What's one of the biggest problems when playing such a monumentally recognisable figure such as our Darth? Finding the vast sums of money or expertise required to build the props? Overheating strapped up in all that padded leather? Being able to see properly, let alone eat or drink? Nay - it's the actor's figure.
It's the bit you can't upgrade overnight.
And I have some particular issues in this regard. I should never have started down this road, but I can be a stubborn mule.
I read that David Prowse was six foot seven, and that's without armour. This in itself has caused a bit of contention because Vader's canon height is 2.02 metres. Google's calculator tells me that converts to six foot and seven and a half inches. The full suit would add a bit more than half an inch. Regardless of any contradiction, a six foot seven Vader looks right.
Problem is, I'm just over five foot eight inches, or without being imperial about things, 1.73 metres. Yes - a difference of eleven inches. When you've stopped your laughing, I'll continue.
The other aspect is Vader's strength of figure. His appearance is intimidating thanks not just to his height but also to the bulk strength of the guy. Prowse was a body-builder, one who allegedly could have won titles like 'Strongest Man in the World' if he'd used the right... medication. Point is, we've got our work cut out for us if we're not already in the gym five hours a day for five days a week. The suit hides a lot, but the silhouette is still a massive one in every direction and in the right places. A year ago (November 2005), I'd not been regular enough at the gym and had put on weight. I was twelve stone at the time. I also had not done enough about my upper body strength. I needed to combat both as efficiently as I could.
So what can be done for us smaller types whose grand ambition is to terrify small kids in the masque of the dark Sith Lord? And can you lose fat and gain muscle in one foul swoop?
Carry on and find out!
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