I might be the only person who really watched the film version of Brideshead Revisited starring Emma Thompson and Matthew Goode. It came out in 2008, and it was supposed to be a more luxe version of the very popular miniseries from the 1980s, starring Jeremy Irons. I never saw the miniseries, but I liked the movie in general. Emma was the matriarch of an aristocratic family, the Flytes, and two young British actresses played her daughters: Felicity Jones and Hayley Atwell. There were other actresses in the film too, but I kind of think Emma is talking about Hayley or Felicity. Emma told a story on a recent chat show appearance and it’s sort of a blind item. Hm.
Emma Thompson has no tolerance for body shaming. The Saving Mr. Banks was discussing the pressure for actresses to be thin in Hollywood while on the Swedish talk show Skavlan last week, and revealed she once threatened to quit a production when a producer asked one of her costars to lose weight.
“There was a wonderful actress in a film I did called Brideshead Revisited,” she remembered of the 2008 film. “The producer said to her, ‘Will you lose some weight?’ And she was absolutely exquisite!”
That’s when Thompson decided to intervene. “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 revealed.
For Thompson, the incident was emblematic of a larger problem in show business. “It’s evil what’s happening and what’s going on there, and it’s getting worse. The French fashion industry said they would get rid of size zero and then, you know, they didn’t. The anorexia — there’s so many kids, girls and boys now, and actresses who are very, very thin into their 30s, who simply don’t eat. They don’t eat … Sometimes there are just some subjects that you absolutely have to make noise about because it’s so tedious and it’s gone on and on,” she added.
After years in the business, Thompson said she has a comeback reserved for any filmmaker who criticizes her appearance: “Sorry, do you want me to be an actress or a model?”
I think it was probably Hayley Atwell, because she had a decent-sized part, and I remember how refreshing it was to see an actress who looked like a woman in her position would look. I mean, Hayley was slender, but she didn’t have a toned, modern look, and she wasn’t yoga-fit or whatever. She looked like what a healthy, aristocratic girl in the 1930s would have looked like. And no, it does not surprise me that some producer asked her to lose weight. People are such a–holes and Emma is absolutely right – it’s like we’ve become accustomed to people just not eating, or for everyone in the film and fashion industry to be really, really tiny.
Photos courtesy of WENN.