The Netflix trailer for To the Bone starring Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves has just been released, telling the story of a young woman struggling with anorexia and the unconventional doctor who reaches out to her. But for Lily, the new film brought back old memories of her own struggles as a teenager with an eating disorder. Those memories were made even more real because she lost a significant amount of weight for the film in order to re-create the experience. As a result, taking on the role in the upcoming Netflix movie became a personal challenge for Collins, reported Refinery29.
It’s not just Lily who experienced her own life story in creating To the Bone, however. Writer and director Marti Noxon also battled anorexia. Consequently, as the initial trailer for the film reveals, both Collins and Noxon have used their personal battles with eating disorders to create the film.
To the Bone, which is available on Netflix July 14, gives Lily the opportunity to tell the story of Ellen. This 20-year-old artist ends up in a recovery program, but it’s a program with a difference. Although Collins’ character has gone to (and failed) rehab programs in the past, this time around, her family chooses a non-traditional option in a group home.
In that group home, Lily’s character becomes inspired by those who are there with her, along with the physician who treats them, portrayed by Keanu Reeves. Reeves plays a doctor with a difference who doesn’t believe in following conventions.
But the realistic element of the eating disorder plot stems from Collins’ significant weight loss, which she undertook with medical supervision specifically for her role in To the Bone.
Reflecting on the experience of making the film, Lily admitted that it was demanding both physically and emotionally. However, because she connected with Noxon and her script, working to create To the Bone also was a valuable experience, despite her initial fears.
“At first it was definitely a scary process. It was something that I thought is risky.”
When Collins first got the script, she admitted that she wasn’t even discussing her anorexia yet, fearing to face her past.
“It was this fear being placed right in front of me, and doing the film meant that I would have to face it head-on,” pointed out the actress.
Lily also explained that she was aware of the “fine line” between facing her past eating disorders and portraying them or “falling back into” the anorexia. However, she felt that the risk was worth it.
“I knew that, this time, I would be held accountable for it. I would be [losing weight] under the supervision of a nutritionist.”
Collins also noted that she appreciated the support that she received from the cast and others involved in the creation of the film, “surrounded by all these amazing women on set.” As a result, she felt that it was “a safe environment to explore” the process of losing weight and portraying a character struggling with an eating disorder.
In addition, Lily revealed that just one week prior to receiving the script for the anorexia movie, she had penned the chapter in her book Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me about her past struggles with eating disorders.
“So it was like the universe literally throwing it in my face saying, this is something you need to address either for yourself or for other young people going through it out there,” added Collins.
To the Bone provides some humor woven with the portrayal of a woman with an eating disorder. Collins’ character tells her sister the exact number of calories that she’s eating, about which her sister jokes, noted the Daily Mail.
“It’s like you have calorie Asperger’s.”
However, the physician played by Keanu forces the character to take her anorexia seriously, as he studies the scars she bears from intense exercise regimens.
“I’m not going to treat you if you aren’t interested in living,” Reeves informs the gaunt character.
Lily, who is the daughter of famed musician Phil Collins, also talks about aspects of her life other than anorexia in her book, which is a collection of essays. The topics she addresses in Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me range from boyfriends to a famous father who was sometimes absent and had issues with alcohol, as well as her anorexia, reported People.
Collins compared her book to having her diary published. She hopes that it inspires her fans, although she admits that parts of it put her in an “awkward position.” But the actress has a message for young women.
“This is my way to open up conversation with young women and say, ‘Hey, we’re all the same.’ We all have the same struggles,” summed up Lily.
[Featured Image by Mike Windle/Getty Images]