Rebel Wilson says she was ‘laughed at and degraded’ because of size on set of Grimsby

Actor reports being ‘demeaned’ in what she calls the ‘worst professional experience of my career’

Maira Butt
Monday 01 April 2024 15:17 BST
Grimsby - Trailer

Rebel Wilson has said she was “laughed at and degraded” because of her size on the set of the film Grimsby in 2016.

The Pitch Perfect star spoke in detail about working on the movie, saying “it took months to recover” from the experience, which she counts as the “worst professional experience of my career”.

Wilson played Dawn, the girlfriend of protagonist Nobby – a football hooligan who becomes an elite spy, played by Borat star Sacha Baron Cohen.

“It’s one thing for someone who is fat to exploit their size for comedy, but it’s another for somebody else to humiliate you,” the 44-year-old actor told The Sunday Times.

The Hustle star said that while she has always made a “really conscious decision to look ugly”, she felt her costumes on set were purposely chosen to be unflattering so viewers could “see all the cellulite on my thighs and a top to show the fattest part of my arm”.

With a no-nudity clause in her contract, a stripper was recruited to run across a football pitch naked instead. However, she felt the character was being “demeaned” with people laughing at her, not with her.

She was left feeling “like I was something to be laughed at and degraded because of my size”.

At the time, Wilson said she felt unable to challenge the requests for fear of being labelled a “troublemaker”.

Rebel Wilson played the role of Dawn in the 2016 action comedy (Grimsby/Sony Pictures)

Returning for the film’s reshoots, she reports feeling “ashamed” and “disrespected on set” and did not promote the movie when it was released, and has never watched it to this day.

“The fact that I then went back… I felt ashamed of myself. Why do I have such low self-worth?”

The actor left the experience feeling “shaken”, and said: “It took months to recover.”

She added: “I’m sharing my story now because the more women talk about things like this, hopefully the less it happens. And hopefully fewer women have to work harder just to respect themselves.”

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The Independent has contacted Grimsby movie representatives for comment.

Wilson says she felt she was ‘something to be laughed at and degraded because of my size’ (Grimsby/Sony Pictures)

It comes shortly after she revealed the name of a “massive a**hole” that she worked with on the set of Grimsby. In social media posts, she said she had dedicated an entire chapter in her upcoming memoir, Rebel Rising, to the experience and would not be “bullied” into silence.

“I will not be bullied or silenced by high-priced lawyers or PR crisis managers,” she wrote.

“The ‘a**hole’ that I am talking about in ONE CHAPTER of my book is: Sacha Baron Cohen.”

In a statement given to The Independent, Baron Cohen’s representatives denied Wilson’s claim, stating: “While we appreciate the importance of speaking out, these demonstrably false claims are directly contradicted by extensive detailed evidence, including contemporaneous documents, film footage, and eyewitness accounts from those present before, during and after the production of The Brothers Grimsby.

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