When an actor loses or gains a significant amount of weight for a role, it often makes headlines. Only recently has it received such coverage when they opt not to. In an age when people are trying to do away with body size stereotypes, it doesn't seem right for a filmmaker to request that an actor slim down, especially when the reason is purely aesthetic.
Regardless of whether or not it is appropriate to ask an actor to lose weight, it continues to happen regularly, especially to female actors.
Recently, filmmaker Sofia Coppola asked one of her stars to lose weight for her new film, The Beguiled, which is set to premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. What made this particular ask slightly more awkward was that is occurred between two longtime friends.
Because of their close relationship, however, Dunst was not shy about candidly asserting her feelings on the matter.
"I'm eating fried chicken and McDonald's before work," Dunst told Variety with regards to filming in the South. "So I'm like, 'We have no options! I'm sorry I can't lose weight for this role.'"
Coppola and Dunst have worked together on a number of films over the years, including Marie Antoinette and Coppola's directorial debut, The Virgin Suicides. As such, Coppola told Variety she often felt "big-sisterly" and protective towards her regular star.
In fact, early on in their relationship, she told Dunst, "I love your teeth. Don't ever fix your teeth."
While going from embracing Dunst's appearance to telling her she needed to lose weight for The Beguiled may seem somewhat hypocritical, it's not entirely out of reach for a sister-like figure to stumble into judgmental territory. That said, it's also totally acceptable for the other half of the sister-like equation to fire back with a "sorry, no."
Unfortunately, actors aren't always in the position to push back against their director or producer's wishes. For example, the late Carrie Fisher was asked to lose over 35 pounds for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. According to an interview she did with Stephen Colbert, she was also asked to lose weight before the first Star Wars movie, and even went to a "fat farm" to do it.
"They always do," Fisher told Colbert about producers asking her to lose weight, Hollywood Life reported. "They want to hire part of me, not all of me."
"If anybody even tries to whisper the word 'diet,' I'm like, 'You can go f*ck yourself,'" Lawrence said in an interview with Harper's Bazaar, the Daily Mail reported.
It's great that actresses like Dunst and Lawrence feel they have a right to keep their bodies as they are, but that's not a norm in Hollywood. The only way that will change is if more continue to stand their ground against the perpetuation of fat shaming.
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