Debra Messing

Debra Messing has just called out a famous film director for body shaming her on set

  • Marie Claire is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.
  • And it's awful.

    Debra Messing has been a Hollywood name for decades, starring in romantic comedies from The Women to Along Came Polly, and is best known for her leading role in the US sitcom, Will & Grace.

    Despite her success and influence, Messing has only just spoken out about a traumatic experience that happened on her first ever film set, over 22 years ago.

    The actress, now 48, got her big break in 1995, starring in her first film, A Walk in the Clouds, directed by Alfonso Arau. It is only recently, however, that she has opened up about how difficult the experience was, explaining how the famous film director allegedly body shamed her.

    ‘I’d never been on a film before,’ she explained, ‘I was doing a love scene with Keanu Reeves. We started filming and the very famous director screamed “Cut” and said, “How quickly can we get a plastic surgeon in here? Her nose is ruining my movie.”’

    She went on to describe her shock at the comments. ‘I was so confident coming out of graduate school with my Masters in acting. I’d studied in London and I was so well equipped with skill sets, and then to walk on set and have that happen – I was reduced to an un-Hollywood nose.’

    Debra Messing

    The actress also spoke more on her experience with the Mexican director, explaining that he had surprised her with a nude scene that she hadn’t agreed to on the second day of filming, and said that when she expressed how uncomfortable she was with it, she was told that she wasn’t there to ask questions but to do as she was told.

    ‘Your job is to get naked and say the lines, that’s it. You should be grateful to have this part. Get out!’ he allegedly said, with her agents supposedly telling her, ‘you can say no and they fire you or you can do it and keep your job.’

    Eventually going through with the nude scene, Messing explained that during the shoot, Arau allegedly lifted the sheet that was covering her, looked at her body and then dropped it.

    ‘He dropped the sheet on top of me like a used Kleenex, then walked away without a word,’ she explained, going into detail about how the experience affected her. ‘I felt like garbage. I felt deep shame.’

    To make matters worse, Messing went on to explain how the humiliation that she was subjected to was all a power play. ‘It turns out, after all this trauma, the only part of my body that is seen in the film is my back,’ she explained. ‘The whole thing was a power play, a game. And the goal, to demean me, to strip me of my power and make me feel on a cellular level his dominance over me.’

    Reading now

    Popular entertainment stories