One look at Aaron Eckhart as the legendary monster in the new action-thriller "I, Frankenstein" is enough to show you that this isn't the same amalgamation of horror we've grown accustomed to. 

"I think we made this Adam, our hero, a lean, mean, fighting machine," Eckhart recently told ScreenRant. "We’ve given him energy. Before, the incarnations of Frankenstein have been this block-headed, cumbersome, bolts-in-the-neck kind of guy. We’ve just taken that all out."

To pull off the transformation required to communicate Frankenstein's new badass physicality, Eckhart says he first needed inspiration from the animal kingdom. 

"I studied the gorilla, I studied how he acts and how he moves and his movements," he said. "I thought that was a good place to start, an animal that had an abundance of strength, strikes quickly, but yet in his interior he’s basically a sensitive creature. All his physicality I got from the gorilla."

In an interview with UFC, the 45-year-old says he next committed himself to an intense six-month-long martial arts training program - with a focus on Kali stick fighting.

"We were trying to make it that not only the sticks were comfortable in my hand, but that it was second nature," Eckhart said, adding that he trained for two-three hours a day. "If I saw a stick coming at me, I could immediately go on offense to defense or defense to offense without even thinking, and then turn around and take on two more guys. We, also did knife fight training, gun training, disarming weapons, all sorts of stuff."

Despite the training and practice, Eckhart reveals that there were some scary moments when it came to actually perform. 

"It was a tough movie to make. It was dangerous. I was knocked out several times being hit with sticks," he said. "The toughest thing was having another actor who was a novice like myself and having to do intense stick fighting with them. If you're a centimeter off or have a lapse of judgement, you can shatter a guy's cheek or break their knee. I had a guy hit me in the back of the neck and I thought I was paralyzed."

"I, Frankenstein" slams into theaters January 24th. Check out a trailer below.

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Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

How Aaron Eckhart used stick fighting to become Frankenstein
Actor says he trained for two to three hours per day in the martial arts to transform his body for the role.