Gwyneth Paltrow’s body double in Shallow Hal loved being in the film — until the body-shaming from critics nearly cost her her life.
Ivy Snitzer, who stood in for Paltrow in some scenes where Paltrow’s character was shown in her larger body, was initially excited to be cast in the 2001 comedy, she told The Guardian in an interview published on Tuesday, August 22. (The movie — which also featured Paltrow, now 50, wearing a fat suit, also starred Jack Black as Hal, a man who gets hypnotized into seeing inner beauty in people regardless of their body type.)
“At that point, if you saw someone obese in a movie, they were a villain,” Snitzer, 42, told the outlet, explaining that Paltrow’s character, Rosemary, was the opposite. She “was cool, she was popular, she had friends.”
Snitzer called the whole project “exciting,” explaining that the cast and crew “treated me like I really mattered, like they couldn’t make the movie without me.” Paltrow was “really nice,” she added, and Black, now 53, was “a delightful person.”
While filming itself was a positive experience, everything changed once the movie hit theaters. “It was like the worst parts about being fat were magnified. And no one was telling me I was funny,” Snitzer explained, adding that she received an onslaught of unwanted attention after the popular movie’s release.
Less than two years later, Snitzer underwent gastric band surgery — an operation that left her extremely sick after she developed “a torsion – like dogs get and then die.”
The actress was “technically starving to death,” she told The Guardian, adding that she was “so thin you could see my teeth through my face and my skin was all gray.”
Snitzer was blunt when she explained her reason for getting the surgery. “Because I was supposed to! If you’re fat, you’re supposed to try to not be.”
Though she didn’t initially connect her decision to get the procedure done to the criticism she received after Shallow Hal’s release, she ultimately came to terms with the reason she got the gastric band.
“I’m sure it was [due to the body-shaming from the public] … I’m sure I wanted to be small and not seen,” she shared. “I’m sure that’s there, but I don’t ever remember consciously thinking about it.”
“The first day I tried the fat suit on, I was in the Tribeca Grand and I walked through the lobby. It was so sad,” the Goop founder recalled. “It was so disturbing. No one would make eye contact with me because I was obese. I felt humiliated.”