Lily Collins' new movie is hitting your Netflix queue soon, and the up and coming actress brought her own personal experiences to the table while portraying the troubled lead.
The film, "To The Bone" focuses on some pretty heavy topics, the biggest being eating disorders. The leading lady, Ellen, is a 20-year-old battling a life or death struggle with anorexia — a trial Collins is no stranger to.
"I suffered with eating disorders as a teenager for quite a few years," Collins told Today, explaining that when the film idea crossed her desk, "it was kind of like the universe saying this is something you need to talk about for yourself but also to bring to the attention of people in general."
Collins also opened up about her experiences with anorexia on social media, saying, "sharing my history with eating disorders and how personal this film has been is one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life."
Though diving back into the world of eating disorders was undoubtedly difficult, Collins felt the acting experience helped her more fully overcome her personal struggles. She said in an interview with IMBd Studio that playing the role encouraged her to "face, kind of dead on, a fear that I used to have and a way to explain it as someone who's gone through it."
Collins, who started at a petite, healthy size, had to shed weight for her role as Ellen. She did so safely with the help of a nutritionist, but the physical and emotional toll for the role took her back to her past.
"It caused me to have to emotionally go there, but in a way that was the most safe, healthy way possible," said Collins, "and really to physically go there but also emotionally. And it did require a different set of emotional skills, to kind of go back in time for me, with you know, my experiences."
Collins said she and Marti Noxon, the film's director and writer (who also has personally battled eating disorders), made the movie to help prompt conversation about a prevalent topic in society. But after the recent movie trailer release, many people have argued the film will do more harm than good.
A multitude of critics, from eating disorder victims to health experts, have accused "To the Bone" for potentially glamorizing anorexia.
Psychologist Dr Carolyne Keenan said: "It is very possible that some viewers may find the material distressing and triggering, and both Netflix and viewers will need to take responsibility for what they do with that. I wonder if it might be helpful to have an advisory prior to the trailer, for example, stating what viewers are about to see so that they can make an informed choice about watching."
But Collins and Noxon are both resolutely defending their work.
"My goal with the film was not to glamorise [eating disorders] but to serve as a conversation starter about an issue that is too often clouded by secrecy and misconceptions," Noxon said.
Collins said eating disorders are a universal issue that is really important to talk discuss more often.
"I think my experiences with this was a beautiful gift to be able to give to the character," Collins said.
For better or for worse, with so much controversy from just from the trailer release, "To The Bone" is shaping up to be the next "13 Reasons Why" — a controversial Netflix series that tackled topic of teen suicide. Will Netflix's newest controversial production be enlightening and helpful? Or dangerous and triggering for viewers?