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American Psycho musical: How Benjamin Walker got into killer shape

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Jeremy Daniel

Benjamin Walker cuts a fine figure — in every sense — with his performance as banker-madman Patrick Bateman in the musical version of Bret Easton Ellis’ infamous novel American Psycho (opens at New York’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, April 21). Bateman does slice-and-dice a whole bunch of people in the show while the actor himself has gotten himself into amazing shape for the play, which requires him to wear nothing but Calvin Klein tighty-whities and blood for much of the second half. 

“I have a trainer,” says Walker, whose credits include playing the title role in Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. “This guy, Rich Barretta — sounds like a trainer doesn’t he? He’s a guy that I’ve worked with for years. He helps me not only be healthy but [he] kind of sculpts people. It’s one of the fun aspects of being an actor. It’s grueling, but if you’re going to take it seriously, it’s part of the job. If you were a saxopohone player, you’d know what different reeds sound like on a horn and I really don’t consider it any different. Basically, I show up and he kicks my ass. We were talking about, ‘What’s scary? What muscles are scary?’ When you look at the guys that get in shape in prison, there’s something enticing about it, but also really off-putting. And that was what we were going for: prison-ripped. I don’t know if I’ve achieved it but that’s what we’re going for. But [all he characters] are obsessed with their bodies and that vain idea of ‘How I look is how I am.’ Everyone in the cast has had to do what I’ve done.”

You can see the trailer for American Psycho below.

A version of this story originally appeared in Entertainment Weekly issue #1411-1412, on newsstands now or available here.

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