Actress, Debra Messing, spoke of the dark side of the industry that everyone knows exists but chooses not to acknowledge at the MAKERS conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California this week. She spoke in detail about her experience working under director, Alfonso Arau, for her first movie, A Walk in the Clouds (1995).
She revealed Arau was verbally abusive and alleged that he even once demanded a plastic surgeon be brought in because “Her nose is ruining my movie! … I can’t do this! Look at this!” Messing recalled that the humiliating ordeal had reduced her to feeling “ugly” and “like garbage”.
But this is far from the worst that Messing had been subject to. During the second day of production, a scene where co-star, Keanu Reeves, was supposed to walk in on Messing’s character in bed with another man called for Messing to act in the nude.
Upon approaching Arau, she quotes him as saying, “Your job is to get naked and say the lines, that’s it. You should be grateful to have this part. Get out!”
Despite confronting the movie’s producers and her agents about the nude scene, which they had promised she wouldn’t have to do, Messing reluctantly accepted the task due to the fear that she would lose the opportunity. However, the domestic and international release of the film only show her naked back and nothing else.
“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,” said Messing.
After A Walk in the Clouds, she refused to work with Arau ever again, though she was subject to stuffing her bra with chicken cutlets in Will & Grace (1998-2006) to boost her bra size up to a C-cup. She was told the president of the network specifically requested that she do this, though after she asked to speak to the president, she no longer had to.
Watch Debra Messing speak as one of the many women who have been subject to such cruelty in the Hollywood industry in her MAKERS talk, here.