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Emma Thompson has sparked a furious debate online after she was pictured wearing a ‘fat suit’ in the Matilda adaptation, which some had branded ‘offensive’ and ‘disappointing’.
The actress, 63, portrays Agatha Trunchbull, the terrifying headmistress of Crunchem Hall Primary School, in Matilda the Musical, which is a modern take on the 1996 family favourite movie based on Roald Dahl’s book of the same name.
However, unlike her co-stars, Thompson underwent a major transformation to play the feared school principal and looks almost unrecognisable sporting heavy prosthetics as well as a ‘fat’ suit in the flick.
Since the trailer has come out, the decision to make Thompson appear larger than she is has been criticised by many, including Metro columnist Emmie Harrison-West.
She wrote: “Fat suits have been so normalised that some people probably haven’t even noticed – and that is what is so frustrating.”
The writer added that this isn’t the first time the Nanny McPhee star has sported body-altering prosthetics, having previously worn fake bingo wings and jowls in The Legend of Barney Thomson and a was fitted with a similar suit to play Karen in Love Actually.
Speaking about Thompson portrayal as Karen, the Harrison-West wrote: “You know, the presumably size 16, ‘frumpy’, comfortable-shoe-and-floor-length-skirt-wearing middle-aged wife that was inevitably cheated on?
“As a bigger woman, I find this caricaturisation of my body type utterly dehumanising, and degrading. It’s not ethical, authentic or representative of any lived experiences whatsoever.”
It’s not only the columnist who is getting angered by the characterisation of Trunchbull but many online, who have branded it ‘offensive’ and ‘gross’.
It has been really disappointing to see Emma Thompson put on a fat suit for this role. I’ve always loved her work. But this is just so gross https://t.co/bDtCl8qvxc— Louisa 🌈👭 (@LouisatheLast) June 19, 2022
One wrote: “Yes, it's offensive about Emma Thompson wearing a fat suit in the Matilda movie. But the initial failure is that almost every woman Dahl wrote is either a sugar-sweet, pretty, good natured Miss Honey or a haggard evil (and in his mind, physically disgusting) Miss Trunchbull.”
“It has been really disappointing to see Emma Thompson put on a fat suit for this role. I’ve always loved her work. But this is just so gross,” another shared.
the new matilda adaptation looks fun but did we have to put emma thompson in a fat suit with facial prosthetics...... I'm sure there are thousands of talented actresses that could play ms trunchbull who actually fit the role's body type.— bug ally (@folkmare) June 18, 2022
“Either hire a fat actor (they exist! Really! They could even have A-list careers if you’d actually cast them in fat roles instead of giving them to thin actors in bad makeup!) or just make Trunchbull thin. It’s a stereotypical fat role anyway”.
A third added: “the new matilda adaptation looks fun but did we have to put emma thompson in a fat suit with facial prosthetics...... I'm sure there are thousands of talented actresses that could play ms trunchbull who actually fit the role's body type” (sic).
Emma Thompson is wearing a fat suit in the latest Matilda movie for her role as Ms Trunchbull.— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) June 22, 2022
But some have found the characterisation as 'dehumanising and degrading.' So is it offensive to wear fat suits?
Comedian @FreddyQuinne and star of Peckham's Finest @_queenmojo debate pic.twitter.com/6xbSgAL7UP
While on Wednesday’s Good Morning Britain, Peckham’s Finest star Queen Mojo argued the importance of representation in a debate about ‘fat’ suits after the characterisation was branded 'dehumanising and degrading.'
She said: “She's a good actress, I can't take that away from her. However, when you're plus-size, there's a beauty to that and when you walk into a room or carry that weight there's an energy sometimes actors can't bring to that.
“I think that needs to be highlighted because if there was someone was less able-bodied or had a different gender to us, we represent those on screen.
“Why are fat people's bodies not as important to do that?”
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