Guest Author Jeanette Castaneda writes about arts & entertainment topics, pop culture trends, and celebrity news (or feuds). Here, she addresses Hollywood's addiction to aggressive dieting. You can follow her on Twitter @jeanettec03.
Aggressive dieting for a film role based on a real person is typically taken as the ultimate form of devotion to a character. Many times, it is assumed that only "good" actors are, or would be, willing to take the leap to slim down, size up, or follow extreme dieting for a role even if they must risk their own health in the process. Jared Leto recently took a similar plunge for his role as Rayon in the upcoming film The Dallas Buyer's Club and he looks SCARY thin.
While it may seem as the truest testament to a role, is the effort to adopt a diet necessary for every big-screen performance? Ashton Kutcher was reported to have been hospitalized when filming JOBS, the biopic about former Apple CEO Steve Jobs, after following Jobs' fruitarian diet.
Would it have been essential to follow a fruitarian diet (which reportedly Jobs' adhered to) in order to portray a tech entrepreneur and his pioneering accomplishments?
I don't think this would have impacted Kutcher's performance as much as it could have negatively impacted his health. He said regarding the diet, "First of all, the fruitarian diet can lead to, like, severe issues. I went to the hospital like two days before we started shooting the movie. I was like doubled over in pain. My pancreas levels were completely out of whack. It was really terrifying … considering everything." Jobs' passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2011.
Yet the Hollywood track is that too many actors outweigh the good over the bad when it comes to dieting for the sake of their character's depiction.
One star who has publicly stated that she will not risk her health for a performance is Jennifer Lawrence. The Oscar nominated actress revealed to Elle magazine last month that she would not sacrifice her health for her career.
“I’m never going to starve myself for a part… I don’t want little girls to be like, ‘Oh, I want to look like Katniss, so I’m going to skip dinner. That’s something I was really conscious of during training […] I was trying to get my body to look fit and strong- not thin and underfed.”
Lawrence's outlook is truly a rarity in Hollywood, and this comment on the film industry's weight issues is refreshing to hear. While some diets are somewhat needed (Tom Hanks dropping over 50 pounds to play Chuck Noland in Castaway, not every celebrity needs to methodize their performances and attempt to physically look like the person they're portraying.
Especially when the only notable things people associate with Steve Jobs were his amazing technological advances. Come on, Ashton. Think about that before you adopt any new diets and put your health in jeopardy. We like Kelso and Jordan Catalano just as you guys were.