Emma Thompson decries ‘evil’ Hollywood pressure on women to be thin

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 30 March, 2017, 9:37am
UPDATED : Thursday, 30 March, 2017, 8:58pm

Emma Thompson has criticised Hollywood for the pressure it puts on female actors to be thin, saying that she almost quit Brideshead Revisited because another actor was asked by the film’s producers to lose weight.

Thompson made the comment during an interview on Swedish talk show Skavlan, after another guest brought up the subject of weight loss. Thompson didn’t reveal the name of the actor, but confirmed that she confronted producers of the film over the issue.

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“Actresses who are into their 30s simply don’t eat,” she said. “There was a wonderful actress I was working with on Brideshead Revisited, and the producers said, ‘Will you lose some weight?’

“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.’ It’s evil what’s going on out there and it’s getting worse,” she added.

Brideshead Revisited, a film adaptation of Evelyn Waugh’s novel of the same name, was released in 2008 and starred Thompson, Ben Whishaw and Hayley Atwell. Other female actors in the film included Felicity Jones and Greta Scacchi.

In the interview, Thompson also joked that Hollywood’s obsession over weight prevented her from living there. “I never moved to the US,” she said. “I couldn’t. Can you imagine? Every time I go to LA I think, ‘Oh God, I am too fat to go there.’”

The actor was similarly critical of the fashion industry. “The French fashion industry said, ‘We will get rid of size zero,’ and didn’t,” she said. “There are some subjects you have to keep making noises about because it’s so tedious, and it’s gone on and on.”

Thompson has been a proponent of women’s rights in the past. In a letter to the Guardian last year she urged London voters to back the Women’s Equality party in the city’s mayoral election. “I am backing the Women’s Equality party because I really do not want to die before closing the pay gap, which stands, in our great and supposedly modern capital city, at 23 per cent,” she wrote.