Renée Zellweger responds to criticism after wearing fat suit for new role

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By Asiya Ali

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Renée Zellweger has responded to the backlash over the "fat suit" she wore in her newest show.

Before the release of the drama, people on social media criticized the 53-year-old actress after pictures emerged from the set of The Truth About Pam, where she could be seen wearing prosthetics in order to play real-life killer Pam Hupp.

Zellweger's "unrecognizable transformation" was branded as "fatphobic" with many commentators saying that a plus-sized actress should have taken on the role.

Now, The Bridget Jones's Diary star has spoken to The Sunday Times about the controversy, saying: "Look, you want to be respectful and responsible."

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Renee Zellweger in The Thing About Pam (2022). Credit: LANDMARK MEDIA / Alamy

"There’s always a limit to how much you can establish an authentic approximation without being distracting," she added.

The Thing About Pam is based on the story of Pamela Hupp, a woman serving life in prison and recently charged with murder in a separate case.

The discourse around Zellweger's look for the NBC show was first sparked when photos of the actress in a fat suit on set surfaced in October 2021 - just weeks after Sarah Paulson was criticized for wearing a fat suit for her role as Linda Tripp in American Crime Story.

In an op-ed for British publication Metro, writer Sarah Alexander described the suit as "a way of mocking fat people" and questioned the social network's choice to cast the award-winning actress as Hupp.

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Credit: Jeffrey Mayer / Alamy

"There are plenty of incredibly talented plus-size actresses that could have been hired for the role," she wrote. "For Zellweger to masquerade as a plus-size person is damaging, fatphobic and potentially triggering to other plus-size people."

"It seems like she has not considered the effects this will have on fat people, and is unaware and/or naive that she is adding to the stigma fat people already face on a daily basis," Alexander added.

The award-winning actress previously spoke of the costume in an interview with Vanity Fair earlier this year and said that the prosthetics and padded suits were pretty much "head to toe".

"All of those things were really important because all those bits and pieces are what construct the person that we project our own conclusions and presumptions onto," she added.

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Sipa US / Alamy

In March, the Judy actress sat down for an interview with Entertainment Tonight and urged that it was "really important" for the viewers that she tried to look as much like her character as possible.

Zellweger spoke about the first time she saw herself as the convicted murderer and said: "I was amazed. You might achieve a couple of things, but I had no expectation it was gonna be as remarkable as that."

She clarified that the project's team was committed to making her look like the Hupp for the true crime show and that the plan was to be "accurate," adding, "it was really important to as closely resemble Pam Hupp as we possibly could".

Zellweger further explained that as an actress, she wanted to immerse herself in the role as much as possible as "[Hupp] seems so familiar, she seems like someone that we recognize, and we know".

The Thing About Pam is available to stream on Prime Video.

Featured image credit: REUTERS / Alamy.

Renée Zellweger responds to criticism after wearing fat suit for new role

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

Renée Zellweger has responded to the backlash over the "fat suit" she wore in her newest show.

Before the release of the drama, people on social media criticized the 53-year-old actress after pictures emerged from the set of The Truth About Pam, where she could be seen wearing prosthetics in order to play real-life killer Pam Hupp.

Zellweger's "unrecognizable transformation" was branded as "fatphobic" with many commentators saying that a plus-sized actress should have taken on the role.

Now, The Bridget Jones's Diary star has spoken to The Sunday Times about the controversy, saying: "Look, you want to be respectful and responsible."

wp-image-1263164427 size-full
Renee Zellweger in The Thing About Pam (2022). Credit: LANDMARK MEDIA / Alamy

"There’s always a limit to how much you can establish an authentic approximation without being distracting," she added.

The Thing About Pam is based on the story of Pamela Hupp, a woman serving life in prison and recently charged with murder in a separate case.

The discourse around Zellweger's look for the NBC show was first sparked when photos of the actress in a fat suit on set surfaced in October 2021 - just weeks after Sarah Paulson was criticized for wearing a fat suit for her role as Linda Tripp in American Crime Story.

In an op-ed for British publication Metro, writer Sarah Alexander described the suit as "a way of mocking fat people" and questioned the social network's choice to cast the award-winning actress as Hupp.

size-large wp-image-1263164452
Credit: Jeffrey Mayer / Alamy

"There are plenty of incredibly talented plus-size actresses that could have been hired for the role," she wrote. "For Zellweger to masquerade as a plus-size person is damaging, fatphobic and potentially triggering to other plus-size people."

"It seems like she has not considered the effects this will have on fat people, and is unaware and/or naive that she is adding to the stigma fat people already face on a daily basis," Alexander added.

The award-winning actress previously spoke of the costume in an interview with Vanity Fair earlier this year and said that the prosthetics and padded suits were pretty much "head to toe".

"All of those things were really important because all those bits and pieces are what construct the person that we project our own conclusions and presumptions onto," she added.

wp-image-1263147355 size-full
Sipa US / Alamy

In March, the Judy actress sat down for an interview with Entertainment Tonight and urged that it was "really important" for the viewers that she tried to look as much like her character as possible.

Zellweger spoke about the first time she saw herself as the convicted murderer and said: "I was amazed. You might achieve a couple of things, but I had no expectation it was gonna be as remarkable as that."

She clarified that the project's team was committed to making her look like the Hupp for the true crime show and that the plan was to be "accurate," adding, "it was really important to as closely resemble Pam Hupp as we possibly could".

Zellweger further explained that as an actress, she wanted to immerse herself in the role as much as possible as "[Hupp] seems so familiar, she seems like someone that we recognize, and we know".

The Thing About Pam is available to stream on Prime Video.

Featured image credit: REUTERS / Alamy.