‘Black Mirror’ Star Bryce Dallas Howard on Why She Gained 30 Pounds for the Role

EmmyWrap magazine: “Society puts all this scrutiny on women’s bodies, which in a way serves to make us go insane,” the actress tells TheWrap

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This story on Bryce Dallas Howard first appeared in the Miniseries/Movies issue of TheWrap Emmy magazine.

Bryce Dallas Howard grew up loving creepy, cautionary, vaguely sci-fi stories by the likes of Shirley Jackson, Isaac Asimov and Margaret Atwood, and she loved (and was scared by) the one episode she’d seen of the British sci-fi series “Black Mirror” –so when director Joe Wright came to her about starring in an episode of that “Twilight Zone”-style series, it was a no-brainer for the actress and director.

An added bonus: The episode, “Nosedive,” which is entered in the Emmy race as a standalone movie, was about social media run amok, and it came to her just after she’d taken the plunge into those murky waters.

“Social media is a byproduct of my job,” she said. “But it’s not one that totally makes sense — I sort of feel imprisoned but also empowered by it. It’s so bizarre, because we all engage in this thing that makes our lives more public than we feel comfortable with, and yet we feel as if it’s what we have to do.”

In “Nosedive,” for which Howard landed a SAG nomination, she plays a young woman who lives in a world where everyone spends their lives glued to an app on which they instantly give a score between 0 and 5 to every person they encounter.

Her character, Lacie Pound, sees the wedding of her friend Naomi as a chance to improve her decent 4.2 rating, though it results in a series of humiliations that begin with trying to squeeze herself into the size-4 bridesmaid’s gown that Naomi sends her.

“Society puts all this scrutiny on women’s bodies, which in a way serves to make us go insane and distract us from what’s really important,” said Howard, who gained 30 pounds for the role.

“If you allow your spirit to be broken by trying to conform in ways that are not even possible, you will be off track for your entire life and you will lose track of what is important in every area. That’s insanity,” the actress said.

“It was really important for me to show that this insecurity that she feels in the world is because she’s not comfortable in her own skin,” she continued. “She’s not accepting herself for who she is. I wanted it be about image, and about how people want to control what other people think about them by trying to control themselves in ways that are harmful.”

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