While people generally focus on the pressure on Hollywood celebrities to maintain a youthful look, it’s not just the battle against wrinkles that have actors up at night worrying about their career opportunities. The standards set forth on celebrities regarding their weight is a major focus for getting key roles in Hollywood and it isn’t limited to just females. While the world tends to focus on female actresses and the impossible standards on their weight, it’s also true that there is a certain expectation for male actors to maintain the look necessary of a leading man on the big screen. Sometimes, it’s not just the hidden pressures that are put on the celebrities but it can shockingly be voiced directly to their faces. From getting fired for not looking the part or being flat out told to lose weight prior to filming, there are some Hollywood celebrities that have had their fair share of criticism regarding their physique.
As if this wasn’t disturbing enough, some of these celebrities weren’t even big to begin with. From new mothers in the midst of losing the baby weight to young women that are already far thinner than the natural average, it’s surprising what a Hollywood executive would think is not worthy enough to be seen on screen. Check out our list of the 15 actors who were told they were too fat for a role and see who succumbed to the pressures and who was able to stand up against their most critical peers.
15 Amy Schumer - Trainwreck
When Amy Schumer wrote the 2015 film, Trainwreck, she wrote the main character with herself in mind. Yet, once Trainwreck was slated to go into production, there were some that didn’t think Schumer was right for the character. In an interview on The Jonathan Ross Show, Schumer revealed that she was actually asked to lose weight in order to play the role that she wrote in Trainwreck. During the interview, she stated, “It was explained to me before I did that movie that if you weigh over 140 pounds as a woman in Hollywood, if you’re on the screen, it will hurt people’s eyes.” She ultimately chose to lose a few pounds prior to filming but said that she would never succumb to that sort of pressure again. Once her star began to rise, Schumer had a few revelations on being comfortable in her own skin. Nowadays, Schumer is content with being happy with her own weight and doesn’t let other people’s criticism dictate how she lives her life.
14 Carrie Fisher - The Force Awakens
The dearly departed Carrie Fisher was iconic in the Star Wars franchise and had a huge impact on young boys who remembered her dressed as the beautiful slave girl of Jabba the Hutt. When anticipation began to build over the 2015 release, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, audiences wondered which of the characters would be returning to the silver screen. Once the film was released, audiences were thrilled to see Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher on the big screen together again but one thing they probably didn’t know was that Fisher was actually told to lose weight prior to getting the role. The Daily Mail reported an interview with Carrie Fisher in May of 2014 where she said, “They didn’t hire me, they hired me minus 35 pounds.” Yet, Fisher wound up losing the weight and then some and she reprised her role as Princess Leia in a stellar performance that rejuvenated her character’s popularity in the Star Wars franchise.
13 Jennifer Lawrence - The Hunger Games
While Jennifer Lawrence is thought of as one of the most accomplished and beautiful young women in Hollywood now that she’s an Academy Award-winning actress, there are those that feel that she doesn’t fit the typical mold of a Hollywood actress. In fact, Lawrence gave an interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK in 2013 where she stated, “Somebody told me I was fat, that I was going to get fired if I didn’t lose a certain amount of weight.” While she didn’t name the actual person that made the comment to her, it stands to reason that it wasn’t the only time she had been critiqued about her weight. In 2012, a NY Times film critic wrote a disparaging comment about her size in The Hunger Games film series stating, “A few years ago Ms. Lawrence might have looked hungry enough to play Katniss, but now, at 21, her seductive, womanly figure makes a bad fit.” Lawrence underwent some fitness training in order to get herself ready for the rigorousness of filming in The Hunger Games but she didn’t succumb to the weight criticisms and only focused on maintaining her health and strength for the role.
12 Kate Winslet - The Titanic
While the 1997 film, Titanic, is hailed as one of the best told romantic films of all time, Kate Winslet experienced a huge amount of criticism over her weight. By regular standards, Winslet seemed to be more than adequate when she disrobed and revealed herself during the nude scene. Yet, she still received flack for being larger than the typical size zero Hollywood actress. In 2016, Winslet spoke out about some of the trials and tribulations she went through as a young actress after she accepted the BAFTA award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Steve Jobs. When she addressed the press, she made a statement directed to all the people that told her she was too fat to be a true actress. She stated, “When I was younger, when I was only 14, I was told by a drama teacher that I might do OK if I was happy to ‘settle for the fat girl part.’ Look at me now!” Obviously, she’s finally been able to put all those naysayers in their place and seems to be confident in her own skin.
