How Matt Damon Got in Tip-Top Shape for ‘Elysium’

Matt Damon always looks good … but for his role in Neill Blomkamp's highly anticipated upcoming film "Elysium" (out August 9), he had to look extra good!

So, what did Damon, 42, do to get his body in top-notch shape to play the tattooed hard-bodied Max character in the film? Did he enroll in the Hugh Jackman school of chicken breast feasting?

[Related: Hugh Jackman Had to Be 'As Emaciated As Possible' For 'Les Mis']

"It was really hard because I love to eat and drink!" Damon, 42, tells People. "It's very hard to motivate me to get in shape."

The actor, who recently received an Emmy nomination for his role as Liberace's lover Scott Thorson in HBO's "Behind the Candelabra," explains that his new bod was a result of strict discipline. Damon spent four hours a day for many months lifting weights and doing cardio to get, well, ripped.

Back in April, Matt chatted with Entertainment Weekly about his workout plan. "We wanted him to look a certain way so I had to keep up a workout regimen," he said, adding that he needed to be in shape just to wear is exoskeleton "hulk-suit" in the film.

"It's kind of like wearing one of those old Bo Jackson weight vests," he noted. "It's really insidious trying to carry extra weight even if you're in shape. You just really need a pretty strong core or you can get injured pretty easily, particularly at my age."

And Blomkamp had a funny way of motivating his leading man. "Neill was so specific about what he wanted me to look like. He actually had a picture with my face tacked onto this guy with this body," Damon recently told Variety. "And they literally hired me a trainer and I went to him with the picture."

So what did his wife Luciana Barroso think of his hot new physique? "I think she likes the variety," Matt says to People with a laugh. "When I did 'The Informant,' I put on 40 lbs. and I was like, 'You kind of like this guy too?' I'm trying to talk her into [liking] that guy because that's the guy I'm most comfortable being."

But don't worry about Luciana leaving her lover if he adds on the bad type of weight. "I'm at the point in my life where somebody was silly enough to marry me," he shares, "and won't leave me if I put on a few pounds!"

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