Zachary Levi always wanted to be a superhero.
“Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamt about being a superhero,” theShazam!star, 38, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “That enthusiasm that you see me play in the movie, a lot of that is just my own natural enthusiasm because I was checking off bucket list item after bucket list item.”
While he’d always been ready mentally, getting into shape to play an immortal man who can lift a bus took more work.
“I got the job and I was in the gym 5-6 days a week,” Levi says. “When I was trying to build mass, you’ve got to eat a lot of calories, 3,500-3,700 calories a day. And they have to be really clean calories, they can’t just be Häagen-Dazs!”
Eating a lot of healthy calories proved to be a tougher challenge than the workouts. “Sitting down and being disciplined enough to keep putting all those calories in you when you’re not in even hungry, it feels like a job in and of itself,” Levi says.