11 Jason Segel - The Five-Year Engagement
Jason Segel isn’t an actor that is known for his stellar physical appeal on the big screen but instead is known more for his comedic acting skills. While he’s played the role of the leading man a number of times on the big screen, he wasn’t exactly thought of as Brad Pitt to moviegoers. Yet, when she starred alongside Emily Blunt in the 2012 film, The Five-Year Engagement, he was asked to lose weight to be considered for the role. During an interview on The Late Show with David Letterman, Segel stated that Ron Meyer, the studio president, requested that he lose weight for that particular role. He stated, “I was told that it had to be conceivable that Emily Blunt would ever choose me to be her husband.” Segel ultimately lost the weight and wound up keeping the majority of it off over the years and even starred alongside Cameron Diaz in the 2014 film, Sex Tape.
10 Margot Robbie - The Legend Of Tarzan
While Margot Robbie has been in a variety of films, it was her appearance in The Wolf of Wall Street that truly had people perking up and taking notice of this Australian beauty. She was nude or pretty darn near close to nude practically the entire film and the bar was set pretty high for her in regards to her physique. Yet, when she was told that she should lose a certain amount of weight for her portrayal as Jane in the 2016 film, The Legend of Tarzan, she refused to succumb to the pressures. Instead, she told the producers that she refused and gave a convincing argument as to the reason. During an interview with Australia TV Week, Robbie stated, “It’s the 19th century [in the film]. If she’s got a bit of weight on her, it’s probably a good thing. I’m not going to look thin just for the sake of it.” Also, she reportedly said that she was excited about trying all the pubs in London. That statement won her even more fans than before because it just showed that she was a lot like the rest of us and didn’t want to cower to the impossible standards on women set by Hollywood.
9 Mindy Kaling - The Office
While Mindy Kaling has made quite a name for herself as the funny and beautiful woman on the highly successful series, The Mindy Project, she has dealt with her fair share of naysayers due to her weight. Prior to her writing, producing and starring in The Mindy Project, Kaling made a name for herself writing, starring and directing in The Office. In a 2014 interview with The Guardian, Kaling spoke about some of the bumps along the way to stardom and one of them included an experience that ultimately made her grow as an artist. A network executive (who wasn’t named) reached out to her about developing her own sketch show but then made her audition to play her role. She was rejected for the role and was told she was too big to play the role herself. In the interview, she stated, “we were not considered attractive or funny enough to play ourselves. That network is no longer on the air, and The Office went on to be one of NBC’s most hit shows in years. I feel karmically, I was vindicated, but at the time it felt terrible.”
8 Ashley Benson
The Pretty Little Liars star, Ashley Benson, has appeared in a number of roles on TV and the big screen but hasn’t yet achieved the silver screen fame like some of the other breakout stars in Hollywood. While she’s been hailed for her stellar beauty and size 2 physique, she revealed that she has had to deal with negative critiques on her body over the years. In a February 2016 interview with Health, she revealed that she’s been told that she is “too fat” for certain roles she’s auditioned for in recent years. In the interview, she was asked whether or not she has felt pressured to lose weight in order to get work. She stated, “Absolutely. I get told all the time to lose weight. I got that a month ago. It’s just weird. With my stuff recently, it’s been, ‘You have to be skin and bones or you’re not getting it.’ There was a point where it was getting to where a size 2 was great.”
7 Amanda Seyfried
Amanda Seyfried may have started out her career as a TV actress but she quickly transitioned to the big screen and is known for some of her most famous roles in the films, Mamma Mia! and Les Miserables. She’s always been thought of as a beautiful girl that wasn’t on either end of the spectrum in regards to weight. In fact, she had a physique that she wasn’t afraid to show off in films like Chloe and Lovelace. Yet, in 2014 she revealed that she was considered “overweight” by Hollywood’s standards. In October 2014, she took to Twitter and stated, “Fun fact: I almost lost on several roles in my career because I was overweight. Wrong, America.” She didn’t specify which roles or which Hollywood executives pressured her about her weight but the fact that she was brave enough to talk about the impossible standards set forth by the entertainment industry was enough to bring over fans to her side.
6 Hayley Atwell - Brideshead Revisited
Hayley Atwell has appeared in a number of roles on TV and the silver screen and is probably best known for her role in Agent Carter. The decision to cast Atwell for the role of Peggy Carter couldn’t be easier since she has a certain Old Hollywood look that made her perfect for the period costumes and signature hairstyles. Yet, not all executives have felt that Atwell was perfect just as she is and in one particular role, she was asked to lose weight. While signed on for Brideshead Revisited, the then-25-year-old was asked by Miramax executives to slim down for the role. However, Atwell had a champion that didn’t want to see her unnecessarily dieting for the role. Emma Thompson was already signed on for her role in the film as Lady Marchmain, and threatened the executives that she drop out unless they released Atwell from their demands on her immediate weight loss.
