Two months ago Deadline‘s Michael Fleming reported that Pablo Larrain (Jackie, No) had cast Kristen Stewart as the late Lady Diana in Spencer, a stand-alone drama. It fell to Hollywood Elsewhere to point out the obvious, which was that Stewart (a) doesn’t look anything like the Real McCoy and (b) is way too short to fill Diana’s shoes with Stewart being 5’5″ and the late princess having stood 5’10” or thereabouts — a perfect physical fit for Charlize Theron if she was 12 to 15 years younger.
Now comes news (from Deadline‘s Bruce Haring) that the producers of Netflix’s The Crown have swung 5 inches in the opposite direction. The stork-like Elizabeth Debicki, who stands 6’3″ without heels, has been hired to play the tragic British heroine. Which means that the men cast opposite her will probably have to stand 6’3″ themselves, if not higher. (The only boyfriend-of-Diana who was clearly shorter was Dodi Fayed.) Does Debicki at least resemble Diana Spencer? Uhm, no.
Why did the Crown producers do this? Because Debicki is a highly respected, above-average actress, of course, but I’m also guessing they wanted to display their woke credentials by striking a blow for women of all shapes and sizes, which is to say a blow against size-ism, fat-shaming and any other -ism that applies.
Am I a size-ist? Not in my day-to-day life, although I do feel that if you’re portraying a historical figure you should bear a certain resemblance, or at least that your physical properties shouldn’t be wildly at odds with the original.
This morning a producer friend wrote the following: “What is your problem with Elizabeth Debecki’s height? Jerry Hall is six feet tall, and Mick Jagger didn’t have a problem with that. And speaking of Jagger, the late designer L’Wren Scott, with whom he had a relationship, was 6’3”. And Veruschka was the same.”
HE reply: Jagger likes ’em tall? Fine. So have I in the past. But 6’3″ is a bit much. For me, I mean.
As you know, big-name actresses have always been about more than just talent. Attractiveness and exuding a certain radiance have always been factors.
You’re also aware that the general scheme behind the biology of our species has always leaned in the direction of lads being taller, brawnier and heavier than lassies. Why do you suppose that is? There must have been some kind of thinking or rationale when this tendency was implemented.
During my prowling days I always felt there was a prospective difference between sleeping with “tall and that’s not all!” and a praying mantis who could potentially take me in a wrestling match, partly due to the possible fact that she weighs more than I do. I don’t need to feel overwhelmingly dominant in a physical sense with a prospective girlfriend — even-steven is fine by me — but I don’t care for the idea of being physically dominated.
Plus the idea of a woman’s feet being the same size as mine (size 12) or, horror of horrors, bigger than my own (which is certainly possible given that Debicki is six-foot-three while I’m only a mere six foot and 1/2 inch)…that prospect stops me in my tracks.
When I was 22 I was on intimate terms with a woman who was 5’10” or something close to that, and it was breathtaking. So I understood the whole tall thing, but I preferred tall women in the range of, say, 5’8”, 5’9” or 5’ 10”…somewhere in that vicinity. 5’11” might’ve worked; ditto six feet. But big feet are killers.
I know — this makes me a size-ist, right? Which, in the minds of wokester purists, is in the same realm as being a racist or a homophobe. (Age-ism, however, is okay with many progressives because it targets older white guys.) If I was truly free and open-minded, some of them probably think, I wouldn’t instantly regard Debicki’s size as a speed-bump thing…right? But I don’t regard her as such. I just think it’s a stretch to cast her as Diana Spencer.
Producer pally replies: “While I appreciate your personal dating issues with taller women, Debecki is a gorgeous talented woman now starring in what may become the highest grossing film of the year (Tenet) and a potential critic’s delight. You’ll be in the minority if you think her height is an obstacle to admiration in either category. AND BTW there are plenty of women who won’t date a short man, or a man shorter than them. But that never stopped Alan Ladd, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, etc.”
(l.) Elizabeth Debicki; (r.) Diana Spencer.