When a major actor receives a role that requires obesity, there are two options: go on a high-calorie diet
as Robert DeNiro did for Raging Bull
and The Untouchables
or Vincent D'onofrio did for Full Metal Jacket
, and go through the effort of losing
that weight afterward — or just wear a Fat Suit. Sometimes a role requires the character be overweight for just a brief period in a film, and to gain and lose weight in such a rapid time is impossible.
Fat Suits are sophisticated three-dimensional prosthetic makeup that go far beyond just putting a pillow under one's shirt. It requires painstaking facial makeup to provide realistic jowls and multiple chins, in addition to the suit, which covers the arms, legs, breasts and belly.
Sometimes, a character
, who is otherwise supposed to be skinny, athletic, or at least normal-sized, will don a Fat Suit
as a plot point, a disguise or just low comedy
Not to be confused with the Big Suit
- Eddie Murphy loves this trope:
- The Nutty Professor (1996) and its sequel have Murphy playing the various adult members of the obese Klump family, meaning he had to wear several different fat suits. The former won an Academy Award for the inestimable Rick Baker.
- As Norbit's wife in Norbit.
- Mike Myers wore this as Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers films.
- Terry Jones as Mr. Creosote in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
- Goldie Hawn dons one for a segment of Death Becomes Her.
- Gwyneth Paltrow in Shallow Hal, though for most of the movie she appears skinny, and is played by a larger actress in below-the-face shots.
- Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine.
- Rachel McAdams in Mean Girls.
- Jim Broadbent playing Harold Zidler Moulin Rouge! (2001) wore a fat suit.
- John Travolta in the movie of the musical of Hairspray.
- Fortunately, Divine didn't need one in the original.
- Thinner: Robert John Burke wore one for when his character was initially fat...
- Alyson Hannigan wore one in Date Movie. What a waste of a beautiful actress...
- Don't blame the fat suit; she could have at least been funny in the suit had it not been for the script.
- Pauline Quirke wore a fat suit for the title role as a convicted murderer in The Sculptress. Unusual in that the actress was already overweight at the time.
- In Mrs. Doubtfire. Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) wears one while in disguise as the title character, though the fact that Euphegenia Doubtfire is overweight is almost incidental to the rest of her character.
- Malcolm Turner (played by Martin Lawrence) in the Big Mommas House films, puts on a fat suit to go undercover as the titular Big Momma.
- Pistachio Disguisey (Face Palm) in The Master of Disguise.
- In To Be Fat Like Me, the main character dresses up in a fatsuit to see what it's like living "on the other side" as a fat person. Since she's just a teenager, one wonders where she gets the money for such an expensive disguise. Justified in universe—her upstairs neighbour is a budding makeup effects artist.
- Ostensibly, Emma Thompson wore one for Love Actually, although if she did, it was done in a very understated and tasteful way.
- Tom Cruise as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder.
- The nature of comedies that feature their stars in fat suits is also parodied in the In-Universe trailer for The Fatties, Fart 2.
- In Revenge of The Pink Panther, Clouseau impersonates a Mafia don with a fat suit and cotton in his cheeks, which he nearly chokes on at one point.
- Averted in Click. Adam Sandler took the route of having his face digitally inserted onto an actual fat guy.
- Tim Allen as Scott Calvin in The Santa Clause once he's unwittingly assumed the Santa identity.
- Inverted with the "desantification" process in the sequel, added at Allen's request because he had horrific skin problems from the fat suit in the original movie.
- Former Manchester United striker Eric Cantona (voted "The Player of the Century" by the club's fans after the turn of the Millennium) wore one in the French film L'Outremangeur (Translation: The Overeater) in which he has the starring role, a fat cop.
- Matthew Lewis wore this in the later Harry Potter movies.
- Oddly enough, Jim Broadbent didn't wear ANY appliances, even though Slughorn is described in the books as montrously fat, bald and walrus-like.
- Orson Welles in Citizen Kane, then later Touch of Evil, which soon became reality.
- The girls of K3 for a time in K3 Bengeltjes.
- Unto the Breach has superspy Jay donning a fat suit as part of a disguise during a mission.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Fat". Al had heavy doses of makeup and a fat suit to make him appear morbidly obese in the video. It worked. He dons a similar fat suit when performing the song live (but no makeup; he wears a latex mask).
- Interestingly, there's an urban legend surrounding this one. According to the legend, Weird Al thought it would be funny to film himself eating a sloppy joe while wearing the getup. He watched the video and was so disgusted he was put off meat for good. (In reality, he became a vegetarian after reading a diet book. Though the "sloppy joe" incident actually happened, it did little more than convince himself he never, ever actually wanted to be fat.)
- Rammstein, bar Flake, in the Music Video for "Keine Lust".
- Michael Jackson wears one to play an evil (and white) mayor in the long-form video/short film Ghosts.
- Spinnerette (reluctantly) wears one of these in order to hide her identity as the eponymous heroine. Well, she has to hide her extra arms somehow...
- Robot Chicken parodied some of the Film examples with the Real Trailer, Fake Movie Giant Fat Black Lady Who's Really a Black Man in a Really Big Fat Suit. "Now see the movie you've already seen!"
- Pepper Ann did this trope once.
- In Futurama, the evil Mom has a literal Fat Suit for use in almost all public appearances - it turns her from looking like a tall, incredibly skinny old woman in thigh-high boots, to looking like a stereotypical sweet old Southern matronly grandmother type. Admittedly it isn't used on her face but she still manages the matronly expression most of the time.
- In an episode of The Cleveland Show, Roberta's teacher forces her to wear a fat suit to see that it's like to be a fat kid who is treated poorly by her peers.
Am I the only one wondering how he's gonna fit through the launch window in a fatsuit?
- Jamie Oliver, a British crusader for healthy school meals and famous chef, once wore a fat suit to prove a point.
- Related to the above point, one comedy show had characters called Jamie and Oliver, two obese schoolboys who bore a striking resemblance to Jamie Oliver, and were an obvious parody. Don't remember what show it was, however.