Emma Thompson has sparked a debate online for wearing a fat suit in the Matilda adaptation. Unlike her co-stars, the 63-Year-Old underwent a major transformation to play the feared school principal and looked almost unrecognizable, sporting heavy prosthetics, including a huge suit.
Since the trailer hit the internet, the decision to make Thompson appear larger has been heavily slammed.
Many people have branded it as offensive and disappointing. Metro columnist Emmie Harrison-West also weighed in on the matter as she wrote: “Fat suits have been so normalized that some people probably haven’t even noticed, and that is what is so frustrating.” Emmie pointed out this isn’t the first time the Nanny McPhee star has sported body-altering prosthetics.
The writer claimed Thompson had worn fake bingo wings/ jowls in The Legend of Barney Thompson and was fitted with a similar suit to play Karen in Love Actually.
Of the actress’s portrayal as Karen, Emmie added: “You know, the presumably size 16, frumpy, comfortable shoe and floor-length skirt-wearing middle-aged wife that was inevitably cheated on? As a bigger woman, I find this caricaturisation of my body type utterly dehumanizing and degrading. It’s not ethical, authentic, or representative of any lived experiences whatsoever.”
Thompson had portrayed Agatha Trunchbull, the terrifying headmistress of Crunchem Hall Primary School, in Matilda the Musical, a modern take on the 1996 family favorite movie based on Roald Dahl’s book of the same name.
It turns out it wasn’t just Emmie who got angered by the characterization of Trunchbull. People online have also branded it gross. One person wrote: “It has been disappointing to see Emma Thompson put on a fat suit for this role. I’ve always loved her work. But this is just so gross. Either hire a fat actor (they exist! Really! They could even have A-list careers if you’d actually cast them in fat roles instead of giving them to thin actors in bad makeup!) Or just make Trunchbull thin. It’s a stereotypical fat role anyway”.
Another said: “Yes, it’s offensive about Emma Thompson wearing a fat suit in the Matilda movie. But the initial failure is that almost every woman Dahl wrote is either a sugar-sweet, pretty, good natured Miss Honey or a haggard evil (and in his mind, physically disgusting) Miss Trunchbull.”
A third commented: “The new Matilda adaptation looks fun but did we have to put Emma Thompson in a fat suit with facial prosthetics. I’m sure there are thousands of talented actresses that could play Ms. Trunchbull who actually fit the role’s body type.” However, Peckham’s Finest star Queen Mojo while appearing on Good Morning Britain, argued the importance of representation in a debate about ‘fat’ suits after it was branded ‘dehumanizing. She said: “She’s [Thompson] a good actress; I can’t take that away from her. When you’re plus-size, there’s a beauty to that, and when you walk into a room or carry that weight, there’s energy sometimes actors can’t bring to that.”
Mojo concluded: “I think that needs to be highlighted because if there was someone who was less able-bodied or had a different gender to us, we represent those on screen. “Why are fat people’s bodies not as important to do that?”