Just this week, we heard a casting horror story in which Alison Brie was asked to go topless at an audition for a three-line role on Entourage. Her story, of course, is not a Hollywood anomaly, but a recurring practice of closed-door sexism, as evidenced by a painfully similar anecdote shared today by Shameless’s Emmy Rossum. In a round table with other TV comedy actresses, Rossum recalls a time when her agent reluctantly came to her with an offer for a “big movie.” The creepy catch: Rossum would have to show up in a bikini to meet with the director before she could get the part. “There’s no audition. That’s all you have to do,” she remembers her agent said.
Rossum gave the unnamed director the benefit of the doubt and asked to see the script first, thinking the part might involve her being in a bikini. No such luck. “He wanted to know if I was fat now. That was basically the question,” she says. “Not in a bikini in the movie. Not naked in the movie. ‘We really love your work, but we just want to see how tight your ass is.’ Are you f—ing kidding me? Last time I checked, I’m not a f—ing model.” Rossum now says the incident makes her worry about younger actresses who might not have a choice. “I feel like we’re all vulnerable to it. If somebody with my years in the business would think, ‘Well, I wonder if it’s worth it,’ then what would a girl who doesn’t have my success do? She would do it.”
Pamela Adlon’s story of Hollywood sexism is worse: In the same round table, the Better Things actress said a director tried to get her to go partially nude in a scene when she was 15 and her guardian was off set. “The scene is over, and I have a towel on, and the director comes over to me and he goes, ‘Pam, it would be really funny if you dropped the towel and we could just see your butt, like, really fast,’” she remembers. She refused, but says that same director then also used a childish analogy to get Adlon to maturely kiss a male child actor on the film: “He said to me, ‘An apple is an apple, a plum is a plum. A kiss isn’t a kiss without the tongue.’ And I was like, ‘I’m going to die.’”