5 Demi Lovato - X Factor Judge
Demi Lovato is a celebrity that has always dealt with weight issues and has been quite open about the struggles she’s had regarding eating disorders. At the tender age of just 12-years-old, Lovato began going to extremes to try and cut her weight down and gave an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in 2011 where she stated, “There was nobody out there for me to look at and say maybe this is unhealthy. I want to be that for a 13-year-old girl at home deciding whether or not to eat dinner, or an 18-year-old girl deciding whether or not to keep her breakfast down.” After all of her public struggles with eating disorders, bipolar disorder and cutting, it is truly surprising that there were reports that Simon Cowell asked her to cut down her weight for when she returned as a judge on The X Factor. Reportedly, Cowell felt that she gained a considerable amount of weight after the finale of Season 2 and asked that she drop 20 pounds before returning as a judge for Season 3.
4 Kate Beckinsale - Pearl Harbor
Kate Beckinsale is an actress that has been a staple on the silver screen ever since her first film was released in 1991. While she played a number of characters early on in her career, it wasn’t until her 2001 role in Pearl Harbor that she truly showed her glamour status as a leading lady. When she was in talks with film executives to get the role, she had just given birth and wasn’t all the way back to her pre-baby physique. When meeting with director, Michael Bay, she was reportedly told that she would have to lose weight in order to get the role and there were even rumors that he threw insults her way throughout film production. In March 2016, Beckinsale addressed the tribulations she went through during that time on The Graham Norton Show. She said she was told to “work out” and she took the opportunity to throw a few shots at Michael Bay. The best of the comments was, “I think he was baffled by me because my boobs weren’t bigger than my head and I wasn’t blonde.”
3 Patricia Arquette - Medium
Patricia Arquette is an actress that has been able to maintain a successful acting career despite the fact that her first appearance on the silver screen was way back in the late 1980s. While other actresses were already being pushed out to pasture, Arquette was constantly getting offered new roles. She didn’t limit herself to films since she felt that as long as it was a good role, she had no qualms about TV acting. When the producers of Medium talked with her about landing the role for the 2005 TV series, she was reportedly told to lose weight. In a 2006 interview with Independent, Arquette stated that one of the producers actually turned to her and said, “Honey, you gotta do something about your weight.” However, Arquette wasn’t so easily swayed to drop the extra pounds. Instead, she responded with, “Why? This [character] is a mother of three. I’m sick of that image everywhere.” Referring to the fact that Hollywood mothers are forced to instantly drop the baby weight as soon as they give birth, this was a courageous act on her part to try and promote realism on TV for a change.
2 Chris Pratt - Moneyball
Before Chris Pratt became a mega film star with roles in the Jurassic World series and the Guardians of the Galaxy series, he was simply seen as the overweight husband of the beautiful actress, Anna Faris. While he eventually lost a stellar amount of weight and became the hunky leading man that even starred opposite Jennifer Lawrence in the recent film, Passengers, there was a time when he was struggling with the weight loss and it affected his role options. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Pratt opened up about how his weight almost affected him from getting his breakout role in the film, Moneyball. In the interview, he talked about how he almost didn’t get the role of Scott Hatteberg in Moneyball. He stated, “That was the first time I heard someone say, ‘We’re not gonna cast you – you’re too fat.’” He used that as motivation to make his health a priority and the rest is history.
1 Ryan Gosling - The Lovely Bones
While Ryan Gosling has been in his fair share of big budget films, he’s also known for delving into his craft and gravitating towards roles that were on the more obscure side. When Gosling was chosen for the lead role of Jack Salmon in the film, The Lovely Bones, he didn’t just want to play the grieving father as a version of himself. Instead, he felt that it would be a great creative choice to assume that as the grieving father, he would have let himself go and gain some weight. However, Peter Jackson didn’t agree with him for his acting choice and reportedly fired him over “creative differences.” The role was ultimately given to Mark Wahlberg, which makes you wonder what the film would have been like if it had starred Gosling like originally planned. In the meantime, Gosling undoubtedly learned a valuable lesson after getting fired for being too fat for the role and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the majority of his most memorable roles involved him showing off his six-pack abs on the big screen.