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“[I’ve] Been Asked To Not Use My Natural Body In Cinema” And 21 Other Things Celebs Have Been Told About Being Asked To Lose Weight For Roles

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“[I’ve] Been Asked To Not Use My Natural Body In Cinema” And 21 Other Things Celebs Have Been Told About Being Asked To Lose Weight For Roles

Editor’s Note: This post includes references of fat-shaming and anti-fatness that might be hard for some to read.

1. In one of Variety’s recent Actors on Acting interviews, Jennifer Lawrence revealed that she was pressured to lose weight for The Hunger Games. “I remember the biggest conversation was, ‘How much weight are you going to lose?'” she told Viola Davis. “Along with me being young and growing and not able to be on a diet, I don’t know if I want all of the girls who are going to dress up as Katniss to feel like they can’t because they’re not a certain weight. And I can’t let that seep into my brain either.”

2. Bryce Dallas Howard is a staple of the Jurassic World films — but even with her proven star power, she was asked to lose weight for the third film. “[I’ve] been asked to not use my natural body in cinema,” she told Metro, alluding to the fact that she’d been asked to lose weight for the preceding two films as well. “The conversation came up again: ‘We need to ask Bryce to lose weight.'” However, she said director Colin Trevorrow stood up for her, and emphasized that “there are lots of different kinds of women on this planet, and there are lots of different kinds of women in our film.”

3. When Florence Pugh was cast in Studio City at age 19, she was told not only to lose weight, but to change her face. This made her reconsider her career choice. “All the things that they were trying to change about me — whether it was my weight, my look, the shape of my face, the shape of my eyebrows — that was so not what I wanted to do, or the industry I wanted to work in.” The show was not picked up, and Pugh ended up having a much better experience in her next role, in Lady Macbeth.

4. For her role in Yellowjackets, Melanie Lynskey was not asked to lose weight, but she did deal with uncomfortable comments from a production staff member about her weight. “They were asking me, ‘What do you plan to do? I’m sure the producers will get you a trainer. They’d love to help you with this.'” Lynskey said she ignored the comments, and found it important for women to relate to her and see a character who feels comfortable in her body and sexy.

5. Amy Schumer was also pressured to lose weight for the film she wrote and starred in, Trainwreck. “It was explained to me before I did that movie that if you weigh over 140 pounds as a woman in Hollywood, that…if you’re on the screen it will hurt people’s eyes,” she said in an interview. “So I lost some weight to do that, but never again.” She said they had her work with a trainer and gave her a strict diet (which she said had “no food” for some meals), but that it only caused her to lose 3 pounds.

6. Margaret Cho was also pressured to lose weight for All-American Girl. She was told she “was too overweight to play the part of [herself].” She then drastically decreased her food intake, and later ended up in the hospital with kidney failure from “not eating.”

7. When Henry Cavill auditioned to play James Bond when he was 21 (a role that went to Daniel Craig), the director pulled him aside and said something along the lines of, “Look, buddy, you’re at a Bond screen test. The next time you come to a screen test, really focus on making sure you bend over if it’s for something like Bond.” Cavill said he was “by no means plump, but I probably gained some extra weight by taking off my shirt in front of the camera” — something he’s always disliked doing.

8. Chris Pratt was originally told he was “too fat” to play Scott Hatteberg in Moneyball — causing him to turn to crash dieting, running, and cutting alcohol in order to lose weight. “That was the first time I heard someone say, ‘We’re not gonna cast you — you’re too fat,” he told Vanity Fair.

9. Patricia Arquette was asked to lose weight for Medium, and said it made her feel “annoyed and crappy. But I feel like it’s been a conversation my whole life. When True Romance came out, some critics said I was too fat or too heavy.” However, she was able to leverage her experience as a movie star to fight back against these requests. “I was in position of power and could say, ‘On True Romance, Tony Scott never made me feel like that. What are you saying? That every married woman has to look a certain way? [My character] has three kids. It’s about a marriage, not a modelling competition.'”

