Belfast Telegraph

Has Antonia gone too far for her art?

By Maureen Coleman

Her gaunt, skeletal frame caused shockwaves when she walked the red carpet at a film premiere in London.

Wearing a flimsy blue dress, Northern Irish-born actress Antonia Campbell-Hughes looked painfully thin as she posed for photographs outside Leicester Square's Odeon Cinema.

The 30-year-old — who is naturally slim — has undergone extreme weight loss for her role in the biopic 3096. Hughes plays Austrian girl Natascha Kampusch who was abducted and held captive in a basement for eight years.

The movie began shooting in Munich in May this year and the Londonderry-born actress will star alongside Thur Lindhardt, who plays kidnapper Wolfgang Priklopil.

Antonia is not the first actor to dramatically alter their physique to prepare for a movie role.

Michael Fassbender starved himself for 10 weeks to play Bobby Sands in the award-winning film Hunger, while Matthew McConaughey recently shed 30lbs to play Aids activist Ron Woodroof in the upcoming movie The Dallas Buyer's Club.

Renee Zellweger, on the other hand, put on 30lbs to star as lovelorn singleton Bridget Jones.

But with her bones protruding through her sheer dress and her face looking drawn and pinched, has Antonia taken method acting too far?

Not according to Belfast actor Gerard McCarthy, who says if the role requires such extreme transformations, the actor has no option.

And he pointed out that Antonia would have to be under strict medical supervision to allow for such weight loss. “When an actor has to lose weight like this, they will do so under the watchful eye of doctors and nutritionists,” he said.

“It's not like they're told to go off and lose a few stone in three months without any help. They will do it as safely as is possible and with a lot of medical advice.”

But local businesswoman Brenda Shankey, who lost two stone 4lbs through Scott Wright's Bootcamp this summer, said: “Antonia looks so thin and fragile. I don't feel it's a good role model for young girls thinking they can achieve this look easily or healthily.”

Katrina Doran, editor of online lifestyle magazine, said: “It really does send out the wrong message to young girls. It's not glamorous and it's not healthy to look like this.”


Antonia Campbell-Hughes is not the first actor to dramatically alter their weight for a movie role. During filming of the Bobby Sands biopic Hunger, production shut down for 10 weeks so that Michael Fassbender could shed three stone to play the dying Sands. He lived on berries, nuts and sardines mostly.

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