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Sarah Paulson Regrets ‘Impeachment’ Fat Suit, Vows Not to Wear One Again: ‘Fat Phobia Is Real’

Paulson said she regrets her decision to wear a fat suit to play Linda Tripp in the new season of "American Crime Story."

Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp in "Impeachment: American Crime Story"

Sarah Paulson as Linda Tripp in “Impeachment: American Crime Story”


Sarah Paulson admitted regret in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times regarding her decision to wear a fat suit for her role as Linda Tripp in “Impeachment: American Crime Story.” The upcoming FX limited series explores Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the resulting fallout. Tripp was the former U.S. civil servant whose recorded phone conversations of Lewinsky revealed the affair. While Paulson’s once planned to gain weight for the role and forgo a fat suit, she changed course ahead of production and wore a fat suit.

“It’s very hard for me to talk about this without feeling like I’m making excuses,” Paulson told the Times. “There’s a lot of controversy around actors and fat suits, and I think that controversy is a legitimate one. I think fat phobia is real. I think to pretend otherwise causes further harm. 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,” Paulson continued. “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. 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 added that she “regrets” not thinking more about the harm of wearing a fat suit prior to making the decision. “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,” the actress told the Times. “You can only learn what you learn when you learn it. Should I have known? Abso-fucking-lutely. But I do now. And I wouldn’t make the same choice going forward.”

“Impeachment” stars Paulson opposite Clive Owen as Clinton and Beanie Feldstein as Lewinsky. The new “American Crime Story” season begins September 7 at 10pm ET on FX.

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