Hello all and Welcome back to the insanity that is STAR WARS: THE BLOG STRIKES BACK post series, today I’m going to get to the meatier side of things and talk about:
Now for those of you who have been living under a rock for the most part in terms of the STAR WARS FANDOM Let me appraise you of the goings-on:
Last year (2015 is now last year, is that not scary?) There was this big brouhaha about how Carrie Fisher was asked to loose weight for her then upcoming role in STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.
Needless to say she was not exactly pleased saying:
“They don’t want to hire me, only about three-quarters!”
Well this came to that and now I’m posting about it.
The question is (more or less): Is it right/ok to ask someone to loose weight for a film role?
Let’s take Ms. Fisher’s example:
STAR WARS is somethings that has entranced millions of people across generations and around the world, Ms. Fisher’s Leia is an Iconic character, there is absolutely no way to ever think about her without remembering her two most notable outfits:
from STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE
From STAR WARS: RETURN OF THE JEDI
Fans are not exactly going to be able to requite Princess Leia with a General Leia who looks like this:
No offense, Carrie, we love you and all but; no-one’s going to believe a General Leia who looks like Grandma.
That’s not to say she looked bad either, but she was not the right aesthetic for the role at the time.
As an actor/actress it is your job to sometimes physical change to meet the demands of your role; either by slimming down, bulking up, or even shaving off your eyebrows. Just look at Christian Bale, Tom Hanks, and Charlize Theron to name a few greats who have gone to great lengths for their job.
When you are revisiting a role you have played before, you should try to embody that character to your fullest abilities. Especially so if your role is as Iconic as Leia.
No-one can really imagine Leia ever looking too far off from her prime – 30 years ago, that’s not to say we expect for her to look the same as when she spent her tenure as Jabba the Hutt’s Slave; we just believe that we have connected to the character in such a way as we know her fundamental values, and probably what she’s been up to for the most part for the last goodness knows how long since the original trilogy.
And whatever is was, was probably not at all similar to what Ms. Fisher has been doing for the same amount of time.
Another point being that it’s not exactly like anyone asked, or even expected her to loose astronomical amounts of weight; just enough to make her role as General Leia believable. Besides, wouldn’t being in STAR WARS again make it worth it? Wouldn’t the probable millions that she made off of the movie worth it?
Personally, I know I could be more fit; and if someone came up to me and said, “Hey, we’d like you for this role in this movie, you’ll be paid well; but you have to loose 40 pounds.” I’d probably go for it; they would be paying me to take better care of myself and play pretend all day – what’s the downside?
I mean, yes. It is kinda insulting and demeaning to confront a woman about her weight, and ask her to loose some.
But in case anybody has not noticed, I’m pretty sure they asked Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) to do the same, which he did. A part of it is that no matter how perfect you think your body is you still might have to change it if you want to pursue a career in acting, Henry Cavill (Man of Steel/Superman, Man From U.N.C.L.E. The Counte of Monte Cristo) was asked to slim down for his role as Albert Mondego in the Count of Monte Cristo (2002) when he was 19 (They apparently had to go through the neutral channel of his mother to inform him – needless to say being the British perfection that he is, he was mortified*).
So to answer the question – yes, if it’s an actress or actor who is getting paid, it is appropriate to ask them to shed some pounds, within reason of course.
and that is my opinion on that.
May the Force be With You.
*More like embarrassed, but mortified sounds so much better