What Works for Me: Jason Clarke Talks Fitness, Racing Cars, and More

He’s played a CIA agent, a mountaineer, and Ted Kennedy. On the eve of his new film, Pet Sematary, we chat with Jason Clarke about car racing, wave chasing, and candy-as-fuel.

BEING FROM AUSTRALIA, I love being in nature—climbing, backpacking for weeks. I used to chase adrenaline, but after having two kids, I’m not a lunatic anymore. But I still race cars. I played a getaway driver in Public Enemies in the 1990s, and got into it. I’d sneak off to the Chicagoland Speedway on the weekends. With car racing, it’s very easy to know exactly where your skill level is. If you go past that, you’re going to crash.

Surf’s Up

Fitness is something I do for my physical health, but also mental. If I don’t run a few times a week, I become lazy. At the moment I’m with my family in Byron Bay, Australia, where ocean and jungle meets hinterland and cows. Today I had a swim and a surf. I don’t make money from being shredded, so I do a lot of small workouts. I always travel with a skipping rope. And when I’m in L.A., I train with a guy named Andy Thompson, doing CrossFit work and lifting, which has helped my back and shoulders. I also do Pilates for flexibility and range of motion. I’m 49, and after 20 years of stunts and fights, I’ve got a few aches and pains.

Fitness is something I do for my physical health, but also mental. If I don’t run a few times a week, I become lazy.

Fend for Yourself

When we’re together, my wife and I eat a really clean, mostly Mediterranean diet—eggs for breakfast, salad for lunch, fish or chicken for dinner. On a film set, it’s hard to eat properly, as they’re cooking for the whole crew, so it might not be what you need. And you have to maintain the same weight throughout filming. I tend to exert a lot of energy when I shoot and can lose weight easily. Recently, I was shooting in St. Petersburg, Russia, at 4:30 a.m. in minus-30-degree weather. I’d eat Snickers bars between scenes to have enough energy to deliver when it was time to go.

—as told to MARJORIE KORN