Lena Dunham Says She Doesn't Want Her Body 'Dissected Again' Like on 'Girls,' Will Not Star in Her New Series

Lena Dunham
Karwai Tang/WireImage

Lena Dunham says that she cast Meg Stalter to play her semi-autobiographical character in 'Too Much' in order to protect her peace.

Lena Dunham says she decided to stay behind the camera for her new Netflix show, Too Much, because she was uninterested in having her body be a major topic of conversation. 

In a brand new interview with The New Yorker, the 38-year-old comedian -- who is currently living in London with her British musician hubby, Luis Felber -- opens up about her desire to protect her peace as she returns to television with her new rom-com series. 

Dunham shares that after six years of facing comments from the public about her body while working on Girls -- her Emmy-nominated HBO series -- she opted to look outwardly when casting the semi-autobiographical character on Too Much. The role will instead be played by Hacks breakout Meg Stalter and the story will follow an American woman falling in love with a musician in London. 

"It's about an American woman in London who has had a bad breakup in New York and is confused, meeting a recovering punk musician and trying to figure out if they can make a life together. It’s not a huge leap. But I knew from the very beginning I would not be the star of it," Dunham explains, adding that she knew Stalter, 29, was perfect for the role due to her comedic and acting chops. 

Peter Scolari Lena Dunham Laurie Simmons in 'Girls' - HBO

That was only half of it, though. According to Dunham -- who scored three Emmy nominations for playing Hannah Horvath (another semi-autobiographical character) on Girls -- the decision to not star in the show was easy for her because it came down to putting her mental health first. 

"I also think that I was not willing to have another experience like what I’d experienced around Girls at this point in my life. Physically, I was just not up for having my body dissected again. It was a hard choice, not to cast Meg—because I knew I wanted Meg—but to admit that to myself," Dunham says. 

The actress has previously opened up in interviews and on social media about body image issues and the struggles she faced while starring on the HBO show that she created. In 2018, she even posted to Instagram side-by-side pics of her at two different weights and told her followers about the major differences, mentally, after gaining 24 pounds.

At the time, she explained that a lower weight does not equate to feeling happier or healthier, especially as her thinner body was attributed to an illness that caused her physical pain. 

In the new interview, Dunham says that she is now more in tune with herself and able to accept what is best for her, both physically and mentally. Even if that means not starring in a project that hits so close to home. 

She shares, "I used to think that winning meant you just keep doing it and you don’t care what anybody thinks. I forgot that winning is actually just protecting yourself and doing what you need to do to keep making work."

Too Much also stars Dunham's Girls' co-star, Andrew Rannells, Emily Ratajkowski, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Michael Zegen, Rhea PerlmanRichard E. GrantRita Wilson and Stephen Fry. Stalter's love interest, Felix, will be played by The White Lotus season 2 star Will Sharpe.

Lena Dunham says she decided to not star in her new show, 'Too Much,' in order to protect herself from comments about her body - Dia Dipasupil/WireImage

As for Dunham's highly anticipated Polly Pocket film, bad news -- she's not longer making it. She told The New Yorker that while she worked hard on a script for three years, she thinks Greta Gerwig set the bar too high with Barbie

"[...]I think Greta [Gerwig] managed this incredible feat [with Barbie], which was to make this thing that was literally candy to so many different kinds of people and was perfectly and divinely Greta. And I just -- I felt like, unless I can do it that way, I'm not going to do it," Dunham says. 

She adds, "I don't think I have that in me. I feel like the next movie I make needs to feel like a movie that I absolutely have to make. No one but me could make it. And I did think other people could make Polly Pocket."