Sam Claflin is ‘insecure’ about his body, says men get objectified in Hollywood too

LFF Their Finest Premiere

Sam Claflin is generally a “Who?” to me. I know his face, I know he was in The Hunger Games and Me Before You and Snow White and the Huntsman, but I can’t really say I’ve ever said “Sam Claflin gave a standout performance” or “that’s a role for Sam Claflin.” But because there is no shortage of roles for white English actors, Sam Claflin gets work. He’s currently promoting My Cousin Rachel (also starring Rachel Weisz), which is why he chatted with the Sydney Morning Herald. The conversation turned into a discussion about how men have it just as bad as women in the industry when it comes to being objectified and man-handled. Eh.

On people confusing him with Nicholas Hoult: “We’ve had that before. I’ve met him a couple of times on social occasions and he’s a lovely guy. I’m actually a really big fan of his work and he has a tendency to get most jobs I go for. I feel like he has the career I’d like to have. He’s had more of an opportunity to branch out from playing leading men. He’s played some really, really interesting characters.

He’s done playing boyish 21-year-olds. “I don’t want to be less masculine. I don’t want to be a boy any more. I want to be a man.”

He thinks men are just as objectified as women: “I read in an interview recently and I think it’s absolutely true: men have it just as bad. Well, not just as bad but they get it bad and it’s never talked about. I remember doing one job when they literally made me pull my shirt up and were grabbing my fat and going ‘you need to lose a bit of weight’. This other time they were slapping me. I felt like a piece of meat. I’m not saying it’s anywhere near as bad as what women go through but I, as an actor approaching each job, am insecure – especially when I have to take my top off in it – and so nervous. I get really worked up to the point where I spend hours and hours in the gym and not eating for weeks to achieve what I think they’re going for.”

He longs for the bygone dadbod era: “In the ’50s and ’60s, it was never an issue. James Bond never had a six pack. He had a hairy chest. Marlon Brando​ in A Streetcar Named Desire had an incredible body but he was by no means ripped to within an inch of his life. There’s a filter on society that this is normal but actually it’s anything but normal.”

[From SMH]

I’m glad he caught himself and said “well, not just as bad,” because we really didn’t need to get into a pissing contest about who has it worse in Hollywood (women have it worse, and among that group, women of color have it worse than everybody else). I don’t doubt that Sam feels genuine insecurity, or that he has been on the receiving end of some inappropriate comments. I feel like Hollywood casting agents/producers/directors have in their heads that all of the dudes are supposed to look like Zac Efron now. Like, that what The Ladies like now. And it’s just not the case. When I see Efron or one of his plucked, hairless mindlessly buff compatriots, I feel nothing. Allow dudes to come in all shapes and sizes. Allow women to come in all shapes and sizes too.

Sam Claflin attends a photocall during the Giffoni Film Festival 2016

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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46 Responses to “Sam Claflin is ‘insecure’ about his body, says men get objectified in Hollywood too”

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  1. tracking says:

    I thought he was gorgeous and charming in “Me Before You” (a movie I otherwise loathed).

    • Honey Bear says:

      I saw Me Before You a few days ago. He was so amazingly sexy in that film. The game of thrones girl was annoying.

      • lucy2 says:

        Her constant eyebrow movement drove me insane during that movie.
        He was good in it. Didn’t remember it was him, but now that you say it…

  2. Tan says:

    I think he expressed himself well.
    He is allowed to share the embarrassment and ignominy that he probably went through. The casting couch’s.

    He was in the Pirates 4 movie and there was quite a chunk where he spent shirtless while all the other men were clothed . You could see his discomfort in the scenes in the movie too.

    • Craven says:

      I was going to ask what kind of roles he was auditioning for. If he is asking to play an action character in an action film, of course the producers would want him to look a certain way. You cant have some flub and expect to play a crew mate in a pirate film for goodness sake. It comes down to realism and you know that casting rule would apply to both sexes. As an actor, your body is your tool and you should expect it to be analysed at casting.

