Producers pinched his fat and told him to lose weight. This actor says it has to stop.

You might remember actor Sam Claflin as Finnick, the uber-athletic former champion from the "Hunger Games" movies.

Sam Claflin. Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images.

He's also played a leading man in a number of other films and TV spots, including "Me Before You" and "Snow White and the Huntsman."


But he said making a career out of playing the heartthrob ain't what it used to be, according to a recent interview in The Sydney Morning Herald. In fact, he says there's an ugly side to becoming an action star these days that people don't seem to want to talk about.

Claflin said men in Hollywood face enormous pressure to live up to unrealistic body standards.

The last time most of us saw him on screen, Claflin was sporting a lean and athletic look, but there was a lot we didn't see.

"I remember doing one job when they literally made me pull my shirt up and were grabbing my fat and going, 'You need to lose a bit of weight,'" he told the Herald. "This other time they were slapping me. I felt like a piece of meat."

If it sounds familiar, it's because women in show business go through this all the time. The truth is that the constant pressure to look flawless in front of the camera is damaging for men, too.

"I'm not saying it's anywhere near as bad as what women go through but I, as an actor approaching each job, am insecure — especially when I have to take my top off in it — and so nervous," he said. "I get really worked up to the point where I spend hours and hours in the gym and not eating for weeks to achieve what I think they're going for."

It wasn't always this way. There was a time when actors didn't have to appear chiseled out of stone before they'd be considered for a role.

James Bond then (1980s) and now (2000s). Photos via Central Press/Getty Images and Damian Oswald/YouTube.

"In the '50s and '60s, it was never an issue," Claflin said. "James Bond never had a six pack. He had a hairy chest. Marlon Brando​ in 'A Streetcar Named Desire' had an incredible body but he was by no means ripped to within an inch of his life. There's a filter on society that this is normal but actually it's anything but normal."

While actresses are being held to absurd standards of beauty and told they're too old to play the lead by the time they hit 30, men have it a little different.

They're spending months and months working themselves into peak physical condition through brutal exercise and diet regimens and dropping to almost dangerously-low body fat and dehydration levels.

All in the name of looking ripped.

The pressure on professional actors to push their bodies beyond their limits is bad, but the effect it has on regular people might be worse.

When the only women allowed to appear in movies have to fit a certain aesthetic, it rubs off on young women everywhere. It's similar for men when every time they turn on a movie or TV show, all the guys look like bodybuilders.

Some studies are finding that men, and young men in particular, are turning to dangerous steroids to bulk up. This pressure to be big and muscular is wreaking havoc on their self-esteem.

It's time for Hollywood to loosen the reigns and display more body diversity on-screen.

We get it — Thor has to have big muscles. He's a demigod. But does every spy, dad, police officer, and accountant we see have to have six-pack abs? Does every actor need to dehydrate themselves before each shoot so you can see the veins in their biceps?

The effect on-screen may be striking, but the effect it's having on people in the real world is anything but.

Family
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular