Carrie Fisher is a respected actress, screenwriter, and novelist who has found steady work in Hollywood since appearing as Princess Leia Organa in the original Star Wars trilogy. But it would seem that all of those professional credentials can’t outweigh the most famous image of Fisher: the one in which she’s posed in a gilded, bikini-style outfit as Jabba’s courtesan in Return of the Jedi.
Perhaps that’s the image Disney executives had in mind when they asked Fisher to reprise her role as Leia for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Before appearing alongside Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, Fisher was told to lose some of the weight she’s gained since her days in Jabba’s Palace.
The actress recently told Britain’s Good Housekeeping magazine that she was pressured to lose more than 35 pounds for the new film. The studio didn’t “want to hire all of me,” she joked, “only about three-quarters!”
“I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance,” she continued. “That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is.”
The most frustrating part about this, for Fisher and actresses of all ages, is how the same standard doesn’t apply to their male counterparts. It’s hard to imagine Disney executives approaching Ford about dropping a few pounds (though it’s fun to picture how the scowl-faced actor might respond).
Fisher did end up losing the weight, though she has no miracle diet to share with the world (“I did it the same way everybody has to — don’t eat and exercise more!”). She also talked candidly about how uncomfortable it made her. “It’s not who I am,” she said. “When I do lose the weight I don’t like that it makes me feel good about myself.”
The new Star Wars may promise a fresh take on the classic franchise, but it’s still a Hollywood movie after all. And in Hollywood, according to Fisher, “Nothing changes.”
The Force Awakens hits theaters December 18th.