      The problem is when the producers shame actresses/actors who are there to play sedentary modern day characters for carrying a little weight. Theres no reason for the actor playing a clothed lawyer, doctor, judge, parent etc to appear fit. And I know from my many years watching TV and film that we do get male actors of all shapes in those roles and very very very rarely see a woman over size 4 in the same parts. All that to say, I’m not buying whatever he is selling.

      • Piggle says:

        “Not buying what he’s selling?”

        What he’s “selling” is that human beings have the right not to be treated like pieces of meat.

        Come work in my industry for five minutes if you think it has the tiniest thing to do with character authenticity. Usually actors are the only ones who give a damn about the authenticity of their characters. Everyone else just wants them to look hawt.

        The poor treatment, abuse and objectification is off the scale. What the general public gets to hear about is the tiniest tip of the iceberg. Men certainly enjoy massive privilege and get a small % of the crap women do, but it’s part of the same problem.

      • Craven says:

        He is a good looking white guy in an industry that takes its male character actors however they can get them latching onto a serious conversation for some victimhood points. He is shooting for action parts and complaining that they look at his mid riff? Meanwhile actresses are getting far worse while auditioning to play Kevin James size 0 wife or Jonah Hills love interest in his next Oscar nominated role. He reminds me of those white guys who whine about “reverse racism” as if it explains why he cant get a job.

      • Llamas says:

        One of my best friends is very close to my height (I’m 5″6) and he’s kind of thin because of his height and he feels horrible about it because all guys are “supposed to be” tall and not skinny or whatever. Men do get objectified – it’s very very different – but it still happens. There is a certain ideal for men – 6+ ft tall, muscular, big d*ck, superhero-esque – and not all men are like this and I think it gets them very down and creates self hatred. The number of men with eating disorders is on the rise and I think part of it is the male standard of beauty. It’s not helpful to side eye this because women have it worse; these two things can exist at the same time.

      • Plibersek says:

        I totally agree, Llamas.
        Having more empathy for men doesn’t mean there’s less empathy to go around for women. However, 90% of people who undergo cosmetic procedures are women.

      • Tan says:

        Actually his role in POTC was that of a priest, whois a captive and somehow ends up giving a nakes mermaid his shirt.
        So officially he didn’t need to be ripped.

        Anyway that’s just one example that came to my mind.

  3. third ginger says:

    I’m sure he is a nice young man, but I always get a little uneasy when male actors say this stuff. No one should be body shamed, and it is true the standards for both male and female beauty are higher than ever, but nothing a male endures can compare to the decades of abuse woman have taken and continue to take.

    • Shambles says:

      I hear you. The difference is that the oppression and abuse of women is intergenerational, systemic, and institutional. Even if, say, I don’t feel the abuse nearly as much as my mom did, the trauma she went through was still passed down to me in certain ways. And there are entire institutions bent on keeping women insecure and unworthy.

      That doesn’t discount what Sam went through, at all, but it’s just not the same.

    • Piggle says:

      I completely agree. I think he did a good job acknowledging that. And also I think some of the objectification of certain male actors (and the fact gay male actors are treated so differently from gay female actors) is due to patriarchy and that patriarchy and toxic masculity can hurt men too. “Manly” men are allowed to do what they like. Pretty boys are essentially treated like women, not as bad, but along those lines.

      Incidentally I worked with Sam on a TV drama before he became huge; he’s one of the good guys.

  4. Alex says:

    I love Sam (huge THG fan) and he’s quite lovely in person. He’s talked about this very subject before so it isn’t new.
    However I have to agree mostly because I think we do a disservice to pretend men don’t also suffer from body norms like women. Men in Hollywood have it easier (so nice correction there Sam) than women but to say that men don’t also have these issues is disingenuous. Like I said feminism and body confidence affects men and women (although disproportionately).

    Also if you haven’t heard about his love story with his wife and want a cute read for the morning look that up.

  5. teacakes says:

    Yeah, ok. I’m still happy Diego Luna got the role of Cassian in Rogue One and not him, anyway – every role doesn’t have to settle for a white British dude or a white Chris.

    • third ginger says:

      What actors were up for that role? I did not keep track of that casting, but Diego did a fine job.

      • teacakes says:

        Claflin, Aaron Paul and Edgar Ramirez.

