Sarah Paulson saw how the other bodies live when she put on a fat suit to portray late White House employee Linda Tripp in the upcoming FX series “Impeachment: American Crime Story.”
But Paulson, 46, explained that she had a few regrets while wearing the extra padding for the role.
“It’s very hard for me to talk about this without feeling like I’m making excuses. There’s a lot of controversy around actors and fat suits, and I think that controversy is a legitimate one,” she said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “I think fat phobia is real. I think to pretend otherwise causes further harm.”
The “Ratched” star continued, “And it is a very important conversation to be had. But that entire responsibility I don’t think falls on the actor for choosing to do something that is arguably — and I’m talking about from the inside out — the challenge of a lifetime. I do think to imagine that the only thing any actor called upon to play this part would have to offer is their physical self is a real reduction of the offering the actor has to make.”
Paulson even wondered whether the visual excess somehow negated what she brought to the table as an actress.
“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,” Paulson pondered.
“I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully. And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on. 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,” she explained.
“You can only learn what you learn when you learn it. Should I have known? Abso-f—ing-lutely. But I do now,” she said, adding, “And I wouldn’t make the same choice going forward.”
“Impeachment” will take a look into the infamous ’90s Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky sex scandal that rocked America. The 10-part drama series also stars Clive Owen as Bill, Edie Falco as his wife Hillary Clinton and Beanie Feldstein as Lewinsky.
Tripp, who died last year at age 70, was essential to uncovering the scandal. She was the main whistleblower who helped blow the lid off of the case when she secretly recorded Lewinsky’s phone calls about her relationship with the ex-president.
The third season of Ryan Murphy’s crime anthology series hits the small screen on Sept. 7.