Emma Thompson is an advocate for body positivity and healthy self-image, which is why it’s no surprise to learn that she threatened to leave a 2008 film when a co-star was asked to shed some pounds.
PEOPLE reports that while on the Swedish talk show Skavlan last week, the Oscar winner discussed the intense pressure women in Hollywood face to achieve an unrealistically thin physique. While addressing the subject, she shared a revealing story.
The Saving Mr. Banks actress said that while she was shooting a movie nearly 10 years ago, a producer asked one of her co-stars to lose weight. She said, “There was a wonderful actress in a film I did called Brideshead Revisited. The producer said to her, ‘Will you lose some weight?’ And she was absolutely exquisite!”
After the producer made the request, Emma felt it important to interject. She continued, “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.'”
From Emma’s point of view, the producer’s comment was reflective of a systemic issue. She said, “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.”
She continued, “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… 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.”
Finally, the only person to have won Oscars for both acting and writing added that she has a retort ready for any filmmaker who disapproves of her appearance: “Sorry, do you want me to be an actress or a model?”
Brideshead Revisited is a historical drama for which Emma earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the British Independent Film Awards. The film’s other stars include Matthew Goode, Hayley Atwell, Ben Whishaw, Felicity Jones, Michael Gambon and Greta Scacchi.
What do you think of Emma’s decision to defend her co-star? ~Matthew Pariselli