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Why "Fat Lee" makes me love Jamie even more.

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I continue to be amazed by how some BSG fans are still bellyaching over "Fat Lee". It's as though they were personally insulted or they thought that the writers were being disprespectful toward Lee with a little temporary weight gain. I really don't understand this attitude at all. What's the big deal? Haven't any of these people ever known a man who gained a few pounds? And... helllloooooo people.... IT'S ONLY TEMPORARY!!!!!

Sorry for shouting, but sheesh, the source of all of this grief completely mystifies me, especially when the actor himself doesn't mind one bit.

Take this snippet from the recent issue of "Battlestar Galactica Magazine".

Q: There are a lot of references to the way that Lee has gained weight. How did you feel when you first read this?

A:Fine, because they’re putting me in a huge prosthetic every day. This is the funny thing, at the end of season two, in the last few scenes on Pegasus, I’m wearing a huge fat face prosthetic and a lot of people hadn’t picked up on that! But I do four hours of makeup putting on this prosthetic face, and I actually wear Grace Park’s pregnancy belly that she wore when she was pregnant in the show as Boomer. I put that under my uniform, so I’m pretty rolly-polly! And that’s definitely a conscious thing that the character’s got to do at the beginning of the season. It’s been great because it changes him. It changes, obviously his weight, but it gives him a sense of gravity in this commanding capacity. It makes him look more like his old man actually, from what I’ve seen of the dailies of them in profile talking to each other. They have similar profiles now, not that I am saying that Eddie is overweight, he’s not, but against a middle-aged man, Lee suddenly looks older, he looks more weighty, and experienced. It’s interesting because they look more equal than they have been. I’ve enjoyed that as an actor.

Q: You weren’t tempted to start eating loads and put on weight like DeNiro in Raging Bull?

A: I would have gladly done that! No, because that within three or four episodes there would be a need for a flashback, and also the story will move on and Lee sorts himself out. That hasn’t happened yet, but I have shot flashbacks where I had to be the old Lee. So there was no real question of being able to go on a massive donut binge. But I do get lots of abuse from the crew whenever I am eating! I feel really self-conscious just about the act of eating, and you don’t want anyone to witness it because you get grief. But it’s good to play a character in a different position. He’s always been ridiculously fit. When I first got the job they gave me a personal trainer. I’ve been used to the character being defined by being kind of lean and efficient and motivated. It’s great to take all that away and go the other direction completely.

And this snippet from the recent issue of TV Zone...

From TV Zone 205...

When audiences last saw him in the season-closing jump forward of a year at the end of Lay Down Your Burdens, Apollo appeared much heavier than normal – one of many ‘What’s happened in between?’ mysteries the final scenes set up. “That was all thanks to a ‘fat suit’ that they had me in,” explains Bamber. “It included a full facial prosthetic which was used to flesh me out. I made one little appearance in it at the end of last year, so we had to continue with that when we began filming the third season opener Occupation.

“While I’m pleased with the physical changes they’ve made with Apollo, I must admit that wearing the prosthetic has been difficult. It’s like acting behind a mask, and there are only so many facial expressions you can make. Some days the prosthetic doesn’t work that well and under the studio lights it starts deteriorating. There was one day in particular where they couldn’t shoot me in close-up because of the prosthetic, which gets a bit frustrating. Again, though, it makes for an interesting acting challenge, and the fact that I have to drop a lot of expressions, I feel, might help with where Apollo is currently at.

This is all a perfect example of why I was so disappointed in Katee Sackhoff for making such a fuss about her season 3 haircut. She actually put up a "huge fight" (her words) with the producers to avoid a trim that was a key character element, then after losing the fight she whined about it in several public interviews. Such a tantrum thrown over a hairstyle that frankly looks VERY flattering on her. Hopefully, now that the cut is over and done with, she realizes that she was overreacting, because the fact is that she looks gorgeous with the new 'do -- better in fact than with the long hair she sports early in season 3.

The freakishly athletic Jamie Bamber, on the other hand, thought absolutely nothing of spending 4 hours a day in the makeup chair to add 30 artificial pounds to his face and body, in spite of the fact that it actually inhibited his expression as an actor. Bamber saw it as a challenge and recognized it for the character element that it was, and embraced it.

Jamie can now join the ranks of Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks, Jude Law, Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, and Hilary Swank (just to name a few) who all embraced "uflattering" physical changes for the sake of their art, and who all received praise for their professionalism and artistry as a result.

I think Jamie Bamber has met with some resistance from a small portion of the fanbase, for much the same reason that Tricia Helfer has. To some, they are both just too attractive to be taken seriously as actors. Consistent good performances have certainly helped to break down this resistance, but with the presentation of "Fat Lee", viewers will finally have to look at Jamie Bamber ONLY as an actor, instead of just the hot body who dropped his towel.

For Jamie's continuing admirable attitude toward his craft + his professionalism + the opportunity it affords him for serious recognition beyond just his looks... I am officially 100% in favor of "Fat Lee", and declare it makes me love Jamie Bamber more than ever.

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On August 20th, 2006 10:12 am (UTC), adn_heming commented:
I actually think Jaime still looks gorgeous as "fat! Apollo." I mean, alright, not magazine-cover gorgeous, like lean!fit! Apollo. But still.
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On August 20th, 2006 10:14 pm (UTC), roadrunnerdm replied:
Let's put it this way... if one of my co-workers looked like "Fat Lee", I wouldn't think of him as fat at all, and my boyfriend might have some serious competition. =)
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