Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How Noah Centineo Is Getting Ripped To Play He-Man

If you're not into romantic comedies, Noah Centineo might not be a name you know. The 24-year-old American actor has gained notoriety for starring in To All The Boys I've Loved Before, Sierra Burgess Is A Loser, and a handful of other heartfelt teen flicks. But he's about to move into very different territory indeed: Centineo is set to bust out of teen dramas and his shirts as He-Man in the upcoming Masters of the Universe movie. 

Centineo has the talent, charm, and charisma necessary to put a new spin on the beloved 1980s property. But that's not what you notice about He-Man at first glance. No, you probably take in his chiseled cartoon physique before you settle into enjoying the Prince of Eternia as a character. Can Centineo achieve the unreal body necessary to the character? As it turns out, yeah — he's already hard at work transforming himself into the legendary hero. This is how Centineo is getting himself into He-Man shape, one push-up at a time.

It's all about charisma

Why, you might be wondering (especially if you haven't seen his previous work), was Noah Centineo cast as He-Man in the first place? In short, it comes down to charisma and chops. He is magnetic as Peter Kavinsky in his first major role in To All The Boys I've Loved Before, earning accolades from rom-com lovers and critics alike. He gained over one million Instagram followers in the 24 hours after To All The Boys dropped, making it clear that he was well on his way to stardom.

In a piece on the Centineo phenomenon, Cosmopolitan explained his sudden rise as the result of a combination of factors. For one thing, Peter Kavinsky is adorable: "[He] isn't afraid to have real conversations and treat Lara Jean like the true queen she is." But beyond that, Centineo is plenty charming on his own. He smiles easily and often, throws himself into his work, and has remained humble despite his suddenly stratospheric fame. Clearly, Masters of the  Universe's casting directors hope to bring along some of his built-in fanbase to the decidedly nerdy and definitely dusty He-Man IP, as well as capitalize on Centineo's inherent appeal.

A long-delayed project

In a way, Centineo lucked into the role of He-Man: He definitely wouldn't have been old enough to play He-Man if the movie hadn't been delayed for over a decade. The original whisperings of a He-Man movie came all the way back in 2006, with John Woo's name attached. Sadly, that project petered out quickly. The 2010s then saw an endless number of writers, directors, and actors pass through the revolving door of the potential film. Talents including Jon M. Chu and David S. Goyer drew close, pulled back, were replaced, and disappeared entirely as the years went on. Hope among He-Man fans couldn't help but falter — sure, the movie was still being talked about, but it never seemed to take any solid steps forward.

Slowly, however, the tide began to turn, and the Masters of the Universe movie began to take real shape. Aaron and Adam Nee were announced as directors in 2018, then, in early 2019, Art Marcum and Matt Holloway were brought in to pen a new draft. Centineo's casting was announced a few months later in March 2019, making the film a whole lot more real than it had been in years. A release date of March 5, 2021 was originally given, but sadly, that date has been removed. It has since been announced that Masters of the Universe will premiere on Netflix, but no date has been revealed.

Doubting Thomases

Not everyone had the vision to see Centineo in the role of He-Man. After he revealed that he'd been cast as the iconic cartoon hero, several of these skeptics took to social media to speak out against the decision. The accusations flew fast and furious: He's not ripped enough! He's too young! He doesn't have the necessary presence!

You can't really blame the He-Man fans for their doubts — they've certainly been burned before by Hollywood's handling of their beloved hero. But anyone who initially doubted Centineo's rightness for the role only needs to look at his Instagram to have their fears put to rest. He's been posting progress pics for months now, chronicling his  journey from high-school jock to otherworldly bodybuilder. And boy, what a journey it is: Centineo has become truly jacked in preparation for the role. We defy anyone to scroll through these pictures and not see a 1980s action figure come to life.

Clean living

While many actors have to cut out bad habits to get into fighting shape, Centineo was already living clean before he took on the role of Prince Adam. As he told Harper's Bazaar, this hadn't always been the case: Centineo went through a "really dark" period in his early acting career, when he regularly used hard drugs. However, he made the decision to be sober at the age of 21 and has kept it up.

"There's a syndicate of, like, 500 to 1,000 kids in the entertainment industry that are all trying to make it right now that all they do Monday to Monday is party every night," Centineo said. "There wasn't really much I wouldn't do. I never, ever injected anything, which is good. I smoked a lot of things. I was really upset, man. It was a really dark time in my life."

