Gwyneth Paltrow routinely forgets when she's been in Marvel movies, but she can't shake the memory of her least favorite performance. It wasn't even in Mortdecai. It came in the 2001 movie Shallow Hal, which had the well-meaning message that people should focus on inner beauty not outer appearance. Is it a bad movie? Eh. I'd say no. But it was a "disaster" for Gwyneth Paltrow, in part because she had to wear a fat suit -- and it showed her what it would be like to live in a body that does not look like Gwyneth Paltrow. Spoiler alert: She hated it.
More on that below, but the topic came up via a Netflix video where The Goop Lab's Gwyneth Paltrow quizzed her best friend/assistant Kevin Keating on well he knew her:
Gwyneth Paltrow: What is my least favorite performance?
Kevin: Least favorite performance, I would say would be Shallow Hal-low.
Gwyneth Paltrow: Exactly.
Kevin: I’m not sure who told you to do that one, but it wasn’t me. I wasn’t there working for you. Not around for that.
Gwyneth: That was before your time. See what happened? Disaster.
Yeah. I don't know if he thought the name of the movie was literally Shallow Hal-low or if he was making a joke, but I'm not surprised Gwyneth Paltrow recalls that whole Shallow Hal experience as a "disaster."
In the Farrelly brothers comedy Shallow Hal, Jack Black plays the titular Hal, who only focuses on physical beauty until Tony Robbins hypnotizes him into only seeing inner beauty. When he meets Rosemary (Gwyneth Paltrow) he doesn't see that she's overweight, he sees her as the Gwyneth Paltrow we know, the kind of slender blonde straight guys tend to find very attractive.
I think Gwyneth Paltrow gives a strong performance as Rosemary, but the actress was already open back in 2001 about not enjoying the experience of filming Shallow Hal. She had to wear a 25-pound fat suit for the role, along with prosthetic makeup. It gave her a taste of what it's like to not look like Gwyneth Paltrow and she didn't like it. Here's what she told W magazine (via ABC):
The first day I tried [the fat suit] on, I was in the Tribeca Grand [hotel in New York City] and I walked through the lobby. It was so sad; it was so disturbing. No one would make eye contact with me because I was obese. I was wearing this black shirt with big snowmen on it. For some reason, the fat clothes they make … The clothes they make for women that are overweight are horrible. I felt humiliated because people were really dismissive.
That's our shallow society for you. It was a wake-up call for her. Then again, she just made a vagina candle and some people would be more humiliated by that.
Check out the Shallow Hal scene where Hal meets Rosemary:
Shallow Hal did its best to portray our shallow society and the double standards we have for beauty. It wasn't always successful. Today, most but not all movies are moving away from the "fat suit" trend, and thankfully fewer movies make weight a punchline.
By the way, in the same Netflix video, Gwyneth Paltrow also revealed her favorite performance. Or maybe she just felt like agreeing with whatever her assistant/best friend said. I would've thought maybe her favorite performance was the one in Shakespeare in Love, since she was truly fantastic in that and she earned an Oscar for Best Actress. Or maybe being the iconic head in the box in Se7en. I wasn't expecting Pepper Potts, because she keeps forgetting she was even in Marvel movies. But no, apparently the Glee alum's favorite performance was the singing she got to do with Cee-lo at the Grammys in 2012.
Maybe it's not surprising that she didn't pick an acting role as her favorite performance, since Gwyneth Paltrow seems ready to retire from acting altogether. Now she's focused on things like The Goop Lab, which has gotten a lot of criticism -- but she has a response to that. Keep up with all of Netflix's 2020 premiere and return dates with our handy schedule.