Gwyneth Paltrow’s ‘Shallow Hal’ Body Double Says Role Almost Killed Her

Ivy Snitzer says, “Humans shouldn’t have to experience how very bleak that particular time in my life was”

Shallow Hal Poster Art
20th Century Fox

Ivy Snitzer can’t remember how the casting call for 2001’s “Shallow Hal” described the role of Gwyneth Paltrow’s body double, but she does remember getting the job within an hour. While the initial experience of filming was great, Snitzer has now revealed to The Guardian that she almost died from an eating disorder in the years that followed.

Snitzer told the outlet that she felt “really comfortable” while filming the movie, but once it came out in 2001 “it was like the worst parts about being fat were magnified. And no one was telling me I was funny.” One person mailed her diet pills and casting agents were only sending her roles about women who were “so ugly and lonely” that they “molested young boys.”

The actress was nearly starving to death not even two years after “Shallow Hal” came out. She underwent gastric bypass surgery but the band slipped; she developed a torsion and was unable to access medical care because she didn’t have health insurance. For three months, Snitzer subsisted off of little more than water and sports drinks.

She explained, “I was so thin you could see my teeth through my face and my skin was all grey. And I was just so bitchy all the time. I kind of alienated a lot of my friends. My mother was also dying; it was bleak. Humans shouldn’t have to experience how very bleak that particular time in my life was.”

Years later, Snitzer still has to eat “weird tiny portions” and can’t eat and drink at the same time. She doesn’t blame the movie for her health situation but acknowledges that by the time filming wrapped, “I hated my body the way I was supposed to. I ate a lot of salads. I had eating disorders that I was very proud of.”

The actress also admits that she worries about how young women who are overweight might feel about the movie now, and she has not introduced her own 13-year-old to the film.

Still, she doesn’t regret the role. Snitzer said, “I love that it’s a cool thing I did one time. It didn’t make me feel bad about myself. Until you know, other people started telling me I probably should have felt bad about myself.”

She also doesn’t pretend to be completely at peace with her body now, but she is at peace with herself. Snitzer concluded, “I was always my personality. I’ve always been a personality in this body.”