Luckily, Centineo has put that part of his life behind him. Today, he keeps himself grounded with meditation and his journal.

Counting calories

Though the results of the diet Centineo has been following to bulk up for He-Man are incredible and obvious, it's far from fun to follow. As he told Entertainment Tonight, the diet he's on would turn someone without a staff of trainers and dietitians into a pile of jelly.

"It's a lot of eating," he said, from the set of the To All The Boys sequel. "You would think it's awesome but it's like, 6,000 calories a day." If you're picturing him scarfing down an endless buffet of cakes and burgers, you're on the wrong track — think more along the lines of brown rice and plain protein. Centineo made it clear that there's little joy to be found in forcing yourself to eat the sort of food that turns you into He-Man: "As a person, you're supposed to eat like, 2,000 calories a day." he shared. "It's great, I'm not complaining, but, you know, if I'm honest, I eat so many eggs." It's certainly worked — he's put on roughly 30 pounds of muscle.

Becoming He-Man with a torn ACL

Forcing yourself to eat eggs for months on end seems horrific, but Centineo is happy with the results, which he detailed in a March 2020 Instagram post. "Put on 30 pounds of lean muscle tissue in 2 months this last summer," he wrote, beside a photo that shows off his physique and a video of himself doing an 810-pound leg press. What makes these results all the more impressive is the fact that Centineo accomplished this feat following knee surgery in November 2019. He blew out his knee in a basketball game with friends, but was able to work his way back to fighting shape in just a few months. Along the way, he shared videos of himself learning how to get around in a knee brace, including an embarrassing clip that saw him struggling to take a shower. Going from a normal physique to a He-Man-worthy one is impressive from anyone — but it's truly mind-blowing from someone who did it while recovering from a torn ACL.

Keeping quiet

In spite of his obvious pride in the end results of his He-Man training, Centineo is keeping mum about his actual regimen. Red carpet interviews haven't revealed much, and when he has spoken about the experience, it's not with specificity. What we do know is that the process is incredibly intense. "I'm eating like — I don't know how much I can say," he said in a talk with ET. "The person that's training me is incredible, and we're on a diet and a regimen, and it's strict."

On Instagram, he was much more forthcoming with the goals he reached. "My leg press was 1,008 pounds for 3 sets of 10 repping. My squat was 405 pounds for 10 reps," he wrote. "Bench: 225 for 10reps." He said himself that when he took on the role he "[didn't] look like He-Man, and [needed] to look like He-Man" — as anyone with eyes can see, he's certainly accomplishing that feat. What it takes is currently murky — perhaps because his trainer wants to keep their technique under wraps?

A future in superhero movies

Centineo's newfound physique will help him across multiple roles, as it turns out. In addition to his turn as He-Man, he's in line to star alongside one of Hollywood's biggest (literally and figuratively) actors: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Centineo will play Atom Smasher in the upcoming DC movie Black Adam, in which Johnson will star as the titular antihero.

Like Masters of the Universe, Black Adam is a project that has been in development for a long time. Johnson has shared that he's been trying to play the character for a decade. "Black Adam has been with me for over 10 years now. That gives you an idea of how passionate I am about this project," he said. "In 2008 was when we first started talking about this. So it has required patience by all of us as partners. And I'm a much different man and actor than I was 10 years ago. Even then, 10 years ago, I just wanted to wait for the timing to feel right. And it feels like now, the man that I've become, I'm able to bring a little bit of my own life lessons and philosophies and engrain them in the DNA of this character." Exciting words for any cinephile, and all the more exciting for describing a project Centineo is now attached to.

Return to rom-coms

It's possible that Centineo's new bulkiness will be written into the story of Peter Kavinsky when he picks the role back up in the upcoming To All The Boys I've Loved Before: Always And Forever, Lara Jean. There's little word about when the movie will arrive on Netflix, but Centineo has said that its new direction will shock fans. "They're gonna be like, 'Oh, that's what it's about? Oh my god, that's cray,'" Centineo told ET. "You probably aren't going to get to see the third movie for a while ... It's not going to be like relatively soon. We don't know when." Fans might be frustrated, but the idea of this "new direction" offers plenty to mull over as the wait grinds on. Will Peter be torn away from Lara Jean by the siren call of protein shakes and the gym? Will he struggle with the new snugness of his wardrobe? Okay, probably not. But there are certainly worse ways to speculate.