Lee Daniels, director of the upcoming drama The Paperboy, recently admitted that he asked leading lady Nicole Kidman to gain weight for her role in order to—wait for it, kids—appear “more flawed.”
"It was important that she put on some weight,” Daniels continued. “I said, 'I want you fat. I want your butt jiggling, I want your thighs moving.' She put on 15 pounds."
Kidman, who plays (in the words of the eternally creative Daily Mail) a “trailer-trash ‘oversexed Barbie’” who falls for a convicted murderer, was also asked to do her own hair and make-up for the role. That I can understand: it can be important for an actor to physicalize the character’s daily routine, and a glossy professional makeup job doesn’t always fit the bill.
But what the heck? I watched the trailer (below) and the only truly remarkable thing I saw was Zac Efron’s behind in tighty-whities. (Amirite, ladies?)
This incident highlights the bizarre tipping point between ‘good’ and ‘gross’ in the Hollywood weight-gain narrative: at her Paperboy weight, Kidman is still too skinny to be sexually unappealing, but just filled-out enough to merit comment. She’s not fat. She’s never been fat. Even if she were, fatness shouldn’t be shorthand for vice or grossness. Fat should signify fat. And there ain’t nothing wrong with that.