EXCLUSIVE: Lily Collins on Her Own Eating Disorder and the Personal Connection to Her Latest Film

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Lily Collins' new movie, To the Bone, hits close to home.
The 28-year-old actress plays a young woman suffering from an eating disorder -- an experience that she has personally gone through in the past. ET's Lauren Zima spoke to Collins at the Netflix movie's junket on Thursday, where she discussed her body image struggles and how she prepared for the role.
"I'm always someone who, with my work, I can disassociate as an actor in myself, but at the same time, we put our hearts and souls into every project that we do," Collins shared about her latest role and watching herself on-screen. "So there is a connection there when you're watching back, you can get emotional, and there is a connection with me in this subject matter, also, that extends past being an actor that causes me to emotionally react."
Collins first shared a personal account of her struggle with an eating disorder in her 2017 memoir, Unfiltered: No Shame, No Regrets, Just Me. When asked how she approached her new role, she said that she opened up to director Marti Noxon, who wrote the film and is a sort of autobiographical telling of her personal experience.
"Well, I opened up with Marti on the first meeting that we had," Collins shared. "You know, she had no idea of my association with it whatsoever. She wanted to hire me as an actor, which was the most important thing. I was being hired for my acting ability, not my personal experience. But I think if anyone were given the opportunity to go back and step into the shoes that they once wore, of something that wasn't necessarily a positive experience for them, there's going to be nerves that are involved."
"But I knew having just written my chapter in my book about it, that the universe was saying, 'You need to talk about [it] to bring it to the attention of the public," she added. "But also, to talk about it for yourself, and I think it's an amazing thing when … your life's purpose and a job's purpose mold together, that's like a truly magical moment that not everyone gets to experience."
At the time of filming the movie, her book had not come out and she hadn't told many about her body issues. Collins had a nutritionist for the role, and while it was a sensitive subject for her, she always felt very much supported.
"Everyone was holding me accountable as an actor and as Lily," she explained. "I appreciated the support … and so from day one it really, it was about spreading the message. I felt the entire time, so supported."
As for how far she had to take her role, Collins shared that there was never "an end result weight."
"We were shooting a month only, and we needed to use special effects to add to that," she said of her character and the luxury of having a makeup and special effects team to make her look anorexic. "There was never an end result weight. There was no goal that was set out for me. So I did my part as an actor, playing a character, and then was able to enhance makeup and wardrobe and special effects."
To the Bone will be released on Netflix on July 14.
For more on Collins' role, watch below.