Chris Sullivan was believed to have undergone weight loss as did the character he played called Toby in the show This Is Us. But it was revealed that Chris had no weight loss to show as he had been wearing a fat suit to play the fat character and had always been a slim person. Fans were outraged at the casting because they believed that undermined the representation of overweight people.
Chris Sullivan is an American actor and musician who is mostly known for starring in the NBC drama This Is Us in the role of Toby Damon. His performance in the show earned him two nominations for Primetime Emmy Awards nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.
Chris Sullivan is also recognized for appearing in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Stranger Things. He is set to headline ABC's camera comedy pilot The Son in Law.
Did Chris Sullivan Lose Weight?
Speaking of Chris Sullivan (@sullivangrams), you sure happened to catch episode 9 of the sixth and the final season of Chris-starrer This Is Us? If you did, you would know that the episode focused on the relationship of Kate (Chrissy Metz) and Toby (Chris).
Kate reflects back on her past and looks back on their relationship and realizes just how much he has changed. Following an argument about their future together with Toby, Kate, just recently having reminisced about the old Toby, struggles to come to terms with the current Toby and desperately wants the old Toby back. The Toby before the change. The fat Toby because he had started changing slowly since he lost weight.
Kate recalling the fat Toby has once again brought attention to Chris Sullivan and how he used to look when he played fat Toby and how he looks now. It had been widely assumed that the weight loss of Toby had corresponded with that of the actor playing him - Chris. When Toby lost weight after Season 3, it was believed that Chris Sullivan had undergone weight loss for the role as well.
People were enthusiastic to know about the process of weight loss. The changes in the diet, the training, the timing, and others. What they didn't realize was that Chris Sullivan, for the first three seasons of the show, had been wearing a prosthetic costume commonly known as a fat suit and a prosthetic jowl as well.
So, you can imagine how disappointed and outraged the fans got when the fact that Chris Sullivan didn't have to undergo weight loss like the character he played did because he had never been fat and to portray a fat person, he had been wearing a fat suit, came into revelation.
It may partly be due to the fact that some of the overweight fans could no longer relate to either the character Toby or the actor Chris. When we first saw Toby, he was in a weight support group and struggling with his weight and body image issues.
By Season 4, he had lost weight which pushed Chris Sullivan, the actor playing him into the spotlight. Fans started asking Chris about the weight loss. The questions they should have avoided asking because all they got for the answer just made them furious. On finding out that Chris was never fat, they probably felt out-of-sync with the character's feelings, which only made them resentful towards him.
When it became knowledge in the public domain that NBC had chosen to hire a slim person to play the character of a fat person, fans were unable to muster up respect for the decision and simply could not tolerate it.
They lashed out at the show for not getting someone who could naturally fit the character description of Toby and criticized Chris for playing the role of fat person- the role which they believed could and should have gone to an actual fat person.
On social media, fans expressed that they were pissed about the use of fat suits to play fat people as it undermined the representation of plus-sized people. As hard it is for an overweight person to make it as an actor because of the fatphobic beauty standards, people were scandalized to find out that the role tailor-made for overweight people in terms of physicality, was taken by a slim person.
In response to the controversy, Chris Sullivan defended himself saying that it was just his job as an actor. In an interview with People, he stated that he was willing to have a conversation if there was a problem with the way he was representing the character or with the way he was treating the character.
But as for playing a fat person, he said that there were different requirements for an actor for different roles. Like he was not a space alien he played in Guardians of Galaxy 2, he was not actually a fat person he portrayed in This Is Us. In that regard, a fat suit is just like the costumes the actors wear.
The actor also explained the need for fat suits in the context of the show. This Is Us frequently jumped back and forth through time so the fat suit left room for flashbacks or other story shifts.
His costar Chrissy Metz came to his defense and told on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen that they had tested a lot of bigger gentlemen, but Chris Sullivan was the best man for the job.
For people who thought that the authenticity was ruined by casting a slim person in the fat person role, she revealed that Chris had been heavier and so he understood the plight of being overweight.