We can’t wait to see Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp in the upcoming drama series Impeachment: American Crime Story, but that doesn’t mean we’re excited for every part of her performance.
Paulson will be playing Tripp, a former US civil servant and friend to Monica Lewinski whose secret recordings of phone calls exposed Bill Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky, who was his intern at the time. It looks like an Emmy-worthy performance. However, some fans are upset that Paulson donned a fat suit for the role, and that it wasn’t given to an actual fat actress.
Paulson is very aware of this problem. In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, she discussed the one major regret she has.
"It's very hard for me to talk about this without feeling like I'm making excuses," she said. "There's a lot of controversy around actors and fat suits, and I think that controversy is a legitimate one. I think fatphobia is real. I think to pretend otherwise causes further harm."
She continued, saying that reducing the character, and reducing fat actors, to their bodies isn’t a perfect solution either, and that the role was "the challenge of a lifetime."
"I would like to believe that there is something in my being that makes me right to play this part. And that the magic of hair and makeup departments and costumers and cinematographers that has been part of moviemaking, and suspension of belief, since the invention of cinema. Was I supposed to say no [to the part]? This is the question."
It’s a question she keeps thinking about. Paulson said she definitely regrets "not thinking about it more fully," and doesn’t think she’d do it if she had the opportunity to redo it.
"I also know it's a privileged place to be sitting and thinking about it and reflecting on it, having already gotten to do it, and having had an opportunity that someone else didn't have. You can only learn what you learn when you learn it," Paulson said. "Should I have known? Abso-f—ing-lutely. But I do now. And I wouldn't make the same choice going forward."
Paulson had previously said that she planned on gaining weight for the role instead of wearing a fat suit, something that many fat fans also have a problem with. "I don’t feel like it would be a great idea for me to come to work putting on some kind of faux suit and just all mucked up and not being able to move my face nor feel the feelings that she might have been feeling," she said at The New Yorker Festival back in 2019.
Fatphobia is very real, and it’s extremely prevalent in Hollywood. More shows need to cast fat actors in fat roles. It’s refreshing to see such a big star acknowledge that, and hopefully it will lead to more opportunities for bigger actors in the future.
Impeachment: American Crime Story, also starring Beanie Feldstein, Clive Owen, Billy Eichner, and Cobie Smulders, premieres September 7 on FX.