Emma Thompson, already one of our favourite Hollywood role models, has revealed that she once threatened to quit a movie after overhearing a producer asking a fellow actress to lose weight.
The much-loved star slammed the movie industry’s “evil” body shaming problem during an interview with Swedish chat show Skavlan, saying she feels “fat and old” every time she visits Los Angeles.
Thompson, currently seen as Mrs Potts in Beauty and the Beast, told viewers that there are actresses who “simply don’t eat” before revealing her own run-in with the issue.
“There was a wonderful actress in a film I did called Brideshead Revisited and the producer said to her, ‘Would you lose some weight?’ and she was exquisite and I said to them, ‘If you speak to her about this again on any level I will leave this picture. You are never to do that.’,” she said, adding that she could “never live” in Hollywood because whenever she arrives it seems to be saying to her, “you are fat and you are old, go home”.
Thompson stopped short of naming the actress targeted by the producer, but the 2008 film starred Hayley Atwell, Felicity Jones and Greta Scacchi among others.
She also hit out at the fashion industry, which “promised to get rid of size zero and didn’t”, branding the subject of body shaming one that “you have to keep making noises about because it’s so tedious and it’s gone on and on”.
Yet another highlight, and true pearl of wisdom, came when Thompson was asked how she dealt with criticism for being outspoken. “Always say what you mean and then you won’t have to be thinking ‘Which lie did I tell about that? What did I say that wasn’t really what I thought in order to keep on the right side of this group of people?’” she said. “That’s for politicians to play at, but not if you’re going to stand up for the things that you believe in.”
More than 725,000 women and men in the UK are affected by eating disorders, with anorexia one of the most common. Though serious, they are treatable and recovery is possible with the right help and support. If you or someone you know is affected, you can find advice from eating disorder charity B-eat.