Florence Pugh has called out Hollywood’s beauty standards while reflecting on a time she was asked to lose weight for a role. During a recent interview with Time magazine, the actor discussed playing a WWE wrestler alongside Dwayne Johnson in 2019’s Fighting With My Family, following her starring role in Lady Macbeth.
The Don’t Worry Darling actor shared her relief at what the wrestling role meant to her self-confidence after a previous boss told her to lose weight for a role. “The person I came back to was a female wrestler with muscles and big thighs who made her own name as a champion,” she told the news outlet.
“I quite liked that because the last time I’d been there, I was told I needed to lose weight—it was just so not the person I wanted to be.”
Florence previously recalled an alleged comment about her weight during an October 2022 interview with The Telegraph. She told the publication that after landing a lead role as a pop star in a TV pilot at age 19, a studio boss wanted to alter her appearance.
At the time, she explained, “All the things that they were trying to change about me—whether it was my weight, my look, the shape of my face, the shape of my eyebrows—that was so not what I wanted to do or the industry I wanted to work in.”
Referring to her first film, she added, “I’d thought the film business would be like [my experience of making] The Falling. But actually, this was what the top of the game looked like, and I felt I’d made a massive mistake.”
Although the show, revealed to be Sin City, never made it past the pilot, Florence traveled back home to England, where she successfully auditioned for and was cast in Lady Macbeth, which made her “fall back in love with cinema.”
Florence explained that she’s stuck to this type of cinema that gives her free rein. “I think it’s far too easy for people in this industry to push you left and right,” she added.
In a 2020 interview with Elle UK, the star reflected on her experience of shooting The Falling with director Carol Morley. “I think she didn’t want us to act for vanity or to know what we didn’t like about ourselves onscreen,” Florence recalled. “She wanted to keep us as naive as possible.”
Morley’s direction has aided Florence’s career, with the actor explaining, “I’ve never been bothered by the odd things that happen on camera, maybe because of that. I don’t mind my double chins—that’s not the acting part to me.”
Elsewhere, she explained her reservations about being cast in Marvel’s Black Widow, also starring Scarlett Johansson. “When I got the job, I wanted to know what the regime was,” she said at the time. “I wanted to know whether it was them or me calling the shots. That was a big deal for me. I didn’t want to be part of something where I was constantly checked on. And people making sure I was in the ‘right’ shape. That’s not me at all.”
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