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Emma Thompson's 'Fat Suit' In Matilda Remake Starts Debate

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Emma Thompson's 'Fat Suit' In Matilda Remake Starts Debate

Emma Thompson was pictured wearing a ‘fat suit’ in the Matilda adaptation, sparking a furious debate online. 

The Oscar-winning actress is starring as the dreaded Agatha Trunchbull in the hotly anticipated Matilda the Musical, which offers a modern spin on the 1996 family favourite movie based on Roald Dahl’s book of the same name. 

Thompson will be joining Alisha Weir as the titular character and Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey, but unlike her other co-stars she’s sporting heavy prosthetics and a suit to make her appear heavier than she actually is.  

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The decision to use a so-called fat suit has been criticised by many, including Metro columnist Emmie Harrison-West who said seeing the image of Thompson as the terrifying headmaster reminded her of the ‘shame of being picked last in PE’.

“Fat suits have been so normalised that some people probably haven’t even noticed – and that is what is so frustrating,” she wrote.

Emmie went on to point out that this isn’t the first time the 63-year-old Nanny McPhee star has donned body-altering prosthetics, having had fake bingo wings and jowls fitted for her role in The Legend of Barney Thomson and a similar suit as Karen in Love Actually

Speaking about the latter instance, the Harrison-West wrote: “You know, the presumably size 16, ‘frumpy’, comfortable-shoe-and-floor-length-skirt-wearing middle-aged wife that was inevitably cheated on?

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Emma Thompson stars as Miss Trunchbull. Credit: Sony
Emma Thompson stars as Miss Trunchbull. Credit: Sony

“As a bigger woman, I find this caricaturisation of my body type utterly dehumanising, and degrading. It’s not ethical, authentic or representative of any lived experiences whatsoever.”

Over on Twitter, many people agreed with this sentiment, with one writing: “The Trunchbull in the new Matilda movie is being played by Emma Thompson in a fat suit… f**k that entirely.”

Another commented: “They made this movie. They used an actress who was actually a bigger woman. It can be done and has been done - with Matilda specifically!!”

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“I wonder if the studio forgot that in Matilda (1996) Miss Trunchbull was an Olympian (1972, shot putter, hammer, and javelin thrower),” added a third. “She was tall, built, thick, why on earth would they go with a skinny woman in a fat suit??”

On the other side of the fence, a number of fans jumped to the defence of Thompson and the production team, including this person who said: “The film is coming out, the trailer looks amazing. But all you want to do is talk about a fat suit???”

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A second chimed in: “A distinction should be made between fat suit performances and Emma Thompson in Matilda. Trunchbull is a towering, muscular former Olympic athlete, and Thompson has been outfitted accordingly. 

“Yes, her costuming alters her body’s appearance. But she’s not playing a fat character.”

LADbible has contacted Netflix for a comment.

Featured Image Credit: Netflix/Sony/PA

Topics: TV And Film, Life

Daisy Phillipson
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