For her latest role as Warcraft‘s warrior half-Orc Garona, actress Paula Patton had to get into real fighting shape.
“In the beginning it’s quite daunting,” Patton tells PEOPLE of her training. “The [filmmakers] wanted Garona to have more muscle, for me to eat more protein and such, so it started with two and a half hours of physical training, six days a week. You do it one day at a time, you grow to love it and then we added at least two hours of training with knives and sword. I also got to learn how to ride a horse which I never had before, that is what I love about acting, the gift of it that you get to learn these things in a fast, furious way, with experts.”
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Patton’s commitment to her training resulted in tight, toned muscles from head to toe, including her rear end.
“You know what’s funny? You don’t really look at it yourself that often but my butt, it got bigger but in a good way,” she says of the most unexpected benefit of her hard work. “You don’t really look over your shoulder that often and my friends were like, ‘Girl, have you seen your butt lately?'” she recalls with a laugh. “So I think if it was anything it was that, my butt got bigger and it changed, so that was fun. It was the thing I certainly didn’t need to have in the movie but I kind of liked it. You’re not thinking about it. Once we got past the training and the endurance and it became stunts, you’re not really thinking about it at that point, so it was a bit of a surprise.”
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Patton says she was initially nervous about bringing Garona – a half-human, half-Orc based on the popular game World of Warcraft – to life.
“How I was going to do that?” Patton recalls. “Being able to physically do some of the things that Garona did, it whipped me into a warrior in my mind, thinking that I could be a warrior, that I could be that fierce. It was the most challenging, but one of the greatest gifts of the movie that I’m so thankful for.”
Warcraft is now in theaters.