‘To the Bone’ Creator Opens Up on Her Own Eating Disorders and ‘13 Reasons Why’
No stranger to controversy, Netflix followed up their heavily debated smash hit 13 Reasons Why with an equally contentious story.
To the Bone — which centers around a young woman dealing with an eating disorder — has already drawn comparisons to the teen suicide drama.
Filmmaker Marti Noxon addresses the outrage and reveals the reason she decided to put her eating disorder struggles on screen.
Those who might believe Marti’s film romanticizes mental illness and eating disorders can rest assured that To the Bone comes from a place of honesty. Marti reveals her own similar struggles with her weight.
“I went on a diet and next thing I knew I was pounds and pounds and pounds underneath my goal weight and before I knew it I was in a hospital,” she tells Entertainment Weekly.
The director admits to a 10-year struggle that was truly a “dark time” in her life.
To the Bone made a splash at this year’s Sundance, prompting immediate interest from Netflix — but fame and outrage were never part of the plan.
In fact, Marti wasn’t sure she would ever draw on her experiences for inspiration.
“For years, people said, ‘You should write about it’ and I was always like, ‘Ugh, who wants to see that movie?’”
“Eating disorders are A) not fun at parties, and B) they’re not very fun in movies.”
Everything changed when she began to remember specific details of her struggles and realized that she was more than “just a disease back then” — she had retained a sense of humor and identity through it all.
This gave To the Bone its much-needed levity and hope — along with that goofy hamburger cake.
The 52-year-old filmmaker described the To the Bone set as “nurturing” and expressed her gratitude for being a part of something that focuses so heavily on recovery.
Star Lily Collins is said to have felt the same way, having gone through her own experiences with eating disorders.
Lily’s past struggles have prompted fans to worry about her very thin look for the film, but Marti swears nutritionists worked an enthusiastic (and healthy) Lily every step of the way.
Oh, and her thin arms were sometimes achieved with paper towel rolls, so there’s that.
Marti isn’t disappointed by the backlash or the comparisons to 13 Reasons — she’s learned from her predecessor and took steps to prepare for similar reactions with her own film.
"[I] think in a way we were very fortunate to come after 13 Reasons because it ignited this conversation [...] hopefully it will make people aware that if it’s personal to them and they’re at a place where it could be difficult or bring stuff up to them, it might be a good idea to wait.
“There will be a card before the film letting people know that it can be super emotional.”
In the end, all Marti wants is for viewers to take something positive from her experience.
“Ultimately, I thought long and hard about what helped me and I hope in a way, whatever you struggled with or are struggling with, the best thing this doctor did for me was teach me how to be brave.”
“He used to say, ‘I want you to run towards the things that scare you because it’s worth it.’ So I hope people take away that overarching message of the film which is life can be hard but it can be beautiful.”
Not a bad sentiment at all.
13 Reasons Why and To the Bone are both currently streaming on Netflix.