It’s been 22 years since the romantic comedy Shallow Hal, starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jack Black, premiered.
Unsurprisingly, it hasn’t aged well.
The story follows, yep you guessed it, a shallow man named Hal (depicted by Black), who is hypnotised so he can only see a woman’s inner beauty. As a result, he falls in love with a 136kg woman named Rosemary (played by Paltrow), all the while thinking he’s pursuing a stereotypically ‘hot’, thin, blonde woman.
In the movie, ‘fat’ Rosemary’s character breaks two seats, tips a boat like a seesaw, and starts a tidal wave that leaves a boy stuck up a tree. Yet audiences were expected to believe they were watching a progressive film about body positivity and inner beauty.
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Unsurprisingly, the movie has generated a lot of backlash in recent years for being offensive and fatphobic. But it wasn’t just the audience who were impacted by the offensive narrative.
Ivy Snitzer was just 20 when she was cast to play Paltrow’s ‘fat’ body double.
And she says she’s dealt with a lifetime of trauma following the project.
Snitzer’s role in the film was to appear in any close-ups of Rosemary’s body so the shots would look more realistic. At the time the actress says she didn’t really understand the issues with the film and actually thought it was progressive because people like her were rarely cast in movies.
“It was so exciting. It was just fun to be part of a movie – there are so few people who actually get to do that,” said Snitzer in an interview with The Waiting Room.
“The cast and crew treated me like I really mattered, like they couldn’t make the movie without me.”
But when the film premiered, the negativity began. Snitzer, now 42, was targeted online by people telling her she was ‘promoting obesity.’ One person even found out her address and sent her diet pills.