Sam Claflin is generally a “Who?” to me. I know his face, I know he was in The Hunger Games and Me Before You and Snow White and the Huntsman, but I can’t really say I’ve ever said “Sam Claflin gave a standout performance” or “that’s a role for Sam Claflin.” But because there is no shortage of roles for white English actors, Sam Claflin gets work. He’s currently promoting My Cousin Rachel (also starring Rachel Weisz), which is why he chatted with the Sydney Morning Herald. The conversation turned into a discussion about how men have it just as bad as women in the industry when it comes to being objectified and man-handled. Eh.
On people confusing him with Nicholas Hoult: “We’ve had that before. I’ve met him a couple of times on social occasions and he’s a lovely guy. I’m actually a really big fan of his work and he has a tendency to get most jobs I go for. I feel like he has the career I’d like to have. He’s had more of an opportunity to branch out from playing leading men. He’s played some really, really interesting characters.
He’s done playing boyish 21-year-olds. “I don’t want to be less masculine. I don’t want to be a boy any more. I want to be a man.”
He thinks men are just as objectified as women: “I read in an interview recently and I think it’s absolutely true: men have it just as bad. Well, not just as bad but they get it bad and it’s never talked about. I remember doing one job when they literally made me pull my shirt up and were grabbing my fat and going ‘you need to lose a bit of weight’. This other time they were slapping me. I felt like a piece of meat. I’m not saying it’s anywhere near as bad as what women go through but I, as an actor approaching each job, am insecure – especially when I have to take my top off in it – and so nervous. I get really worked up to the point where I spend hours and hours in the gym and not eating for weeks to achieve what I think they’re going for.”
He longs for the bygone dadbod era: “In the ’50s and ’60s, it was never an issue. James Bond never had a six pack. He had a hairy chest. Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire had an incredible body but he was by no means ripped to within an inch of his life. There’s a filter on society that this is normal but actually it’s anything but normal.”
I’m glad he caught himself and said “well, not just as bad,” because we really didn’t need to get into a pissing contest about who has it worse in Hollywood (women have it worse, and among that group, women of color have it worse than everybody else). I don’t doubt that Sam feels genuine insecurity, or that he has been on the receiving end of some inappropriate comments. I feel like Hollywood casting agents/producers/directors have in their heads that all of the dudes are supposed to look like Zac Efron now. Like, that what The Ladies like now. And it’s just not the case. When I see Efron or one of his plucked, hairless mindlessly buff compatriots, I feel nothing. Allow dudes to come in all shapes and sizes. Allow women to come in all shapes and sizes too.
Photos courtesy of WENN.