        Diego’s casting seemed to come out of left field but based on later info, he’d been in the running before the others were reported/was Gareth Edwards’ first choice for the role.

      • third ginger says:

        They certainly made the right choice.

      • Mia4s says:

        It’s hard to know as at some point every actor is thought of for every role but the three most rumoured as actually reading for it other than Diego were Aaron Paul, Edgar Ramírez and this guy. However Diego was the director’s pick from the beginning so it was more of an appeasing the studio by exploring different options. Not uncommon. The guy cast as young Han Solo was the first auditioned but they still went on to meet with 3000 actors or whatever.

        The really interesting thing is Clafin was actually mentioned as being in talks for a role, but at the time that was in the media (if you do the math) Diego had already been cast! Either that was a bad miscalculation by Sam’s people to drum up interest or someone had really bad sources. This behind the scenes stuff fascinates me!

      • teacakes says:

        @Mia4S – yeah, based on what Diego said during his Build interview/Rogue One press tour, he found out he had the role while he was in Budapest filming Casanova – which is around the same time Claflin etc were leaking that he was in contention/nearly cast. And yes, it was Gareth who approached him for the role and talked about getting the suits to agree.

        What I’m more amazed by is that Diego had been in contention for over four months by then and had completed auditioning well before, but we didn’t hear a peep until the news leaked that he had the role in May. It’s fascinating to think of how many Hollywood castings go completely under wraps and not even THR/Deadline/Variety find out.

      • third ginger says:

        I love this background stuff, too. I also like hearing about who passed on roles. My favorite actor for over 3 decades is Sir DDL. He was notorious for passing on everything from INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE to PHILADELPHIA. But it’s tough to argue with 3 Oscars.

      • Mia4s says:

        @teacakes the stories about him being in talks actually came out even later when Diego would have already been cast and was required to keep it a secret. (He said on Chatty Man he had to keep the secret for over two months). That’s what made it even more bizarre, so much so I wondered if Clafin had actually been up for Riz Ahmed’s role which was cast later. I think what probably happened was Clafin’s name was on some list on a desk and some source glimpsed it and decided to take a shot in the dark. I hope that’s it because if his people leaked it after another actor had already been cast (and maybe already signed!) they should be fired. Thankfully he’s not well known or that would have potentially been very embarrassing.

        A lot of casting leaks are deliberate but it is impressive when secrets are kept. Star Wars is pretty good at it, among the best. Diego’s name leaked shortly before the announcement but you’re right that he had not been previously rumoured. I don’t recall Oscar Isaac’s name ever being mentioned before the official casting, or Laura Dern. It’s an interesting area of Hollywood gossip.

      • teacakes says:

        @Mia4s – I remember that, Diego said he got the call while he was in Budapest for another project (he didn’t say which one but it was most likely Casanova, which cast him in early April 2015 and shot in Hungary, among other places, around that time) and the ‘Claflin being eyed’-ish rumours were reported that same month. Which basically means someone leaked a few porkies to the press in likely hopes of buzz that never materialised.

        I doubt he was up for playing Bodhi, though – the report seemed to day that Riz was the one who was closer to actually joining the cast, while Claflin was up for a ‘starring role’…. didn’t sound like the same, and they did make it sound like he was up for sth bigger than his THG ‘franchise random’ role. Which, in R1, would be Cassian. But either way, that was serious egg on the face of the leaker – and double because Diego’s audition process was a successfully kept secret. I love Star Wars secrets and leaks too lol. And I’m so glad they got Diego, because that was the signal to me that this movie was really taking its casting seriously (that and casting Felicity, then a recent Oscar nominee). He was an upgrade on every level.

  6. FishBeard says:

    I think the difference is that men can still get work despite not having the idealized male physique. Whereas actresses are limited in their opportunities to begin with, aside from niche roles for Melissa McCarthy. But Sam’s Claflin’s experience with is absolutely horrendous. I recall reading that Jennifer Lawrence used to have people criticize photos of her body to her face in order to get her to lose weight at the beginning of her career.

    • third ginger says:

      You put this better than I did. And your second sentence is absolutely on the mark.

    • Piggle says:

      It’s common for actresses to be flat out told “we’ll drop you as a client if you don’t lose 20lbs/get a boob job.” Awful.

