Why Does Andrea Riseborough Look So Different In To Leslie? Did She Lose Weight?

Directed by Michael Morris, ‘To Leslie’ is a drama movie that revolves around Leslie Rowland, a single mother, and alcoholic who, after losing the money she won in a lottery, seeks to get her life back together after being encouraged by a local motel owner. Despite the movie’s emotional narrative, realistic depiction of alcoholism, and tackling of sensitive subjects, Riseborough’s acting stands out partially due to her physical transformation into Leslie. Hence, viewers must be wondering whether Riseborough lost weight for the role and why she looks so different in ‘To Leslie.’

Andrea Riseborough’s Transformation

‘To Leslie’ has made actress Andrea Riseborough a household name in the United States and arguably across the globe. Her performance as the ill-adjusted alcohol addiction-dealing but well-meaning Leslie “Lee” Rowland in the movie garnered her critical acclaim along with a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress at the 95th Academy Awards. However, Riseborough has been slowly but steadily leaving a mark with her performances over a career that has lasted for almost two decades. In ‘To Leslie,’ Riseborough embodies Leslie’s heart and soul, enabling her to deliver a heartfelt and deeply emotional performance as the character. However, in her turn as Leslie, Riseborough appears pale and shrunken, almost to the point of being sick.

The physical appearance and how Riseborough projects herself as Leslie is all part of the actress’ performance, as her character is an alcohol addict, which is termed an illness. In an interview with Parade, Riseborough opened up about her preparation for the role of Leslie. While the actress did not consciously lose weight for the role, she indeed lost a few pounds while getting into the character of Leslie. The British actress noted she tried to internalize Leslie’s response to alcohol addiction, which resulted in her embodying the character’s fears and anxieties. “I weighed about 85 pounds! It certainly got to the point where my exterior matched what was going on inside,” Riseborough stated in the interview. Hence, Riseborough likely did not voluntarily lose weight for the role of Leslie but to accurately represent the effects of her character’s struggles with alcoholism.

Andrea Riseborough’s Different Look

As previously mentioned, actress Andrea Riseborough did not drastically lose weight for playing Leslie. Instead, the actress sought to embody a person dealing with alcohol addiction. The same trend is evident with Riseborough throughout her career, as she is known for slipping in and out of characters with almost a chameleonic precision. Viewers might recognize the actress from her performance as Evangeline “Eve” Radosevich from the Netflix series ‘Bloodline.’ She is also known for essaying Laura Alburn in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Academy Award-winning 2014 black comedy-drama film ‘Birdman.’ A quick look at Riseborough’s characters in these projects, when compared with her role in ‘To Leslie,’ will quickly reveal that she makes subtle physical changes to accurately and realistically portray her characters.

After dropping out of high school aged 17, Riseborough was admitted into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Initially, she received the same type of roles because of her appearance. However, Riseborough soon started getting various roles ranging from 17-year-old boys to women in their 80s. As a result, it is easy to see how Riseborough effortlessly transforms into the characters she plays. The ‘Amsterdam’ actress has also noted that she has improved at slipping in and out of characters with time. “I can slip in and out of characters relatively quickly and easily, and it doesn’t make the experience any less deep. The dive, I think, might actually be deeper because you feel safer to know that you will emerge,” she told Deadline about her acting process. Thus, Riseborough’s slightly different appearance in ‘To Leslie’ can be attributed to her commitment to the role above everything else.

Read More: Where Was To Leslie Filmed?