A lot of the promotion for the mean-girl comedy Bachelorette has focused on its glamorous trio of stars Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, and Lizzy Caplan, and all the raunchy drugs-and-sex fun they get up to over the course of one night. With that kind of marketing campaign, you might worry about Rebel Wilson getting left in the dust, since she represents the converse: Her character Becky is perfectly sweet but overweight and a bit naive, yet the other women still hate her because she’s getting married while they’re still emotionally stunted and single.
Thankfully, Rebel has proven herself to hold her own throughout this entire process. She had a fantastic, endlessly quotable interview with IndieWire—and despite being the least famous of the four female stars, she had enough pull that she was able to convince writer-director Leslye Headland to cut a big scene where Becky raves about the euphoria of bulimia. That’s an even bigger deal when you consider that Headland first wrote this play in 2008 and could have used her clout to overrule Rebel. As the actress tells HuffPo,
Leslye Headland’s scripts can get really dark. In this movie, there are bulimia jokes and…
There actually was a scene in the original script when Becky was bulimic. And it was so dark. Kirsten and I had a day of rehearsals before we started filming, and we talked about that scene. It’s a disease that lots of people suffer with. It was really kind of glamourizing bulimia, and so we decided to change it. And you see that Reagan [Kirsten Dunst’s character] in the movie obviously had had an issue with bulimia in the past.
Did you go to Leslye and say, “We’re not comfortable with this”?
Yeah, and then she goes, “Well, it’s interesting you say that because the cast of the [Off Broadway] play also said the same thing.” Which is weird when we have a movie about cocaine use and abortions and all this stuff. The bulimia scene was the scene that was too much, but it was a huge monologue that Becky had about — the best way to describe it was about the euphoric feeling. And I didn’t think we needed it.
For a play demonstrating how ugly gluttony can be, it’s not surprising that bulimia made its way into a plot where the women talk glibly about abortions and snort cocaine every other scene. I wonder how much of Rebel’s size played into her decision not to play the bulimia as darkly funny. Because bulimia is still a big part of the movie, just expressed through Kirsten’s character Regan. Multiple times over the course of the film, we witness her staring longingly at her fingers, wishing she could escape the stresses of ripping Becky’s dress and babysitting her trainwreck friends and just throw up. And without giving away the ending, purging plays into the film’s climax and is actually portrayed (in my mind, at least) as an ugly but positive thing that needs to happen. I haven’t gotten a chance to read the play, so I don’t know if Regan is always bulimic or if Headland transferred the plotline over after Rebel and Kirsten spoke up.
Another reason why I think this was about Rebel’s size is that in the interview she also mentions how open she is to embracing roles that highlight her weight. Consider that in Pitch Perfect she plays a character named Fat Amy, who refers to herself as such so that mean girls don’t have the chance to. I can see Rebel deciding on certain roles where it’s OK to poke fun at her size, but to be wary of painting herself as some sort of role model to young, overweight women who might hear about the euphoria of bulimia and think that that’s their solution.
Of course, the one fly in this feel-good story is another article (also from HuffPo) celebrating Rebel’s recent weight loss. As of mid-August, she’s one of Jenny Craig’s newest brand ambassadors and had already dropped 22 pounds. Not that I’m saying she’s not allowed to get fit! But I just hope she’s doing it for herself and not her next red-carpet appearance.
Check out the Bachelorette red-band trailer. The movie comes to theaters Friday but is available through On Demand now!
Photo: Jacob Hutchings – RADiUS/The Weinstein Company