We often hear about actresses urged to get skinny for a role — Anne Hathaway's crash diet for Les Misérables and Beyoncé's "cleanse" for Dreamgirls spring to mind — but rarely are we made aware of male actors subject to the same pressure. However. Last night on The Late Show, Jason Segel revealed that "the studio president" — that would be Ron Meyer, head of Universal — forced him to lose weight for The Five-Year Engagement. "I was told that it had to be conceivable that Emily Blunt would ever choose me to be her husband," he told David Letterman. Apparently, a non-svelte man is unworthy of a slender woman's love. Not that shocking, since Hollywood also believes a leading lady should be As Thin As Possible.
But seriously, beyond the fact that Jason Segel is Jason Segel — adorable, funny, charming, smart, absolutely lovable — the idea that a thicker man is undesirable is absurd. Our society insists on equating physical attributes with personality traits. Being skinny doesn't make you a good person; being fat doesn't make you a bad person. What does your weight have to do with how you treat others, your heart, your intelligence? A thin dude could be an intolerant bigot; a chubby dude a philanthropist. Or vice versa. But in this flick, in an attempt to enchant and entertain, Jason Segel plays a chef (!) who is 35lbs. thinner than the real jason Segel. He was forced to lose weight in order to play a man who works with food. A complete and total demonization of weight, fatphobia defined.
We'll have to assume that Jason Segel's weight was fine in the Universal flick Forgetting Sarah Marshall — you know, the one where he gets dumped. There's comedy in the single chubby guy: In our society, fat is funny. (Which is why, when Jason Segel was on the cover of Vanity Fair, the very idea of seeing him and the other far-from-skinny dudes naked was part of the joke.)