Lily Collins in To the Bone
Gilles Mingasson
Julie Mazziotta
July 12, 2017 12:00 PM

For Lily Collins, landing the role of a woman suffering from anorexia in Netflix’s To the Bone was serendipitous.

The actress dealt with anorexia and bulimia as a teen, and had just finished writing a chapter on the experience for her memoir, Unfiltered.

“For me, it was a sign from the world saying, ‘This is probably something that is actually bigger than you. There’s a larger thing in play here and both are going to be able to better inform one another,’ ” Collins, 28, told USA Today. “When you have your life’s mission and the mission of a project merge like this so beautifully, that’s like total magic.”

Collins and writer/director Marti Noxon, who also overcame anorexia in her 20s, hope the film creates a conversation around a topic that is still considered taboo. They say their intention is not, as some critics have alleged, to glamorize the disease.

“I nor Marti, nor anyone on the cast, would ever set out to make a film that would glamorize or encourage a disorder that I, and Marti, personally went through, that was so negative,” Collins told Access Hollywood. “So coming from that place, we just hope to start a conversation and look forward to people seeing the actual film.”

The filmmakers also contacted Project Heal, a non-profit that supplies grant money to eating disorder sufferers who can’t afford treatment, to consult on the film.

But there is concern over Collins’ decision to lose weight for the role, which she says was vital to inhabit the character.

“For me, I just wanted to feel like I was paying homage to the 16 year old girl that I was, that would’ve wanted to see this movie, but at the time I was just an actor playing a character,” she said.

And Collins emphasizes that she lost weight safely, and they also relied on special effects to make her body look more severe.

“There was never a weight goal, there was never a number. It’s something that I decided to do as an actor for a role. You lose weight, you gain weight, you change your hair color. There’s so many different things that you can physically change for a character,” she said. “I always knew that we’d have the ability to have an amazing wardrobe team, makeup team, CGI team as well to help aid in those moments that needed to be specific in the script.”

RELATED VIDEO: Lily Collins Writes an Open Letter to Dad Phil Collins: ‘I Forgive the Mistakes You Made’


They also made a point not to unnecessarily show her body.

“Marti was always very adamant that there were specific moments in the script that she wanted to show body parts, or there’s only one time where you see her whole body,” Collins said. “But other than that, it’s not about glamorizing, fetishizing, showing images that didn’t need to be seen. It was about the story.”

To the Bone premieres on Netflix on July 14.

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