    • teacakes says:

      @FishBeard – exactly. He can be whatever his regular weight is and not as buff and still book roles….actresses do not get the option of being over a size 6 if they want mainstream movie lead roles.

    • lucy2 says:

      I completely agree with him that male actors face this, and it is no more right or fair than it is when it happens to women, but overall there are still vastly more opportunities for male actors, of every shape, size, and age, than there are for women.

      Side note, ever since Zac Efron got all pumped up, I’ve thought he looks very uncomfortable.

  7. Cleo says:

    I definitely understand where he’s coming from. I think there’s a similar dynamic between thin and overweight women. I am thin, and have often been publicly mocked or insult-complimented on how skinny I am. It hurts, but you have to walk a fine line between expressing your own hurt feelings and ignoring the fact that thin privilege is very real and that overweight women have it so much worse (in terms of stigma and denigration). I think the same goes for body shaming men vs. women, and he articulated himself well.

    I know plenty of men who have severe body image issues, one of whom developed an eating disorder. So I feel for him. And personally, I’d take a nice guy with a dadbod over a roided up Zac Efron anyday.

  8. Rey says:

    He is not wrong. Hollywood is actually extremely ruthless towards younger male actors. They generally only get to be pretty boys ( I am part of the problem when it comes to this. I presume pretty boys to be not interesting or talented enough purely based on their looks :( . ) and have very few chance of a lead role or supporting role in a prestigious movie. In a way ageism works completely opposite for men and women in Hollywood.

  9. Lucy says:

    I like him a whole lot, and I’m glad he caught himself before saying something dumb. He looks great in my opinion.

  10. Sophia petrillo says:

    He was unexpectedly great and sexy in a movie that came out this year called Their Finest with Gemma Arterton. It got like no attention but it’s such a good movie, and I had no idea the main male character was him! I literally never thought of him as attractive or talented until then.

    • Helen says:

      It was good, wasn’t it? Jeremy Irons cameo was fantastic!

    • Becks says:

      I loooove your screen name 😂

    • Bob says:

      Their Finest is a really well made movie that I would’ve completely missed if the reviews for Snatched weren’t so horrible, forcing me to scavenge for a movie to go see with my mom on Mother’s Day. Everyone was great in that movie.

  11. Mia4s says:

    He’s in such a rough spot. Handsome but unremarkable white British dude. As he says, Nicolas Hoult has the market cornered and now in his 30s he’s got even heavier competition. I understand why he’d feel insecure…but it’s a damn good thing he caught himself on that “as bad” because…no.

    • teacakes says:

      That’s just it – he may be talented but so far, all the work he’s known for is pretty forgettable.

      And when you’re competing with the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch (say what you like about his attractiveness, the man IS distinctive), Eddie Redmayne, Ben Whishaw or even Tom Hiddleston on one end of the age range closest to yours, and Nicholas Hoult on the other, it’s easy to get lost in white British dude flotsam.

      • Marianne says:

        don’t forget Andrew Garfield as well. Not only is he charismatic but also an academy award nominee.

  12. Katherine says:

    Yeah, buff and hairless looks like plastic, fit is good though – if it fits the role, of course.

  13. Kate says:

    The statement was not going well but he caught himself. It seems many in the top ladders in Hollywood are just bullies with little talent who like to humiliate other people.

  14. MI6 says:

    Why does he have to check himself? How do we know as women that what men go through isn’t as bad? Many men are reluctant to report because they are shamed by society and told to toughen up. Sexual exploitation of men is no less real or damaging than it is for women.

  15. bella says:

    I really like smaltzy love stories and he was great in Me before you as was the beautiful GOT girl, Emilia Clarke.

  16. Putnam Princess says:

    I loved him in Their Finest. It is one of my favorite movies this year. I didn’t love Me Before You (not as good as the book) but he was good in it.

  17. Marianne says:

    I actually quite respect him for standing up and saying something. In society there is this expectation put on men that you’re somehow “less of a man” if you display feelings. Guys are supposed to be tough, you know? So its refreshing to see him not be afraid to say he’s insecure with his body. I hope it encourages more men out there to be honest as well.