Sam Claflin On How We Never Talk About The Pressure On Male Actors To Lose Weight

sam claflin chest in the hunger games

Actors and actresses often change sizes for roles in Hollywood. Occasionally, this means gaining weight for a gig, but more often than that it means dieting, working out and trying to get as trim as possible for action-oriented roles. Over the past few years, we've seen dudes like Chris Pratt and ladies like Amber Heard get into shape for roles, but recently Hunger Games franchise actor Sam Claflin spoke out about being asked to lose weight for a role and how no one in Hollywood seems interested in talking about male actors who go through those sorts of body changes. He said:

I read in an interview recently and I think it's absolutely true: men have it just as bad. Well, not just as bad but they get it bad and it's never talked about. I remember doing one job when they literally made me pull my shirt up and were grabbing my fat and going 'you need to lose a bit of weight'. This other time they were slapping me. I felt like a piece of meat.

Although it's hard to compare the way women's bodies are viewed on film to the way men's bodies are scrutinized, Claflin clarifies men may not have it as bad in Hollywood, but there is a stigma around talking about men's bodies in his profession. And he doesn't really seem to enjoy it. Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Claflin said he's felt like a "piece of meat" on movie sets in the past. While he doesn't straight-up express what movie he is talking about, the actor did go shirtless quite a bit during the Hunger Games movies. Regardless, he also talked about how hard he worked to earn that part in the interview, so it seems as if he probably has fond feelings for that gig. In addition, he had more action-oriented roles in Pirates of the Caribbean: Stranger Tides and The Huntsman: Winter's War. He could have even had his body scrutinized on a non action-oriented film. Regardless of when it happened, the actor isn't willing to totally bad mouth a specific movie, just industry practices in general.

Still, he says that he gets "worked up" for many roles and ends up spending hours in the gym and avoiding eating. It makes us wonder if his food diaries end up being something like Chris Pratt's. What Claflin seems to have taken from this is that if it were 40 years ago, it wouldn't have mattered in the least how he looked, but times have changed for men.

In the '50s and '60s, it was never an issue. James Bond never had a six pack. He had a hairy chest. Marlon Brando? in A Streetcar Named Desire had an incredible body but he was by no means ripped to within an inch of his life. There's a filter on society that this is normal but actually it's anything but normal.

The camera adds 10 pounds, and these days a lot of directors are looking for actors who can show physical prowess and peak fitness--oftentimes because they are playing heroes and superheroes on the big screen. However, it's one thing to collaborate about weight for a role and quite another to have to deal with getting slapped around and feeling like less than a person. It's hard to see this snapshot of Hollywood and correlate it with the fun we get to see on the big screen, but it is a reality a lot of actresses and actors deal with in Hollywood, and some actors have a harder time with it than others.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.