Losing and gaining weight for a role may be commonplace in Hollywood, but Lily Collins admits she was initially ‘apprehensive’ about playing an anorexic woman after struggling with her own crippling eating disorder as a teen.
The 28-year-old hired a nutritionist to help her lose weight as safely as possible to portray an anorexic patient in the upcoming Netflix film To the Bone, but she explained that there was a part of her that feared she would fall back into unhealthy patterns.
‘It was kind of nerve-wracking. You’re doing it for a part, but it’s something so close to you,’ she told Elle.com.
Tough call: Lily Collins admits she was ‘apprehensive’ about playing an anorexic woman in her upcoming film To the Bone because she has suffered from an eating disorder in the past
Difficult role: The 28-year-old stars alongside Keanu Reeves in the Netflix film
‘There’s a fine line between, are you going to fall back into it, are you not? But I was so aware of why I was doing it — for a greater purpose — and also I was more mature.
‘None of the reasons that had kickstarted my disorder in the past applied anymore.’
She had only just written a chapter on her struggle with eating disorders for her memoir Unfiltered a week before being asked to star in To The Bone back in 2015.
The film, which premieres on July 14, was written and directed by Marti Noxon and based on her own experiences with an eating disorder.
Being careful: Lily, who is pictured in the film, had regular check-ups while losing weight for the role
Making it work: The actress was hired a nutritionist to help her lose weight as safely as possible. She is pictured at the end of 2016 (left) and at the start of 2017 (right)
‘It was like the universe sending me the message that there’s a reason that you are able to talk about this right now,’ Lily said of the offer.
The actress noted that writing as she was filming actually helped her become ‘more comfortable with the subject matter’.
Lily said everyone working on the film, including Marti, immediately made her feel like she was in good hands and her initials fears quickly went away.
‘They hired a nutritionist, and we did it in the most healthy way possible. I had a lot of people…to be accountable for how I was doing it, and I had check-ups all the time,’ she said.
Timing: Lily had only just written a chapter on her struggle with eating disorders for her memoir Unfiltered a week before being asked to star in To The Bone back in 2015
Difficult decision: Lily said that her mother, Jill Tavelman, did not want her to take the role. They are pictured walking in Los Angeles last month
Lily noted that there was never any pressure for her to reach a certain weight, but she felt that she needed to limit herself in a way to ‘get into that mindset’.
The Rules Don’t Apply star admitted that she actually found it a ‘little bit harder’ to put on the weight she lost because of her past experiences, explaining that she needed to find a way to gain that was healthy as well.
‘It’s not good to go from nothing to a lot, because your body doesn’t know how to handle it,’ she said, adding that it ‘took a little while longer’ than some people would have expected it to.
Hart times: Lily traces the beginnings of her eating disorder back to her father’s divorce from her stepmother, the singer’s third wife Orianne Cevey. They are pictured together in 2000
Healthy outlook: ‘None of the reasons that had kickstarted my disorder in the past applied anymore,’ Lily said. She is pictured in 2008 (left) and last February (right)
Earlier this year, Lily detailed how she drew on her own experience for the film role, revealing that she was terrified that she ‘had ruined her chances of having kids’ after her eating disorder had took hold.
She recalled how she gorged on ‘every type of junk food possible’, later forcing herself to throw up, causing her hair to fall out and her nails to become brittle.
Even after the extreme effects of the eating disorder began to show, the daughter of Phil Collins continued to starve herself and exercise obsessively.
In her candid book, she traces the beginnings of her eating disorder back to her father’s divorce from her stepmother, the singer’s third wife Orianne Cevey, and the ‘terrible disconnect’ that grew between them as she got older.
How Lily Collins lost weight safely to play an anorexic