On Night of Too Many Stars, Amy Schumer did a set discussing how she wrote a movie with a lead character based on her and the studio told her they wanted her to be in the movie and asked her to lose weight to play this character. This character based on her. Hollywood is terrible.
But Schumer is hardly the first person to be told she’s not attractive enough to play herself. Here are others who were told that very thing.
Originally created to be based on her stand-up, Margaret Cho’s All-American Girl was one of the first network shows to feature an all-Asian family. As the only minority comedian in a wave of comedians getting TV deals, Cho was also the only one to get no creative control over her show. When the network told her to lose weight, she had to be hospitalized due to this rapid weight loss and diet pill addiction. Cho was also told over the course of making her series that she was too Asian and not Asian enough. So the network hired an Asian consultant. To teach the Asian cast how to be Asian right.
Based on her one-woman play, Nia Vardalos faced a lot of nonsense making My Big Fat Greek Wedding, a play and movie based entirely on her life experience. First, the studio wanted to cast another actress and change the ethnicity of the family to Hispanic.
And, of course, even though she ultimately got control thanks to Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, the film’s producers, the studio wasn’t sold on this “unappealing” star.
I thought I was attractive when I shot ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding.’ Studio executives and movie reviewers let me know I had a confidence in my looks that was not shared by them. In other words: they labeled me with words like, overweight, unattractive, unappealing. Hey, just say fat. I love the word fat. I used it in the title. It’s actually not a naughty word. We give it a power it actually doesn’t have. So, you’re fat. Big deal.
Even perfect human Tina Fey has had to deal with this nonsense. While eating a cupcake with a Vanity Fair writer, she said “I like to look goofy, but I also don’t want to get canceled because of my big old butt.” And she would know. In the same interview, Sue Mengers, an agent and woman it should be noted, said she once told Lorne Michaels Fey “didn’t have the looks” to be on Weekend Update. Luckily, Tina fixed her hideouness.
“Lorne brought her over to my house when she was head writer,” Mengers recalls. “She was very mousy. I thought, Well, they gotta be having an affair. But they weren’t. He just appreciated her talent. And now, suddenly, she’s become this sexy, showing-tit, hot-looking woman. I said to Lorne, ‘What the fuck did she do?”’
It’s so nice when the disgustingly deformed can make themselves worthy of human viewing. Fey famously lost about 40 pounds, as she discusses in Bossypants, leading some to tell her she was too thin, because being attractive is a very fine line we must walk delicately.