10. When David Harbour auditioned to play the Blob in an X-Men film, he jokingly showed his stomach and said, “I got your blob right here!” Afterward, he was called into a meeting with the director, where he was told, “David, look, you’re wonderful, we really think you’re just a great actor, we’re just concerned … you lifted up your shirt and we saw the… We’re just a little worried about your health.” Harbour continued, “I was like, ‘Wait a minute, dude, pause for one second. You are telling me I’m too fat to play The Blob?'” He didn’t get the role.

11. Carrie Fisher was told to lose weight when she was first cast in the Star Wars series. “They want to hire part of me, not all of me. So they want to hire about three-fourths, so I have to get rid of the fourth somehow,” Fisher revealed. “The first movie I had, I guess you’d still call it baby fat.” She weighed 105 pounds, and was told to lose 10.

12. She was also pressured to lose weight for her return in The Force Awakens — specifically, 35 pounds. “Nothing changes, it’s an appearance-driven thing,” she said. I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. It’s so messed up. They might as well say get younger because that’s how easy it is.”

13. Pearl Harbor director Michael Bay asked the film’s star, Kate Beckinsale, to lose weight for the film. “It wasn’t great,” Beckinsale said. “It didn’t make me feel good, and in general, I think women are body-shamed 100 million percent more than men.”

14. Kirsten Dunst was also asked to lose weight for The Beguiled by its director, Sofia Coppola. Dunst refused, saying, “I’m eating fried chicken and McDonald’s before work. So I’m like, ‘We have no options! I’m sorry I can’t lose weight for this role.’”

15. Queen Latifah revealed to Entertainment Tonight that she — along with the rest of the cast of Living Single — were pressured to lose weight while the show was airing. “Here we are, four different women, four different body types, and we needed to lose weight. … It really angered me. I said, ‘We are what women look like, we’re not going to lose weight for whoever’s idea of what we’re supposed to look like.””

16. Hayley Atwell was pressured to lose weight for Brideshead Revisited. Emma Thompson, who also starred in the film, defended Atwell, telling the studio/producer, ’If you speak to her about this again, on any level, I will leave this picture. You are never to do that.’” In the end, Miramax “accepted” Atwell “for who [she] was.” Speaking about Thompson’s support, Atwell said, “if I’ve ever had an insecurity about myself in this industry, Emma always has an amazing ability to say something to put it all into perspective so that you don’t hate yourself.”

17. Rafe Spall was asked to lose weight for I Give It a Year. “It was made clear to me that I needed to lose weight in order to do the film. And so, a trainer was laid on. I trained twice a day for 13 weeks to look like a ‘normal guy,'” he said. “It wasn’t like I was playing a superhero or whatever — I was playing a normal guy.’

18. Universal Pictures president Rob Meyer asked Jason Segel to lose weight for The Five-Year Engagement. “I was told that it had to be conceivable that Emily Blunt would ever choose me to be her husband. Which is fair,” Segel told David Letterman. He lost 35 pounds for his role in the film.

19. Kate Winslet was often pressured by tabloids to lose weight early in her career, and her agent was often asked, “How’s her weight?” in reference to potential roles. When she starred in Mare of Easttown, she was not told to lose weight, but director Craig Zobel did suggest that he could remove her “bulgy bit of belly” from a sex scene. Winslet refused, stressing that people connect with the character because there are “no filters.”

20. In the mid-2000s, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was told to lose weight — and stop going to the gym — as part of an effort to shed his wrestling past. “Well, you buy into that shit, as I did, until — one of two things was going to happen,” Johnson said. “You’re either going to continue to go down that road and that path, and you’re going to be miserable. And eventually your career is probably going to fizzle out and it’s not going to have any sense of longevity or quality to it.”

21. Richard Madden has also been pressured to lose weight for “numerous roles,” saying, “It doesn’t just happen to women.” Madden dislikes portraying “unrealistic body image,” and says his peers do, too: “I find myself with actor friends — after we’ve done a kind of barely eating, working-out-twice-a-day, no-carbing thing for these scenes — looking at each other going: ‘We’re just feeding this same s**t that we’re against.'”

22. And finally, Viola Davis was pressured to lose weight early in her career. She was constantly told at Julliard that she was “too fat” and “heavy.”

The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.

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