Don Cheadle: “Being Naked Is My Motivation”

don cheadle
Don Cheadle has spent his career showing off his abilities in a diverse set of roles that are dramatic, funny, and complex. Cheadle, best known for his roles in Devil In A Blue Dress, Crash, Hotel Rowanda and most recently the Iron Man trilogy, shares what he does to prepare for roles. Many of his roles, Cheadle does his own stunts.

“You do have to get in shape for superhero movies, but I was lucky. I’ve had a lot of roles that I had to hit the gym for, so I already knew my way around the weights,” admits Cheadle.

“I have no groundbreaking moves that I do. I bike, I use free weights, I do Pilates, and I use a reformer [exercise equipment],” explains Cheadle.

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“Motivation for me usually stems from if I have to be naked on set or not,” jokes Cheadle. “But I’m not sure that that’s the best prescription. To live a healthy life takes discipline. It’s a matter of how you eat, of how you rest.

“The worst thing I do is work 14-hour days and then not get enough rest afterward,” he says. “That’s the most insidious thing. It tears you down. You get sick and you can’t get better. That’s a bad habit – not getting enough rest – so I try to be really mindful of that.”

When asked what was the one thing about health he knows now but he wished he knew 20 years ago, Don explains, “For three summers after college, I’d play basketball for 6 hours a day. I wish I had known that playing basketball every day would wear my knees out. My health has always been a priority, but I definitely appreciate it more now. I’m much more mindful of it now.”