Becoming a major celebrity was apparently not easy on Alicia Silverstone. In a recent Guardian profile, the self-described “theater nerd” recalled her rocket-like ascent to fame thanks to her starring role in Amy Heckerling’s teen comedy Clueless. Silverstone said she never really intended to become famous—and having it happen at such a young age did not make it easier.
“It was really just extreme how I was being talked to and talked about,” Silverstone told The Guardian. “I think I just got really turned off by it.”
But the real low came later, while playing Batgirl in Batman & Robin in 1997. Looking back on the production, Silverstone told The Guardian, “That definitely wasn’t my favorite film-making experience.”
Silverstone’s Batman woes have been detailed before; a 2017 anniversary retrospective piece on the film from The Hollywood Reporter noted that Silverstone faced rampant body shaming both in the press and even during the production itself. When a rumor spread through the production about Silverstone having trouble during costume fittings, storyboard artist Tim Burard drew a cartoon that sounds exceptionally cruel—even despite his insistence that the drawing was not meant to look like Silverstone herself.
“I heard that she was in the costume department being cinched into a corset to fit into what they were going to try to do the costume,” Burgard told THR. “So I did a cartoon of what I thought that looked like. … I did it as a movie poster, Clueless 2: The Casting of Batgirl. It was a private joke, just the guys in the art department.”
The press was not much better; tabloids and photographers called Silverstone, still a teenager at the time, “Fatgirl,” The Guardian notes—both in print and to her face.
Looking back on the experience, Silverstone told The Guardian, “There were working circumstances that were less than favorable in terms of how things went down. And no, I didn’t say ‘fuck you’ and come out like a warrior but I would just walk away and go, OK I know what that is and I’m done, I’m not going near that again.”
“It was hurtful but I knew they were wrong,” Silverstone said of the body shaming she faced. “I wasn’t confused. I knew that it was not right to make fun of someone’s body shape, that doesn’t seem like the right thing to be doing to a human.”
Still, she added, “I stopped loving acting for a very long time.”
Eventually, though, Silverstone took a role in a David Mamet play that rekindled her love of the craft. “My body was just like, this is what I’m meant to do,” she said. “I love it so much.”