Many actors, particularly those who are described as method actors who try to literally get into the role they are playing often undergo changes in their weight. However some medical people are concerned that doing this can put their health at risk.
One actress whose doctors are concerned about is Northern Ireland Antonia Campbell-Hughes. It seems she is shedding a lot of weight in order to play the role of Natascha Kampusch, who hit the headlines after it was revealed she was kidnapped.
Natascha was kidnapped at the age of 10 and held for 8 years in a dingy cellar before being found.
But while Antonia believes it is very important to try and get a feeling of the suffering that Natascha underwent through those 8 years of captivity, her doctors are concerned that it could do lasting damage.
This last point was emphasised by Dr. Julian Spinks an expert in weight issues who told reporters: “I understand people want to suffer for their art, but if you go too far you face the same risks as someone who is anorexic. You can lose muscle, particularly in the heart, so you’re more prone to heart problems. And you can lose bone mass, which causes osteoporosis. You’ve also got psychological issues that go with it”.
Anorexia is a huge problem, far bigger than many realise. As such, while actors such as Antonia Campbell-Hughes really believe that the only way to do justice to a role, it could adversely influence vulnerable young people.
But what is the alternative?
With today’s extensive use of prosthetics in films, TV and the stage, some could argue there is no need to get into a role such as Natascha Kampusch’s by losing tremendous amounts of weight.
In Antonia’s case she also drew gasps of astonishment when she went to the film’s premier recently. Her skeletal frame was there for all to see.