August 21, 2001 -- Super-skinny girl-who-has-everything Gwyneth Paltrow says she's learned a lot by wearing a fat suit for the upcoming comedy Shallow Hal. Such as, the clothes available to the weight-challenged aren't quite as comely as those for the size-two actresses of the world. Who knew?
In W magazine's Sept. issue, Paltrow says, "The first day I tried [the fat suit] on, I was in the Tribeca Grand [hotel in New York City] and I walked through the lobby. It was so sad; it was so disturbing. No one would make eye contact with me because I was obese.
"I was wearing this black shirt with big snowmen on it. For some reason, the fat clothes they make …" Here the 28-year-old Oscar winner stops to correct herself. "The clothes they make for women that are overweight are horrible. I felt humiliated because people were really dismissive."
In a very strange recent trend, we've already seen pretty woman Julia Roberts morph into "the Michelin Man" version of herself, as she described her America's Sweethearts character on the Today Show, by adding 60 faux pounds to her slender frame.
For the title role in Bridget Jones's Diary, Renée Zellweger plumped up to average weight by "force-feeding" herself; she has since returned to a more "cast-able" size. The actress met with her own weight discrimination while still pleasingly plump from filming Diary: Harper's Bazaar refused to put the star on its cover.
Paltrow's suit, which visually triples her weight, only weighs 25 pounds, according to the film's makeup effects designer Tony Gardner.
But, Gardner told USA Today, "The [Shallow Hal] filmmakers are not making fun of her weight, they are embracing her weight. Peter [Farrelly, the film's co-director] calls it a valentine for overweight people."
The recent trend toward fat-suited actors, including Martin Short in his new series as chubby, clueless junketeer Jiminy Glick, has prompted protests over the "fat is funny" angle.
Partly in response to such recent fat-suit antics, the Screen Actors Guild is setting up a "plus-size" subcommittee to influence how actors who aren't wearing fat suits are perceived. The Practice's Camryn Manheim, who once accepted an award by announcing, "This is for all the fat girls," has expressed interest in joining SAG's efforts.