marvel Cinematic Universe super-star Chris Hemsworth, Liam sometimes enlists personal trainer Luke Zocchi to help keep him in shape. The name of the game for Hemsworth seems to be HIIT (high-intensity interval training), which is more about time efficiency. Rather than spending hours in the gym performing steady-state cardio, those who do HIIT workouts complete shorter, higher intensity bursts of cardio that are broken up with tiny intervals of rest. Think 60 seconds of full-effort sprinting paired with 15 seconds of walking, repeated on a cycle of a set number of circuits.

In an August 2019 interview with Men's Health, Hemsworth shared that he gives it his all whenever he's in the gym, and prefers shorter, more intense workouts over longer ones that may be less strenuous. Hemsworth said of his time preparing for The Hunger Games, in which he played Gale Hawthorne, "Me and the stunt guys would work out at this gym that we called 'the Stinky Gym' because it was one of the foulest-smelling places you've ever been to." And why would anyone choose a smelly workout area? "It made you just want to get in there, get the job done, and get out," said Hemsworth. "That's how I like it."

If you're looking for specifics on how to get shredded in case you find yourself being hunted in a dangerous game, Hemsworth shared with Men's Health is best tips for building muscle. "I really enjoy Tabata," began Hemsworth, referring to a type of interval training that falls under "the HIIT umbrella," according to Right Path Fitness. He added, "High intensity, timed workouts where you do a bunch of different exercises like burpees, bodyweight squats, pull-ups, push-ups, dips. You just cycle through those and see how many reps you can do of each in 20 minutes. Or you try to do 100 of each and see how quickly you can do it."

As you might expect, preparing for marathon-level action acting is more than just HIIT and smelly gyms. "I've been trying to spend as much time outdoors as I can," shared Hemsworth. "Cycling, playing soccer or basketball, going for two-hour hikes and doing as many push-ups as I can on the way."

Suffice to say, if Liam Hemsworth was in a real-life version of Most Dangerous Game, his hunters would likely be in for the fight of their lives. 

All 15 episodes of Most Dangerous Game are available to stream on Quibi now.