ares justice league

Photo via Nick McKinless/Instagram

‘Justice League’ actor spent months getting swole—and then didn’t get a credit

The credits say it's David Thewlis, but this stunt performer says he trained for months for the role.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw


Posted on Dec 1, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 9:18 am CDT

Justice League had a messy production process, with noticeably patchy results. Superman’s moustache is obviously the the crowning glory of Justice League‘s problems, but more stories keep trickling out. The latest relates to Ares, a cameo callback to Wonder Woman.

In Wonder Woman, Ares was played by David Thewlis (who also played Remus Lupin in the Harry Potter movies). The character reappears for a brief historical flashback in Justice League, but according to stunt actor/coordinator Nick McKinless, the film credited the wrong man in the role. While the credits list Thewlis as Ares, McKinless says it was actually him onscreen.

Ares only appears for a few seconds in the theatrical cut, but for McKinless, the role represented months of work. Earlier this year, he posted a photo of himself working out for the role, saying that Zack Snyder requested “paper thin skin and veins like worms.” In other words, McKinless went through a physical transformation to play this character. He went from the athletic body of a stunt actor to the shredded and fat-free physique of a body-builder. As he pointed out at the time, it’s “not a particularly healthy look.”

McKinless displays an upbeat attitude in his Instagram posts, while still making it crystal clear that he worked hard for the role.”I did this role under the understanding I would be credited as Ares. Unfortunately, that did not occur,” he told ComicBookMovie. “That said, I had a brilliant time.  Zack is an incredible director and it was a real honor to be a part of the DCEU.”

He acknowledged credit oversight is “not unusual” in Hollywood, but after putting in so much work, he hoped to at least get credit with Thewlis, who may have contributed some voice work.

It’s possible the credit was just a mistake that happened in the sudden changeover between directors, with Joss Whedon arriving long after Ares’ scenes were shot. For McKinless’ sake, we hope the credits are updated on the home release.

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*First Published: Dec 1, 2017, 1:38 pm CST