In the anorexia drama To The Bone, Lily Collins had a rare chance to dive back into a painful period from her past. In the film, she plays Ellen, an anorexic 20-year-old whose battle with the disorder leads her to a group treatment center led by an unorthodox doctor (played by Keanu Reeves). However, taking on the film presented a unique challenge for the star. When she was younger, she herself had battled with eating disorders. When she received the script for To the Bone, she had just finished writing a chapter about those battles for her memoir, Unfiltered. But while most people might be repelled at the thought of diving into such a personal issue onscreen, Collins saw an opportunity to excavate something true.
“It’s very rare that one gets the opportunity to wear shoes you once wore with a different mindset and perspective on things,” she tells Vanity Fair. To The Bone, V.F. can exclusively reveal, will be released by Netflix on July 14. An exclusive image from the film can be seen below.
There’s a lot about the disorder that Collins just “didn’t learn when I was going through it,” she continues. “I didn’t go into treatment, I didn’t seek out professional help. . . . I kind of just figured it out on my own. And this was an amazing opportunity to gain knowledge.”
Collins, of course, has since been applauded for being forthcoming about her journey, particularly as it pertains to her book. One notable fan is Michelle Obama, who recently sent the actress a thank-you letter for giving her a copy of the memoir. Collins, who has never met the iconic First Lady and plans on framing that letter, was shocked when she received it. “Crazy! Oh my goodness! I just sent the book not knowing if it would ever reach her,” she says, calling the First Lady an “inspiration to a lot of us.”
Collins worked with a nutritionist to get down to an Ellen-sized frame. Still, she found herself relating to the character in deeply personal ways, saying it was initially “terrifying” to go back into that mental space. ”I knew what depriving yourself felt like.”