Asked by Anonymous
1. I have never written a central female character who was described as thin other than Lindsey Lee Wells. Also, Margo and Q are two of the only white-identified people I’ve written, so I don’t really know how to respond to that part of your statement.
2. I do not cast the movie adaptations of my books. I am a novelist, not a casting director. I did not choose who would play Margo anymore than I choose where the movie will be filmed or what the budget or soundtrack will be.
3. That said, I think Cara will do a wonderful job as Margo. As I’ve learned in the past few hours, a lot of people who don’t know Cara have extremely strong opinions about her as a person, which is weird, because they don’t know her. They have a lot of opinions about her body, too, especially its supposed inadequacies. Cara is living, on a much larger stage, the Margo Roth Spiegelman experience: She receives massive amounts of attention but she’s more a mirror than a window. The way people respond to her seems to be a reflection of one’s own experience and worldview more than it has anything to do with the actual person Cara is. I think this is part of why Cara’s audition was so powerful: Her understanding of Margo is deep and profound and about a lot more than the shape of her body.
The problem is this: if a character is defined as a specific ethnicity, a larger size or anything that’s not skinny gorgeous and white it’s totally acceptable to make them skinny gorgeous and white in casting (and talk about how her talent secured the role as though no POC or curvy girls are talented).
Yet if someone is described as white or skinny we would never ever ever adjust that casting. I guarantee you it would be indicated in the casting call that they have to be those things specifically.
I love you, John. Because you gave me a character who looked like me who was super intriguing and intelligent and desired. That happens to me none of the times. But now that she’s going to be a movie star, she doesn’t look like me anymore. And it just sucks! There are thousands of complex and meaty roles for skinny blondes out there. This one was supposed to be the one that went to us.
I think it was a Rookie Mag discussion that uncovered this great observation for me: One of the girls said she never saw herself in ads but that was okay because at her size and shape she never expected to be a model. But she never saw herself as a protagonist. Movies teach us to be the chubby funny friends in our own lives.
Just some food for thought!