To prepare for the role of a boxer in Raging Bull, the Hollywood star Robert De Niro not only trained like a boxer but also fought three professional bouts. For Rocky III, Sylvestor Stallone would begin the day with a two-mile jog, then go straight into 18 rounds of sparring, two hours of weightlifting and jumping rope. After all this, he would take a nap in the afternoon, then go running again! He would finish the day with a swim.

Similarly for the lead character of cyborg policewoman Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in Shell, for petite Scarlett Johansson the challenge was physical. Her cyber-enhanced character of Major spends a good portion of the film in a figure-hugging skin-coloured silicone suit.

Her pre-shoot regimen, which included a lot of paramilitary training, helped whip her body into shape for the suit.

“I used to have to dislocate some limbs (to put it on), but it gets easier,” she says of her signature one-piece outfit, which grants her super-policewoman character the power of invisibility.

Her pre-shoot regimen, which included a lot of paramilitary training, helped whip her body into shape for the suit.

“I was training a lot to be as effective as possible in all my stunt work, so that thing just slipped right on.

Her character takes up most of the screen time but speaks very little

“Like a second skin,” she adds. Directed by Rupert Sanders, Ghost in Shell is remake of Japanese manga (a style of Japanese comic books and graphic novels ) series by Masamune Shirow which led to 1995 anime adaptation.

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Asif Ullah Khan

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