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.
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- Eddie Murphy:
- 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.
- Broadbent might have worn one for Bullets Over Broadway, too.
- John Travolta in the movie of the musical of Hairspray.
- Thinner: Robert John Burke wore one for when his character was initially fat.
- Alyson Hannigan wore one in Date Movie.
- 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.
- Christopher Lloyd wore one as Uncle Fester in The Addams Family as well as its sequel.
- Unto the Breach has superspy Jay donning a fat suit as part of a disguise during a mission.
Live Action TV
- After Battlestar Galactica's Time Skip, Jamie Bamber briefly wears padding and some makeup effects to make it look like Lee Adama has let go of his previously trim physique.
- Martin Short as Jiminy Glick, which was later turned into a movie.
- Will had to wear one in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
- Monk has the character Dale the Whale (played by amongst others Tim Curry). Also an in-universe example: in his debut episode Dale the Whale was accused of murdering a judge but he had a rather good alibi - he's literally too obese to even get out of bed he blackmailed his dietician into committing the murder while wearing a fat suit.
- The Drew Carey Show. Kate Walsh, playing Drew's brief love interest Nicki.
- Subverted on Frasier, when Jane Leeves (who plays Daphne) was pregnant. Rather than do a Hide Your Pregnancy, the script-writers gave Daphne an eating-disorder instead, since this worked better as Daphne's lower-class reaction to Niles' over-idealistic beliefs about her. However, in the later episode Freudian Sleep, Leeves wore a ridiculous ballooning, ever-growing fat suit as Daphne dreamt she was getting terminally fat.
- On the TV show Friends, Courteney Cox as Monica frequently wore a fat suit for flashback episodes.
- On the TV show Wings, an episode featuring fantasy sequences in which the cast would enact "When I Grow Up" letters that their characters wrote when they were children had Crystal Bernard wearing a fat suit during most of these sequences. Her character, Helen, was somewhat obese when she was a child.
- Not as extreme as most examples, Amy Linker wore padding to play pudgy Lauren in Square Pegs.
- Little Britain. The two performers each wore a fat suit to play the enormously obese Bubbles and Desiree De Vere.
- David Suchet dons one of these when playing the titular character in Poirot.
- According to the commentary, Camille Coduri uses one to play Jackie Tyler on Doctor Who.
- Oscar Madison on The Odd Couple did this, because he had lost a lot of weight on "Fat-Away Diet Pills" and needed to take pictures for the "Before" portion of the ads.
- In an episode of the 1960s Batman The Joker wore a fatsuit to pretend to be the Maharajah of Nimpah. Batman punchured the disguise by poking him in the rear with a Bat-JokerInAFatSuitPoker. (Well, it was really just a letter opener, but you know he has one.)
- Dennis from Head of the Class, over the summer had lost a lot of weight but wore padding to pretend he had actually gained weight, until he tore it off for The Reveal.
Darlene: Seriously Dennis, you need to lose the weight.Dennis: OK, OK, I will... right now!
- In Spin City, Deputy Mayor Mike Flaherty (Michael J. Fox) wears a fat suit to a charity bachelor auction. He gets no takers.
- In an episode of 30 Rock, Tracy tries becoming a white girl, which makes him look homely and fat.
- Tyra Banks wore a fat suit on her talk show to examine the idea that (surprise!) fat people are treated worse than supermodels. This shows up on one or more Prime Time News Magazine programs, with correspondents being "shocked, SHOCKED" that fat people get less respect than non-fat people.
- A newsmagazine gossip show put Vanessa Manillo in a fat suit for an experiment after Tyra did it. The suit was a sort of special effect failure, making her look like the Michelin Man, instead of an actual overweight person.
- Jon Stewart once wore one on The Daily Show after coming back from vacation, making it look like he's gained weight over the holidays. He appeared without it for the rest of the episode, claiming a filter had been applied to the camera to make him look normal.
- David Letterman wore a fat suit for a few filmed bits they made to show him letting himself go in between his gigs on Late Night and Late Show.
- Pruitt Taylor Vince wore one to play a 500-pound patient of the week on House.
- A fat suit or padding was used on Mad Men a few times: when Peggy had that pregnancy, when Joan started showing early in her pregnancy and for a few episodes after her baby was born, and when Betty gained a lot of weight.
- Johnny Galeki (Leonard), Kunar Nayyar (Rajesh) and Kevin Sussman (Stuart) wore them for an Imagine Spot on The Big Bang Theory.
- Amy Sedaris wore padding around her middle for Strangers with Candy. She calls it her "little fatty suit" on the DVD commentary.
- "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...
- In Moon Over June Professor Hatsuki Akagawa PhD uses an understatednote version along with a black wig on campus to avoid (further) complications resulting from students and faculty recognizing the dyed pink hair and skinny-with-DD-implants body she displays in her only somewhat scaled back porn career.
- 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 when she was cast as the Nurse in the school play, Romeo and Juliet. When the girl cast as Juliet got sick, however, the part went to Pepper Ann, who unfortunately, was stuck in the fat suit, so she had to play a morbidly obese Juliet.
- 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.
- Bob's Burgers - at Teddy's Halloween party, Bob unwillingly puts on a sumo wrestler padded fat suit costume, accidentally crushing Teddy's pet guinea pig in the process.
- 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.