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Top 10 Actors Who Did Advanced Weapons Training #JohnWick

VO: Phoebe de Jeu WRITTEN BY: Scott Stratton
These 10 actors did advanced weapons trainings to get prepped for their big roles, so you know they're hardcore. Before, they didn't even know how to hold a gun, and now they can take down tens of targets with multiple weapons in less than a minute! We're talking Chris Pratt, Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, Charlize Theron, Keanu Reeves and more! Did any of these actors surprise you? Let us know!

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Talk about committing to a part! Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Actors Who Did Advanced Weapons Training for Movie Roles.

For this list, we’ll be looking at actors and actresses who’ve gone through extensive training programs just so they could bring more authenticity to their role.

#10: Tom Cruise
“Collateral” (2004)

There’s one thing that you can’t help but admire Tom Cruise for and that’s his dedication to his craft. He’s an actor that’s known for doing many of his own stunts and generally gives it his all. It’s no surprise then that when he took on the role of Vincent, the professional killer in “Collateral,” he brushed up on his weapons training as well. You can see his training pay off during the alley scene where Vincent takes on a couple of thugs using a signature technique that’s actually taught in tactical handgun training classes today.

#9: Robert De Niro
“Heat" (1995)

There’s no question that Robert De Niro is one of the greats. Like our previous entry, he’s one of those actors that just brings everything he can to a role to make it as believable as possible. You would figure that his role as Neil McCauley, a professional thief, wouldn’t exactly require advanced weapons training. However, De Niro and the rest of the cast trained with a British ex-Special Air Service special forces sergeant by the name of Andy Mcnab, who personally designed a three-month weapons training program involving life ammunition. Andy also helped them train for the bank robbery scene.

#8: Chris Pratt
“Zero Dark Thirty” (2012)

Before he was flying around the universe blasting aliens and tossing out killer dance moves, Chris Pratt had to become a Navy SEAL for “Zero Dark Thirty.” The film, which centered around the hunt and eventually killing of Osama bin Laden, had the cast take part in military-like training. They had to live, eat, and put up with one another for six weeks while they prepared. They even had access to a replica of Bin Laden’s compound, which makes an appearance in the climax of the film, so they could put all their training to the test under the scrutiny of their instructors.

#7: Uma Thurman
“Kill Bill” (2003-04)

Training with a weapons expert to learn how to fire a rifle is one thing, but that certainly can’t compare to what Uma Thurman went through for her transformation into The Bride from Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” series. The character onscreen is supposed to be a master assassin who knows how to swing a sword around. To accurately portray that, Uma Thurman had to learn three styles of kung fu and two styles of sword combat, as well as throwing and fighting with knives. And if that wasn’t enough, she also had to learn Japanese, which is no easy task!

#6: Demi Moore
“G.I. Jane” (1997)

When it comes to movies that are focused on the military, the characters are usually all gritty guys who form a strong brotherhood with each other. It’s rare that we get one where the main character is a woman, and specifically what they face when it they take part in the brutality that is boot camp. In this action flick, Demi Moore showed us that she’s no slacker when it comes to training as she was down in the mud doing push-ups with the rest of the cast during their two-week boot camp. Not only did she and the supporting cast have to pass physical tests, but the subsequent training obviously included weapons training. It definitely wasn’t easy, but she held in like a champ!

#5: Charlize Theron
“Atomic Blonde” (2017)

2017’s “Atomic Blonde” took us into the world of Lorraine Broughton, a top-level MI6 spy played by a very fit Charlize Theron. She worked with several personal trainers who trained her as hard as they possibly could in everything from hand-to-hand combat to handguns, all while she got her body in tip-top shape. The training was so intense that she apparently bruised a rib and broke a few of her teeth while sparring. Interestingly enough, she actually sparred at the same facility that Keanu Reeves was getting into shape at every now and then, as training for both “Atomic Blonde” and “John Wick: Chapter 2” overlapped with each other!

#4: Michelle Rodriguez
“The Fate of the Furious” (2017)

Ah, “The Fast and Furious” series, known for its high-speed races, beautiful cars, and… guns? The franchise has changed much since its first release, and this is reflected in one of the main actresses, Michelle Rodriguez, who trained at a gun range with Taran Tactical Innovations, specifically for her role in the 8th film. This isn’t her first time with weapons, however. As you might recall, she had a role in 2003’s “S.W.A.T.,” which required the cast to work with an actual S.W.A.T team as well as have tactics and live fire training. She is definitely not someone you want to mess with!

#3: Linda Hamilton
“Terminator 2: Judgment Day” (1991)

The “Terminator” series hasn’t exactly been hitting it out of the park with its more recent films, but “Terminator 2” is still one of the best action movies ever made. Fans of the franchise will remember the dramatic change of Sarah Connor’s attitude from being a sweet little waitress in the first film to a total badass in the second. This is largely thanks to Linda Hamilton, who wanted to play a crazier role. How dedicated was she to this change? Well, she went into advanced weapons training with an ex-Israeli special forces soldier a mere two weeks after giving birth to her child!

#2: Bradley Cooper
“American Sniper” (2014)

“American Sniper” not only gave us an emotionally gripping story of the decorated Navy SEAL vet, Chris Kyle, but also a beast mode Bradley Cooper. You have to be at your very best when training to become a Navy SEAL and Cooper certainly didn’t slack for this role, as he put on about 40 pounds of muscle to try and match Kyle’s physique. Cooper also had to become a sniper despite never firing a rifle in his entire life. Thanks to his rigid training with one of Kyle’s close friends, Kevin Lacz, he was able to pull it off in the end.

Before we get to our top pick, here are a few Honourable Mentions:

John Krasinski
“13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” (2016)

Entire Cast
“Black Hawk Down” (2001)

Will Smith
“Suicide Squad” (2016)

#1: Keanu Reeves
“The Matrix” franchise (1999-2003) & “John Wick” franchise (2014-)

Keanu Reeves is one of the finest performers out there right now when it comes to the action genre. For starters, he and the rest of the crew had martial arts training in a warehouse for four months prior to the filming of the first “Matrix” movie, and that’s just the beginning. Even today, we can see just how dedicated he is to training. In preparation for the “John Wick” films, Keanu regularly pumped out rounds with Taran Tactical Innovations in the signature style that his character is known for. Videos of his intense training have since gone viral. He is without a doubt an amazing actor.

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