Emma Thompson has branded the pressure put on actresses to be thin as “evil” and says the problem is getting worse.
In an interview on Swedish chat show Skavlan, the two-time Oscar-winner revealed she threatened to quit the 2008 British film Brideshead Revisited when a co-star was told to lose weight.
“The anorexia – there are so many kids, girls and boys now, and actresses who are very, very thin, who are into their 30s, simply don’t eat,” she said.
“There was a wonderful actress I was working with on something called Brideshead Revisited.
“The producers said to her, ‘Will you lose some weight?’ She was absolutely exquisite.
“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 happening, what’s going on out there, and it’s getting worse.”
Thompson, 57, said one of the reasons she had never moved to Los Angeles was because she felt she was deemed “too fat” when she visited.
She added that, when she is asked about her weight while auditioning for a role, her response is, “Sorry, do you want me to be an actress or a model?”
The actress has spoken in the past about looking out for her younger female co-stars.
Speaking to Radio Times in 2015, Thompson expressed dismay that many of the gendered issues facing women in the industry now are the same as those facing her when she first started out nearly 40 years ago.
“I get behind as many young female performers as I can and actually a lot of the conversations I have with them are about exactly the fact that we are facing and writing about the same things and nothing has changed, and that some forms of sexism and unpleasantness to women have become more entrenched and indeed more prevalent,” she said.
“When I was younger, I really did think we were on our way to a better world and when I look at it now, it is in a worse state than I have known it, particularly for women and I find that very disturbing and sad.”
In a 2007 interview, Kate Winslet revealed that, while working with Thompson on the film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility in the 1990s, Thompson had taken her aside and said “If you ever lose weight, I will never… talk to you again.”
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