Anorexia and Residential Treatment for Eating Disorders
In ‘To The Bone,’ British-born actress Lily Collins (Mirror, Mirror) and Keanu Reeves star in a dark comedy/drama about a young woman in a residential eating disorder treatment program. Writer and director Marti Noxon says the film’s unusual story comes from her own personal battles with weight stigma, body issues, and her recovery from anorexia. While it’s common for people to complain that nearly every actress in Hollywood has an eating disorder, it’s rare for Tinseltown to produce films that honestly portray people with eating disorders and treatment for them. Noxon admits that she hopes to shatter some of the myths people may have about eating disorders. Ms. Collins says, “I’m incredibly honored to be part of such a powerful story of love, self-doubt, and the courage it takes to fight for survival. I believe this film has the potential to shine a light on something that’s becoming more prevalent within our society every day and let those suffering know they’re not alone.”
To the Bone Shines Spotlight on Anorexia and Eating Disorder Treatment
To the Bone tells the tale of a young artist who feels ‘trapped inside a world she cannot control.’ As her life becomes more stressful, the young artist, played by Lily Collins, spirals into anorexia. While seeking treatment for her eating disorder, she meets Keanu Reeves, a doctor that attempts to help the young woman. In a residential treatment program, Collin’s character encounters and becomes involved in the lives of other clients struggling with EDs. The film, billed as a ‘dark comedy,’ will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2017.
It’s often said that the camera adds 10 pounds, and this is actually somewhat true. The flattening effects certain lenses produce may make a person appear to be larger than they are in real life. For the part in the movie, Lilly Collins, who was already thin, had to lose a significant amount of weight to look convincing on camera. She says she also developed mannerisms and posture to make herself look even thinner on the big screen. Photos of an emaciated Collins from shooting locations in Los Angeles have created much buzz on the Internet, and concerned fans have written many posts speculating about dangers to the young thespian’s health.
Starving For Awards
Male actors have won major awards for roles that required dramatic weight loss.
Before and after pictures of stars like Tom Hanks and Christopher Bale were used to publicize their movies. Matthew McConaughey famously dropped nearly 50 pounds to play a rodeo rider who discovers he has AIDS in Dallas Buyers Club. The film garnered critical acclaim and earned McConaughey many acting awards, including the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Golden Globe Award, and the coveted Academy Award for Best Actor. Unfortunately, for many women working in modern media, such practices may be considered business as usual.
A Fashion Victim Strikes Back
Lily Collins may understand these physical dangers more than most young female actors. Before her leading role as Snow White in the fantasy film Mirror Mirror, she was a successful fashion model. In 2008, Spain’s Glamour magazine named Collins the International Model of the Year. She was selected by Chanel to wear one of their gowns at the 2007 Bal des débutantes at the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris. Writer/director Noxon has publicly praised Collins’s commitment to the new movie. She says, “Lily is a rare bird. She’s got a depth of feeling and heart that immediately won me over. I feel blessed to be working with a young woman with such talent, beauty and brains.”
With her large expressive dark eyes, the petite actress is often compared by critics to a young Audrey Hepburn. British newspaper The Daily Telegraph put it this way: “She has an adorable, sensational, almost perfect face for cinema; think Audrey Hepburn with the eyebrows of Liam Gallagher [lead singer for the rock band Oasis]. Her smile is the platonic ideal of cheeky.” Lily is the daughter of musician Phil Collins.
The Writer’s Journey
To The Bone is writer/director Marti Noxon’s first feature. As a writer, producer, and showrunner, Noxon’s extensive television credits include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Code Black, Mad Men, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” and UnReal. She credits Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner for encouraging her to pursue personal themes in her work. Her next project is a series based on the book, Dietland. In a recent editorial for Newsweek, Noxon opened up about her own struggles with body image, body shaming, eating disorders, and some of the events that drove her to produce films and shows about young women with eating disorders or body issues.
“What drew me to this cast of girly misfits? These women, whose inner struggles outsiders don’t see, who strangers might call ‘ugly’ or ‘fat?’ It’s that, in some ways, I have been all of them,” she writes. “Around 10, I got chubby. I knew I’d crossed a line when the only pants that fit were from the ‘Junior Plenty’ line at JC Penny. My parents had split up, my mom was going through a dark time and my brother and I were getting bullied in our new neighborhood. Life was big and unsafe. At least I had the two glazed donuts I bought on the way to school, and the Pepsi and bag of Cheetos I got on the way home. Eating was uncomplicated, undeniable pleasure. But the combination of preteen hormones and those extra calories made me round and solid, a little rain barrel on legs.”
“At school I got knocked around by the ‘alphas.’ A boy told me I wasn’t kissable. It felt like every day brought another comment that let me know the way I looked wasn’t pleasing enough -that who I was deserved ridicule. I lost weight. Not just because of the words people said. But because the promise was all around me-
if I was just pretty enough, my problems would disappear. Noxon hints that she also struggled with a self-harm disorder. “To my delight, I found a new source of comfort in self-denial and self-punishment. It was as if controlling what hurt me was better than waiting for an unexpected blow. I was in pain, but it was my pain. I made it. I knew what caused it and why.”
After she became thinner, Noxon first pursued an acting career because it seemed glamorous. “I was a wraith, starving to make order out of chaos,” she says. Eventually, she discovered that writing, producing, and directing would allow her the greatest opportunities to challenge her inner demons. “Years of my life were dominated by my obsession with eating or not eating, then binging and purging. I was hospitalized. I nearly died. But finally, with a lot of help, I got better.”
Residential Treatment For Eating Disorders
If you suspect that someone you love might have an eating disorder, call Center for Discovery now at 800.760.3934. We’ve been guiding families to lifelong recovery for nearly 20 years. Our personalized behavior modification programs are tailored to fit the needs of each family. Center for Discovery provides integrated multi-faceted care options that range from residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, to partial hospitalization, for adolescents and teens that suffer from anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, self-harm behaviors, gender identity issues, oppositional defiant disorder, and most major mental health disorders.
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Deadline Hollywood: Lily Collins To Star In Marti Noxon’s Dark Anorexia Comedy ‘To The Bone,’ by Patrick Hipes. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
Variety: Marti Noxon to Make Feature Directing Debut With Eating Disorder Movie, by Dave McNary. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
The Hollywood Reporter: Keanu Reeves Joins Marti Noxon’s Indie Drama ‘To the Bone,’ by Borys Kit. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
Blasting News: Lily Collins weight loss shocks in ‘To the Bone’ comedy on anorexia, eating disorders, by Marilisa Sachteleben. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
Refinery29: Lily Collins Is Nearly Unrecognizable After Extreme Weight Loss For New Movie, by Shannon Carlin. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
Newsweek: Donald Trump’s Insults About Women Are More Than Just Words by Marti Noxon. Retrieved December 24, 2016.
Dietland, by Sarai Walker.