Actors Starving Themselves for Roles? 'Obscene'

Time for this disturbing trend to die: Lisa Schwarzbaum

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 20, 2014 10:15 AM CST | Updated Jan 20, 2014 1:20 PM CST

(Newser) – Matthew McConaughey is the latest in a long line of actors to lose a frightening amount of weight for a role, in his case to portray a man dying of AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club. But this trend is "neither impressive, nor proof of a serious commitment to art, nor a testament to the resilience of the human body," writes Lisa Schwarzbaum for the BBC. Rather, it's "obscene," "grotesque," and "creepy," especially considering the fact that millions of people around the globe are actually starving while McConaughey is telling magazines what he subsisted on to lose so much weight.

These actors (think Christian Bale in The Fighter, Tom Hanks in Philadelphia and Cast Away, Adrien Brody in The Pianist, and many more) are praised and rewarded for their efforts, oftentimes with Oscars and Golden Globes. Meanwhile, actresses who lose an extreme amount of weight for roles are clucked over and criticized, while actresses who gain weight for roles are applauded. All of this is ridiculous and has turned acting into a stunt. "Was extreme weight loss absolutely critical for any of these performances to be more effective?" Schwarzbaum writes. "Pure acting, with full appreciation for said movie star’s fortunate, well-compensated and healthy body, cannot be oversold as a better option." Click for her full column.

This image released by Focus Features shows Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof in a scene from the film, Dallas Buyers Club.
This image released by Focus Features shows Matthew McConaughey as Ron Woodroof in a scene from the film, "Dallas Buyers Club."   (AP Photo/Focus Features, Anne Marie Fox)
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