Melanie Lynskey is looking back on Hollywood’s typecasting of women based on their bodies, and the “Heavenly Creatures” alum couldn’t help but point out one cautionary “heartbreaking” tale: Brittany Murphy.
Lynskey, nominated for an Emmy thanks to her stunning performance in “Yellowjackets,” has been open about the criticisms of her physique onscreen. While Lynskey has slammed the backlash, she opened up about what it means to be a woman in Hollywood.
“I was friends with Brittany Murphy, and the way she viewed herself was always really heartbreaking to me — the things she felt she had to change to be a successful actor,” Lynskey told InStyle for a cover story. “She was perfect just as she was, but people were trying to cast her as, like, ‘the fat one,’ because when she was a very young teenager, her cheeks were a little bit round.”
Lynskey explained, “People tell you that you’re a particular thing, and it’s very hard to fight back against.”
Murphy’s body was the subject of quips in “Clueless,” and as she underwent a drastic transformation, audiences publicly wonder if she was healthy or not. Murphy denied having an eating disorder, but recent HBO Max documentary “What Happened, Brittany Murphy?” implied Murphy struggled with one. Murphy eventually died of a heart attack at age 32.
Almost two decades later, and Lynskey hopes Hollywood can normalize all body types.
“I’m trying to just say to myself, ‘OK, you’re normalizing this, and hopefully more women will come along who look like you, and people won’t feel like they have to say things like that,’ because there is kind of a backhanded compliment,” Lynskey said. “Sometimes, I get tired of hearing about my body, even when it is positive, I just, you know, feel like I need a break from thinking about it and hearing about it and I think all women feel that way.”
And Lynskey credited real-life husband Jason Ritter (who could potentially be her “Yellowjackets” co-star at some point…) for always supporting her.
“Sometimes, my husband will tweet things about thinking I look hot or whatever and a lot of people like it, and I said to him, ‘Isn’t it funny that if I was a Victoria’s Secret model and you tweeted the exact same thing, people would not respond the way that they do?'” Lynskey cited. “People get excited because I look like I look, and my husband, he’s like a cute, young actor, but I am aware that some of the responses to him are like, ‘Good for you.‘ It’s like, well, he got together with me because he found me attractive. It’s not like he’s throwing himself on the sword for the rest of mankind. And also — he had competition.”