OnlyOnAOL: Edgar Ramirez reveals his ultimate cheat meal
By: Donna Freydkin
Anyone who's ever taken a swing at a punching bag knows the feeling.
That sense of power. The innate strength. The total connection with your own body.
Edgar Ramirez gets it. He plays one of the sport's greats, world-class Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán, in "Hands of Stone. In the film, he has an infamous fight with undefeated lightweight champion Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980. To believably play the pugilist, Ramirez had to get behind the ropes. For real.
"It was impossible to understand this character without going through the transformation. For me it was impossible to even start to learn his mannerisms or his boxing techniques without going through the struggle of becoming a fighter myself. There's a very specific mindset that comes from everything you experience physically as a boxer," says Ramirez.
The preparation began from the inside out.
"The food deprivation. Training 4-5 hours a today. Having to sleep as much as possible to recover your muscles. The nutrition is common-sense. You reduce your carbohydrates. You focus more on protein. And then you realize you don't need that much food to function. You're under constant pressure all the time. For me it was very important to understand the hardships and difficulties," says Ramirez.
As he built up his physique, his thought process shifted. "Your body changes and you acquire abilities you didn't have before. That changes you. You don't walk down the street the same way when you know you can sit someone on his ass. It changes you. I didn't become more aggressive necessarily. But I felt more powerful," says Ramirez.
When he wrapped the film, he went all out. We're talking about food, of course. "I think it was ice cream. Very sweet and with a lot of milk," says Ramirez.
Jake Gyllenhaal also said that when playing boxer Billy Hope in "Southpaw," the prep was crucial to understanding the character and his motivations. Sure, you can fake it, but then the performance doesn't seem real. The same went for Ramirez.
"The most challenging thing was the training. If I hadn't achieved that, it would have been impossible to play the character. I'm talking about the physicality, being believable. Just moving like them. Your body transforms your mind," says Ramirez. "It's very primal. You're in touch with your body. It changed me forever."