Fisher ‘pres­sured’ to lose weight as Leia… again

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - LIFE AND ARTS - By Justin Wm. Moyer

IN 1977, when Car­rie Fisher was just 19, five-foot-one and 105 pounds, she was asked to lose weight to play Princess Leia in Star Wars. If not for­giv­able, this was, per­haps, to be ex­pected. It was Hol­ly­wood — and it was a long time ago.

When Fisher was asked to reprise her role in Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens — a job she took in 2013, in her mid-50s — she might have ex­pected a dif­fer­ent out­come. Decades had gone by. A con­ver­sa­tion about body im­age in en­ter­tain­ment was flow­er­ing. And, in any case, she was an icon — and not just for her turn in the gold bikini. Who else was go­ing to play Luke Sky­walker’s sis­ter and Han Solo’s lady, not to men­tion a pos­ses­sor of Jedi pow­ers in her own right? Yet she was asked to lose 35 pounds. “They don’t want to hire all of me — only about three-quar­ters!” Fisher told Good House­keep­ing, which re­ported the num­ber in its Jan­uary 2016 cover story, writ­ing Fisher “was pres­sured” to lose the weight. “Noth­ing changes, it’s an ap­pear­ance-driven thing. I’m in a busi­ness where the only thing that mat­ters is weight and ap­pear­ance. That is so messed up. They might as well say ‘Get younger,’ be­cause that’s how easy it is.”

The an­nounce­ment was a sur­prise to any­one who just heard di­rec­tor J.J. Abrams — who in­her­ited the fran­chise from Ge­orge Lu­cas — talk up the new film as fe­male-friendly. Was some­one in­volved in this movie ex­clud­ing larger sizes, and, if so, who? (Fisher did not iden­tify the cul­prit.) Leia is a gen­eral in the new film, not a mere princess. Need gen­er­als be svelte?

“Star Wars was al­ways a boys’ thing, and a movie that dads could take their sons to,” Abrams told Good Morn­ing Amer­ica on Mon­day. “And al­though that is still very much the case, I was really hop­ing this could be a movie that moth­ers could take their daugh­ters to as well.” (Abrams was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment.)

Fisher, mean­while, at­tacked the movie in­dus­try’s ob­ses­sion with bod­ies .

“We treat beauty like an ac­com­plish- ment and that is in­sane,” she said. “Ev­ery­one in L.A. says, ‘Oh you look good,’ and you lis­ten for them to say you’ve lost weight. It’s never ‘How are you?’ or ‘You seem happy!’”

Fisher — the trou­bled child of screen stars Deb­bie Reynolds and Ed­die Fisher who has writ­ten about her drug use, de­pres­sion and elec­troshock treat­ments — was praised not many years ago for her un­ortho­dox ap­proach to a dif­fi­cult role: Jenny Craig spokesper­son.

“Car­rie Fisher is not your typ­i­cal weight-loss spokesper­son: she’s un­will­ing, acer­bic, self-dep­re­cat­ing,” the Huff­in­g­ton Post wrote in 2011. “But her in­cli­na­tion to­ward sar­casm, rather than span­dex, makes the new face of Jenny Craig some­thing of a breath of fresh air.”

“It was good that I had to be ac­count­able be­cause I’m a big, child­ish, 54-year-old cheat,” the ac­tress and au­thor told the Huff­in­g­ton Post. “I mean, ev­ery­thing I seem to start, I end up abus­ing and have to stop it. There’s not much left, though.”

Car­rie Fisher told Good House­keep­ing she was asked to lose 35 pounds

to play Leia.



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