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Renee Zellweger addresses criticism for wearing a fat suit in new true crime series

Charisa Bossinakis

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Renee Zellweger addresses criticism for wearing a fat suit in new true crime series

Featured Image Credit: NBC.

Renee Zellweger has fired back at critics after facing backlash for wearing a fat suit in her NBC crime series The Thing About Pam. 

The 53-year-old actor plays Pamela Hupp in the series, who is serving life in prison for the 2016 murder of Louis Gumpenberger, a 33-year-old mentally-disabled man.

But the show has copped criticism for not casting a plus-sized woman and instead using prosthetics to enhance Zellweger's appearnce.

The Bridget Jones's Diary star said there’s a ‘limit’ to portraying someone as ‘accurately’ as possible.

She told The Sunday Times: “Look, you want to be respectful and responsible. 

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

Credit: Skip Bolen / NBC
Credit: Skip Bolen / NBC

While speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she previously said: “I think, especially in the case of telling this story, it was really important to as closely resemble Pam Hupp as we possibly could, because she seems so familiar, she seems like someone that we recognise, and we know."

Zellweger shared that to get to her ‘unrecognisable transformation’, she had to undergo many hours in the makeup chair while surviving the heat and humidity of New Orleans.

She added: “Arian, who builds these things and applies them every day, he creates them by hand and paints them down to the last freckle.

"His precision is remarkable. It's part of the adventure, watching that happen every day, is pretty cool.”

Earlier this year, the Dazed and Confused actor copped intense heat after photos of her portraying the murderer went viral, with many slamming it as ‘fatphobic’.

Credit: Skip Bolen / NBC
Credit: Skip Bolen / NBC

Social commentator Sarah Alexander panned the actor, telling Metro: “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.”

Similarly, Emma Thompson was met with a wave of criticism this year for wearing a fat suit to portray Miss Trunchbull in the upcoming film adaptation of Matilda the Musical.

However, associate professor of film from the University of Sydney Bruce Isaacs defended Thompson to The Australian, saying: “There’s something quite interesting and potentially provocative that takes place when an actor starts to transform into another figure.”

Isaacs added that embracing bodily transformations is ‘fundamental to acting'.

Topics: News, TV and Film, Celebrity

Charisa Bossinakis
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