Marvel Actor Gregg Sulkin Reveals His Number One Weakness

Gregg Sulkin may seem totally out of his element. The 26-year-old English native was once on track to become a soccer star in his home country before an injury changed the trajectory of his career, and he moved to Los Angeles to be a teenage Disney heartthrob instead (which, all things considered, doesn’t seem like such a bad trade).

But he’s settled into Hollywood life quite comfortably, knocking out regular TV roles. His latest, as Chase Stein in Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu, has found him critical claim—and fortunately, the show, which just finished its second season and is expected to have a third, wasn’t a victim of the same kind of cancellation bloodbath that Netflix’s Marvel shows have experienced.

Men’s Health talked to Sulkin about why he still can’t quite leave soccer behind, his worst mistake on the job, and his ultimate vice (hint: it comes in pastry form).

Polo ($100) by Ben Sherman,; trousers ($165) and watch ($135) by Lacoste,

Men’s Health: So you’re from London, but you live most of the time in Los Angeles now?

Gregg Sulkin: Yeah, I live in LA. I moved over when I was 17—I was offered a job on the Disney Channel [Wizards of Waverly Place]—so I’ve been here a quick minute now. I love it here.

Did you move with your parents?

No, I actually moved here by myself. My mum came with me for the first bit. I basically became a loner and lived in America by myself.

That must be a lot when you’re 17.

It made me grow a lot, that’s for sure. I still don’t know how to cook though. Postmates is my best friend.

Let talk Runaways. The third season isn’t confirmed yet right?

It’s not confirmed, but it’s basically confirmed. As far as I know, we’ll be back pretty soon.

Gregg Sulkin in Runaways.

How is it now that you’ve settled in?

It’s been a really special time in my life and just been amazing opportunity. The folks at Marvel have been beyond supportive of the show but also to me personally. It’s been amazing to pick their brains a bit because eventually I want to get into the production side of things.

You’re starting to make your way there. You’re a producer on This Is the Year, a coming-of-age movie, which should come out later this year.

Yeah, David Henrie directed it, and David has been my best friend for a long time. We sat around a campfire maybe five or six years ago and we said we wanted to make a movie together and after many development meetings and many rewriters and a lot of hard work and a lot of traveling to find money and things like that, we finally did it.

What’d you learn going behind the camera?

First, how hard it is to get a movie made. Until the camera is rolling, anything can fall out of bed. Whether it’s a year before, six months before, a week before, the day before. We definitely had some scares of things just not working out.

You and the Runaways showrunners tweaked your character Chase Stein a bit from the comic books, right?

Yeah, I think [writer] Brian [K. Vaughan] did an amazing job with the original comics and it’s no disrespect to him, but on the page the character is a little one-dimensional so we wanted to make sure if we did two, three, four seasons of a show, we dived deeper. What [showrunners] Josh [Schwartz] and Stephanie [Savage] did was develop the father-and-son bond, or lack thereof, and that was really fun to play with. Chase is a bit of a jock, that’s probably his exterior and his facade, but as the show continues, you realize this is actually just a young kid who wants to be loved and do good and protect these five other individuals.

What do you have to do physically to be the jock type?

Basically, I mean, get my ass to the gym. [Laughs] That’s the first one. The second is, when I’m shooting, it’s not just knowing my lines. There’s a whole mental aspect of acting, and you have to be on in tiptop shape both mentally and physically. It requires eating healthy, making sure I’m not out partying and stuff like that. It’s a whole sacrifice. At the end of the day, there are millions of dollars getting pumped into our show, and I need to make sure I’m in the condition so the people hiring me still hire me.

You’ve said that you have to especially avoid chocolate chip cookies. You have a sweet tooth?

It’s my weakness… As you said “chocolate chip cookie,” I literally looked down at my stomach. That’s the instinct: Do I want abs, or do I want a chocolate chip cookie? Unfortunately I want both.

You’ve also mentioned your favorite exercise is football—or soccer as we call it here. Did you grow up playing?

Yeah, my whole life. I was gonna be a soccer player before I was an actor.

In the UK?

Yeah, I played for the United Queens Park Rangers and West Ham United youth academies. I got a knee injury and couldn’t play and, thankfully, ended up in this industry. I was like, Oh, I get to miss school? Oh, great, I’ll continue this. I love my family to death, but we’re not the most academic.

Have you been to any MLS games?

I have. I enjoy the [LA] Galaxy.

So you root for the Galaxy?

Of course, just because [former player] David Beckham was an idol of mine growing up. When he moved, I moved. But it’s definitely not the same. I’ve always found it so funny—in American sports, the opposing fans sit next to each. In England, there would be 18 fights by the time the game started.

English soccer fans have been known to get… violent.

Well, yeah, there’s definitely some hooliganism, but there’s also in my opinion a little bit more passion.

Getty ImagesAmanda Edwards

Do you get concerned at all about injuring yourself for projects when you play soccer now?

You know what’s crazy? [Laughs] On my last show [MTV’s Faking It], my showrunner was Carter Covington. I love Carter, but when he hired me, he said, “I know you love soccer, but you must promise me if I hire you, you must not play soccer during shooting.” I was like, “Absolutely.” The first season, I didn’t play, second season, I didn’t play, and then the third season, I thought to myself, “I’m just gonna play.” That was on a Thursday night. That evening I went in for a tackle, and I tore my meniscus.

The next morning, I couldn’t get out of bed. I went to set on crutches and for four weeks of production, they had to rewrite all the scenes because I couldn’t be walking. After production, I had to go have a surgery.

Wow, that’s pretty bad luck.

And how can I complain? I’m not gonna complain to my boss who told me not to do it it in the first place.

Was he pissed?

He understands that soccer is my passion, but at the end of the day, he has a show to run and so I think I learned my lesson. During Runaways, I don’t play soccer.

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