entertainment

Rafe Spall was told to lose weight to look like ‘a normal guy’ in I Give It A Year


Rafe has been told to lose weight for roles (Picture: Jim Spellman/WireImage)

Rafe Spall has detailed his struggles with weight in the acting industry, saying he trained twice a day for 13 weeks to look ‘normal’.

The 38-year-old actor admitted that on a recent ‘big-profile’ TV job, he was urged to get a personal trainer after production staff expressed concern about his weight.

Speaking on the Guardian podcast Comfort Eating with Grace Dent, Rafe said: ‘Now, I was fit at this time. I could run 5km in 20 minutes, and I was strong and fit.

‘And it broke my heart. It was literally my worst nightmare coming true.’

In 2013, Rafe starred in the rom-com I Give It A Year opposite Rose Byrne, and said it was ‘made clear’ that he had to lose weight.

He said: ‘It was made clear to me that I needed to lose weight in order to do the film. And so, a trainer was laid on. I trained twice a day for 13 weeks to look like a “normal guy”.

‘The fact is that in that film, which I’m really proud of – I love that film – I had to do all of that just to look like a “normal person”. It wasn’t like I was playing a superhero or whatever – I was playing a normal guy.’

Rafe addressed the pressure on men and women in the acting industry, to look a certain way on screen.

He said: ‘There is much in the public discourse about the terrible pressure that women are put under in the entertainment industry to live up to an unrealistic body shape. The same is for me. It isn’t just me, it’s all men. And I don’t know who it’s for, on both sides, and I’m sick of it.

‘It’s worth saying that when you see films with men with their shirts off, my entire life and existence for four months was based around the way that I looked and I starved myself to look like that essentially.

‘I have to flog myself to [lose weight]. And I think it’s harmful. It’s harmful for me, the audience, for everyone.’

Rafe said he trained hard to look ‘normal’ (Picture: Dave M. Benett/WireImage)

Rafe began acting as a teenager, following in his father Timothy Spall’s footsteps, but found that he was pigeon-holed in roles as he was overweight.

At the age of 19 he lost over five stone, something he says brought more acting opportunities.

The actor has gone on to star in big screen hits including Life of Pi, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and Men In Black: International, as well as appearing in the Cornetto Trilogy – Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End.

Currently, Rafe – who has three kids with wife Elize du Toit – stars in the Apple TV+ series Trying, about a couple struggling with conceiving who turn to adoption to achieve their dreams of a family.


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