USA Today wasn’t the only publication Lily spoke to while doing press for To The Bone. Harper’s Bazaar was another publication that Lily spoke with, in which she is questioned about how she did research for the movie, the key factors that helped her recover from the eating disorder and what advice would she give anyone who’s suffering from it.
Playing an anorexia victim would be a challenging role for any actress, let alone if they’ve suffered from an eating disorder in the past. Lily Collins took the risk when she took on To The Bone, which stages the journey of a young woman battling with anorexia as she enters a group rehabilitation home.
Directed by Marti Noxon – best known for her producing and directing work on TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer – the film is part autobiographical, rendering it more accurate than former, more simplistic screen representations of the disorder – there are secret sit-ups in the dead of the night, xylophone chests and animal-like cries of the truly tormented. Although expectedly disturbing in parts, it’s also flecked with a dark humour that was important to both Collins and Noxon.
Collins herself lost a huge amount of weight for the part and, harrowingly, was even complimented on her appearance – a dangerous situation to be in for someone who has fought an eating disorder in the past. However, it’s exactly reactions like these that prompted her to sign up to the film – which at that point didn’t even have a distributor.
Ahead of the film’s Netflix release on Friday 14 July, we talked to Collins about the project and how it helped her come to terms with her own relationship with food.
Given your history, did you have any reservations about taking the role on?
“I got this script randomly – I had ironically just written a chapter in my book about my history having an eating disorder just a week prior. So it felt that the universe was saying that this is probably something you should be talking about on a much larger scale. I never reached the point where I needed medical attention and went to hospital, so I never took the time to talk about the facts. You tend to surround yourself with myth when you’re going through an eating disorder. I saw it as an opportunity to better understand my disorder better. I was nervous, but also really excited to finally tell my story through a character, but also unburden myself. It was very freeing.”