Gwyneth Paltrow describes Shallow Hal as 'disaster': Five times when stars admitted to their films' questionable stance

Gwyneth Paltrow or Saif Ali Khan are not the only celebs who have candidly questioned the messaging of their films or characters.

Pratishruti Ganguly March 07, 2020 11:43:32 IST
Gwyneth Paltrow describes Shallow Hal as 'disaster': Five times when stars admitted to their films' questionable stance

Gwyneth Paltrow has described her experience of working on Shallow Hal as a "disaster." Shallow Hal, one may remember, is a 2001 romantic comedy, where Jack Black plays a frightfully shallow and frivolous man, who needs to be hypnotised to fall in love with a fat woman.

The film, that arguably perpetuates fat-shaming even while purporting to celebrate inner beauty and propagate body positivity, has long been an eyesore for feminists.

Gwyneth Paltrow describes Shallow Hal as disaster Five times when stars admitted to their films questionable stance

Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black in Shallow Hal. Image from Twitter

In a recent video, the actress, who essayed the role of Black's girlfriend, opened up on how she felt "humiliated" while filming Shallow Hal. She said people refused to acknowledge her presence when she would wear her fat suit.

"The first day I tried the fat suit on, I was in the Tribeca Grand, and I walked through the lobby. It was so sad. It was so disturbing. No one would make eye contact with me because I was obese. I felt humiliated,” she recounted.

Here's the video

Meanwhile, shortly after the release of Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, Saif Ali Khan also weighed in on the problematic politics of Om Raut's "historical drama." While the film went on to become one of the biggest money spinners of the year so far, Saif stated 'this (manipulation of historical facts to further a particular nationalistic agenda) is what runs', asserting, "I don’t think this is history. I am quite aware of what the history was.” But he deftly added he still opted for his role because it was "delicious."

An actor speaking out against their own film is a rare sighting. After all, their fate in the showbiz is often determined by the big-budget projects they bag. They feel an obligation to not bite the hand that fed them, and let their 'work speak for themselves.' Remember when Megan Fox compared director Michael Bay to Adolf Hitler, and got fired from the Transformers franchise?

But several actors across industries have taken the plunge and come forward with their less-than-favorable opinions on their films and characters, be it Halle Berry at the Razzie Awards or Viola Davis on the Oscar-nominated The Help.

Halle Berry on Catwoman

Gwyneth Paltrow describes Shallow Hal as disaster Five times when stars admitted to their films questionable stance

Halle Berry as Catwoman. Image from Twitter

Catwoman, the 2004 superhero film loosely based on the DC Comics character of the same name, was perhaps one of the most anticipated films of the year. But upon its release, Catwoman crashed, with critics slamming the objectifying male gaze. It was described as being a film on "Halle Berry's beauty, sex appeal, figure, eyes, lips, and costume design," though, sans a plot.

Berry's performance also drew criticism from all quarters, as well as earned her a Razzie Award. The actress not only showed up in person to accept her award but also declared,

“I wanna thank Warner Bros for giving me the opportunity to take part in this terrible film. This is what my career needed: going from the top to the very bottom.”

Katherine Heigl on Knocked Up

Gwyneth Paltrow describes Shallow Hal as disaster Five times when stars admitted to their films questionable stance

Katherine Heigl (left) and Seth Rogen in Knocked Up. Image from Twitter

Ahoy, someone has had the courage to spit out the word-that-should-not-be-uttered in the filmdom. Heigl told Vanity Fair in 2008 she thought Knocked Up "paints the women as shrews, as humourless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys... I'm playing such a bitch; why is she being such a killjoy? Why is this how you're portraying women?"

By describing her 2008 rom-com as a "little sexist," Heigl thus is now saddled with the title of being “difficult to work with” within the industry.

Viola Davis on The Help

Gwyneth Paltrow describes Shallow Hal as disaster Five times when stars admitted to their films questionable stance

Viola Davis in The Help. Image from Twitter

Despite the Academy Award nomination of The Help, Viola Davis felt the film was unable to entirely capture the essence of the black experience.

During the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Davis told New York Times she regretted her role in the movie, which is about a white woman penning a book on the lives of Black maids living in Mississippi in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement.

"I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn't the voices of the maids that were heard. I know Aibileen. I know Minny. They're my grandma. They're my mom. And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie," she confessed.

Jim Carrey on Kick-Ass 2

Gwyneth Paltrow describes Shallow Hal as disaster Five times when stars admitted to their films questionable stance

Jim Carrey in Kick-Ass 2. Image from Twitter

Kick-Ass 2, the sequel to the 2010 superhero black comedy film, was based on the second and third volumes of Kick-Ass: The Dave Lizewski Years, both by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. The film was poorly received, with critics deeming the depiction of violence in the flick "not worth it."

Incidentally, ahead of the release of the much-awaited Kick-Ass 2, Jim Carrey tweeted out he could not "support that level of violence" shown in the film.

Here's the tweet

Jessica Alba on Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer

Gwyneth Paltrow describes Shallow Hal as disaster Five times when stars admitted to their films questionable stance

Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Image from Twitter

In an interview with Elle magazine, Alba once divulged she hated Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, as director Tim Story wanted her character to look pretty even when she was in pain.

"I remember when I was dying in Silver Surfer. The director was like, 'It looks too real. It looks too painful. Can you be prettier when you cry? Cry pretty, Jessica.' He was like, 'Don't do that thing with your face. Just make it flat. We can CGI the tears in,'" she was quoted as saying by the publication.

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