Renée Zellweger Addresses Backlash Over Wearing Fat Suit In Latest TV Project

The two-time Oscar winner was met with controversy over her role in The Thing About Pam.
Renée Zellweger
Renée Zellweger
JC Olivera via Getty Images

Renée Zellweger has spoken out about the backlash that came after she was seen wearing a fat suit in her latest project.

The two-time Oscar winner took the lead in the crime drama The Thing About Pam last year, donning prosthetics and a fat suit to help physically transform into convicted murderer Pam Hupp.

At the time, Renée sparked controversy on social media and in the press for donning the suit, with body positivity influencers and critics claiming they have traditionally been used as a device associated with “mocking fat people”.

Others also suggested that thinner actors donning fat suits was a way of taking roles away from plus-size performers.

During an interview with the Sunday Times, Renée was asked for her thoughts on the subject, to which she insisted it was never her intention to be disrespectful.

“Look, you want to be respectful and responsible,” she said.

“There’s always a limit to how much you can establish an authentic approximation without being distracting.”

Renée as seen in The Thing About Pam
Renée as seen in The Thing About Pam

Executive producer Chris McCumber previously said on the matter (via TheWrap): “When a two-time Oscar winner calls and says, ‘I’m obsessed with this story and I want to play Pam and I want to produce’, you say, ‘Yes, yes, yes, yes’. And our job at that point is to provide Renée and the rest of the cast with all the tools they need to embody these characters.

Renée added at the time: “It’s pretty well established, her look, so we did what we could to come as close as we could.”

Around the time of the controversy around Renée, fellow actor Sarah Paulson was also being criticised for having donned a fat suit to portray Linda Tripp in Impeachment: American Crime Story.

Sarah Paulson
Sarah Paulson
Sean Zanni via Getty Images

Sarah told the LA Times last year: “I regret not thinking about it more fully. And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on.

“I also know it’s a privileged place to be sitting and thinking about it and reflecting on it, having already gotten to do it, and having had an opportunity that someone else didn’t have. You can only learn what you learn when you learn it.

“Should I have known? Abso-f—ing-lutely. But I do now. And I wouldn’t make the same choice going forward.”

Renée previously wore a fat suit for the sequel to Bridget Jones’s Diary, after previously gaining weight to portray the titular character in the first film.


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