Anne Hathaway lost 11 kilograms for her role as consumptive prostitue Fantine in the yet-to-be-released big screen musical Les Miserables. Natalie Portman shed nine kilograms for her Oscar-winning role as a ballerina in 2010’s Black Swan and Christian Bale dropped a huge 28 kilograms for the The Machinest (2004). They weren’t the first to shed kilos for roles and they won’t be the last – but, is it healthy for stars to actively discuss the weight they lost for certain roles?
Anne Hathaway’s turn as Fantine in the forthcomingmusical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s masterpiece, which also stars Australia’s own Hugh Jackman, has received a lot of media attention. Her vocal talent is the key focus of the film’s trailer, but it’s her hauntingly thin appearance that has people talking.
While it’s easy understand the desire of an actor, and directors, to want to transform completely into a character, it’s harder to believe it is beneficial to normalise the weight loss through the press.
“I had to be obsessive about it – the idea was to look near death,” Hathaway told Vogue in a recent interview.
The 30-year-old star told Vogue she first shed five kilograms to begin filming and then later dropped another seven by eating nothing but two thin pieces of oatmeal paste a day.
“Looking back on the whole experience – and I don’t judge it in any way – it was definitely a little nuts,” Hathaway reflected in the interview.
“In doing so I overdid it because I was enjoying gorging. I was ignoring advice about taking it slowly because my stomach had shrunk, and I should just go with soups”
Bale has said he jumped straight into overeating pizza and ice-cream which resulted in his stomach expanding quickly, resulting in getting sick.
“In that short amount of time (six weeks) I did actually go from 121 (pounds) right back up to 180 (pounds) which is way too fast so that resulted in some doctor visits to get things sorted out,” he said.
If it is deemed necessary to talk about the weight loss in relation to the film and the character then the implications of yo-yo dieting, self-starvation and extreme weight fluctuation need to be made clear.